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Curried Cauliflower and Leek Soup Puts a Creamy Spin on a Classic

By Tom Liddy | March 6, 2013 7:49am

NEW YORK CITY — Potato leek soup is great comfort food that is perfect for a cold winter or early spring day.

But the hearty dish is loaded with starch, which is packed with calories and can weigh you down.

There is a way, however, to ditch the spuds without sacrificing the flavor and filling feeling — replacing them with cauliflower.

The cruciferous vegetable, in the same superfood family as broccoli and kale, packed with fiber as well as phytochemicals that may lower cancer risk.

While it's not as potent as broccoli, cauliflower has B vitamins, nearly a full day's supply of Vitamin C as well as the same high fiber content.

Adding to the soup's healthy kick and boosting its flavor are cumin seeds and curry powder. The aromatic cumin seeds have been studied as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory and their extracts have demonstrated anti-cancer properties.

Similarly, the circumin in curry powder demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties and has been studied in the treatment of a range of diseases.

With smokiness from some bacon and then a swirl of cream at the end, the soup is blended to a velvety finish.

It even tastes delicious without the cream, if you want to cut the calories even more and cut the bacon for a vegetarian option.

Here's how to make this tonight.


1 head of cauliflower, florets trimmed off. Discard the stalk.

2 large leeks, green ends discarded and cut into thin slices

2 pieces bacon, cut into strips

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

2 tsp. curry powder

3 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish


1. Heat a large pot on the stove on medium heat. While the pot is still cold, add the bacon, which will help render the fat without burning.

2. Brown the bacon and then drain off the fat, leaving about 1 tbs. behind. Toss in the cumin seeds and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Then add the onions, leeks, celery and garlic and sweat until slighlty softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the curry powder and cook another two minutes to get the rawness out of the spice.

4. Then toss in the cauliflower, season with salt and pepper and cook another 3 mintues.

5. Add the stock and then water to just cover the vegetables.

6. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer about 8 minutes, or until the cauliflower can be pierced easily with a sharp knife.

7. Allow to cool slightly and then blend, working in batches or using an immersion blender if you have one (be careful blending hot liquids).

8. Add the cream and stir. Check the seasoning and garnish with some chopped cilantro or parsley.

9. Dig in.