Meatless Monday: Broccoli Leek Soup

Gluten-Free, Meatless, Soup, Vegan / Monday, March 8th, 2010

I’m not a huge broccoli fan. I rarely eat it without a.) cheese, b.) dip, or c.) bacon, as The Lord intended. Otherwise, He would not have created it to taste like dirt when it’s raw and smell like terlit water as it cooks.

Can I get an Amen?

And yet, I was curious about this Broccoli Leek Soup. The Roasted Potato Leek Soup I made last fall was so good that I was game to try something similar but actually healthy. I was ready to brave the broccoli.

The problem with most broccoli soups is that they’re thickened with liberal amounts of cheese, cream or canned cream soups, but this one is different. It’s thickened by pureeing the ingredients, especially the potato. You bring the ingredients to a boil, simmer until the broccoli and potato are tender, and then either transfer the soup to a blender or food processor to puree it, or use an immersion blender inside the soup pot.

It’s a thickening trick I’ll keep in mind, since each serving of this soup is only 135 calories.

It’s also nice that you cook the leeks first and then add the broccoli stems, potato and garlic. The scent of the leeks dominates, so the broccoli smell is contained.

Victory over stank is part of what separates us from the animals.

So, how does the soup taste?

The original recipe gave me a smooth, thick soup that didn’t have much personality, so I added lemon zest and lemon juice to brighten it up and just enough cayenne to give the soup a little kick. That made it work for me, but don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own variation.

A bowl of this soup with a crusty piece of bread and a slice of good cheese would make a great light meal, but I’ve been pairing a cup with a sandwich or veggie burger for something more substantial.

I still wouldn’t make out with broccoli, but we could hold hands in a dark movie theater. That’s closer than we’ve ever been before.

Broccoli Leek Soup

Adapted from “O, The Oprah Magazine” (January 2006)

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 large bunch broccoli (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed well thinly sliced
  • 1 medium baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups vegetable broth*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half (optional)
  • 1/4 cup snipped chives
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  1. Separate broccoli stems from florets. Using a vegetable peeler, peel stems to remove tough outer layer, then slice into 1/4-inch-thick “coins.” Break the florets into small pieces. Reserve stems and florets separately.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add broccoli stems, potato, and garlic, and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add 3 cups water, broth, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover partially and simmer until broccoli and potato are tender, about 12 minutes.
  5. Add florets; bring to a boil and then simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer soup in batches to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add half-and-half (if using), chives, zest, lemon juice and cayenne. Reheat briefly, and serve.

*Gluten-Free Tip: Make sure your vegetable broth is gluten-free.

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20 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Broccoli Leek Soup

  1. My immersion blender is my best friend, especially for making soups. Many vegetable soups can be pureed, or partially pureed to leave some texture with a smooth base. I love being able to stick the blender directly into the soup pot to blend all of the soup at once, instead of blending in batches in a food processor or blender and then having to reconcile the textures of the different batches. Immersion blenders aren't expensive, and they last forever.

  2. I agree with your feelings on broccoli. It is nasty and vile smelling. It smells like its taste, something on the poop variety scale.

    1. OK girls, Lord knows I tried to raise you right. Stuffing you with brussel sprouts and Kale and Broccoli. Look at all the good it did. Jen, I bet you make vienna sausage casseroles with those canned fried onions on top and spray cheese for an accent.

  3. im so impressed with how immersion blenders can create a nice creamy soup without having to add cream & tons of cheese. i also especially love your idea of adding lemon and cayenne…sounds like these really enhanced the soup!

  4. Leeks… Mmmmmmmm… You know I’m all about leeks. Lord willing (to follow with your Biblical intro), I will have leeks in my garden this year. Whoop whoop!

  5. I've said it before and I will say it again…you crack me up! Not only is this a great recipe ( I am vegan as of late, so this will work for me), but it is a good read all together! You should do food stand-up. I continue to enjoy your blog and always look forward to the next post.

  6. I have some serious love for this blog. I have tried a bunch of recipes on it and not ONE was a fail (and only one was a partial-fail, but that was my fault because I fail at reading directions sometimes). In fact, they were all really good. Good enough to make my husband say "Wow, this is good!" EVEN WHEN PRESENTED WITH VEGETABLES.

    In fact, I am going to try this soup, because it looks divine and if past experience is any judge, it will be delicious.

  7. Armed with a new blender and I very eager to come across soup recipes! I'm especially excited about soup not thickened with dairy-based ingredients (the boyfriend's not a fan of creamy). I'm going to start using potatoes all the time to thicken up soups!

  8. I just discovered your blog – and I'm so glad I did! Your food looks delicious, your pictures are amazing, and your writing makes me giggle. I'm excited to what next!

  9. Thank you for the recipe. Made it this week. My meat-a-holic husband went for it, hook, line, and sinker. No bacon necessary in this one!

    Worked great without the half-and-half.

    Remembered that I owned an immersion blender afterwards. :)

  10. just made this, followed mostly to a T (browned the butter lightly and cooked the leeks until soft) and it's so so so good, no cayenne or anything needed! i love that the potato makes it creamy–no additional fat required.

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