RECIPE 1 hour

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Cauliflower Leek Soup With Charmoula

Moroccan spices such as cumin, coriander, and paprika flavor this vegetarian cauliflower leek soup. Serve it warm or cold topped with fresh herbs

By Michael Leviton

Sautéed leeks combine with cauliflower to make this delicious and simple blended soup, a lighter counterpart to potato leek soup. The charmoula is a marinade traditionally used to flavor Moroccan dishes.

The soup is also delicious served chilled as “Cauliflower Vichyssoise.”

Prep Time:
1 hr
Cook Time:
1 hr

Serves 4 (as a main dish) 


  • Soup 

  • 1 bunch leeks (approximately 2 pounds)

  • 1 head cauliflower (approximately 2 pounds)

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil

  • 3-4 cups water

  • 1/3 cup crème fraiche or Greek yogurt

  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper

  • Charmoula Vinaigrette

  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar

  • ¾ teaspoon finely chopped garlic

  • ¼ teaspoons salt

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons Moroccan seasoning mix (recipe follows)

  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

  • Moroccan Seasoning Mix (yields a scant ¼ cup)

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground

  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Soup

    Halve the leeks lengthwise. Then slice into half-moon shapes approximately ½ inch thick. Soak the leeks in cold water for about 30 minutes. It’s a good idea to mix the leeks frequently to remove any dirt that may be stuck to them. Lift the leeks out of the cold water and drain in a colander.

  2. Cut the cauliflower into quarters vertically. Remove the core and break the cauliflower into large flowerets. Rinse under cold water to remove any traces of dirt. Drain well

  3. Heat a stainless steel soup pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients over medium heat. Add the oil. Then add the leeks and a generous pinch of salt. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are tender and have begun to lose their color. Do not let the leeks brown.

  4. Add the cauliflower and 3 cups of the water and raise the heat to medium-high. When the soup boils, turn the heat down so the soup simmers. Cook until the cauliflower is falling-apart tender. Add the crème fraiche or yogurt and return the soup to a boil. Remove the soup from the heat.

  5. Using a food mill or blender, puree the soup as finely as possible. Pass the soup through a fine chinois (fine mesh strainer). Adjust the texture of the soup with the remaining one cup of water if necessary. Season the soup with salt and freshly ground pepper.

  6. Charmoula Vinaigrette

    Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and Moroccan seasonings, in a mixing bowl and mix well. While whisking constantly, slowly add the oils. Alternatively, a hand blender works very well for this, too. Just before serving, put the herbs in a small mixing bowl and add enough vinaigrette base to moisten the herbs to a point where you have a spoonable, thin salsa-like dressing. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and drizzle over the soup.

  7. Moroccan Seasoning Mix

    Combine all of the above spices.

    © 2017 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies