leek & broccoli soup

leek and broccoli soup 

It's soup season! Isn't that exactly what we are craving as the temperature drops and the leaves start to change? Let's ignore the fact that it was 80°F in NYC this week, yet leather-jacket weather the week before. Regardless of the indecisive weather, there is no doubt winter is coming. Just kidding, I don't even watch Games of Thrones if you got that reference. But fall is 100% coming, and gorgeous amber leaves are best accompanied with nourishing, warm soup. This one is easy enough for a weeknight and hearty enough to keep you and the household satisfied. And it's a No Waste recipe! You can use the whole head of broccoli, stems and all, plus the celery leaves! Make sure to save the leek greens for veg broth.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
I love how the broccoli marries so smoothly with the leeks. I also love that this soup can be both naughty and nice. Craving that broccoli cheese soup comfort and okay with indulging a bit? ADD THE CHEDDARRRRR. You'll be so glad you did. Cheese toast goes wonderfully with this, too. Heck, why not do both while you're at it!                                                                                               
Looking to keep it light? That's okay because it's nourishing and delicious without the cheese (and a wonderful vegan option, too. Simply skip the yogurt or top with cashew cream). I do highly recommend at least a nice piece of crusty bread (gluten-free bread works) to dunk into it.

Lastly, I'm sure there is no need to tell you how good broccoli is for you. Your parents surely made it very clear growing up. Want a quick refresher? Broccoli is packed with Vitamin C and has four different B vitamins, while providing fiber, folate, and potassium, too (among many others)!  So, what are you waiting for? 

leek and broccoli soup 

serves 4-6

1 lb. broccoli (about 1 large head)
2 tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
2 small leeks, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced (reserve dark green parts for this veg stock) 
1 rib celery with leaves, leaves reserved and rib finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1½ cups shredded sharp white cheddar, plus more for serving (OPTIONAL)

To serve if you’re not adding cheese: 
¼ cup yogurt
½ tsp. lemon zest

Cut the florets from the broccoli stems and roughly chop the florets. With a vegetable peeler, peel the stems; thinly slice. 

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks, celery, carrot, and garlic; season and cook until softened, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli florets and stems, broth, ½ cup water, bay leaf and red pepper flakes, if using; season and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until broccoli is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix yogurt and lemon zest; season.  

Remove bay leaf from soup. In batches, if needed, puree soup in a blender until smooth (alternatively, puree soup with an immersion blender). If you like a thinner consistency add more water, ¼ cup at a time. If you’re not adding cheese, stop here and adjust seasoning. Serve in bowls with a dollop of lemon yogurt and reserved celery leaves. 

If you are adding the cheese, return soup to the saucepan and add cheese, stirring until melted.