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Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Sausage and Kale

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 4
Calories: 525kcal
Author: Nisha Vora

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (~140)g raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • 2 large leeks, washed, trimmed and diced (light green and white parts only)**
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme***
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano***
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional; omit if your sausage is spicy)
  • 4 cups (946 mL) vegetable broth
  • 20 ounces (~570g) cauliflower, cut into small-medium florets
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 - 2 cups (240-480 mL) water
  • 3-4 ounces, or 2-3 large handfuls or kale
  • 10-14 ounces (285-400g) vegan sausage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional, but adds a nice fresh peppy taste at the end)
  • Optional garnishes: fresh thyme and parsley, chopped

Instructions

Directions (Stovetop)

  • Pour some boiling water to cover the cashews while you prep everything else - about 15 minutes. Drain before using.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the leeks. Sauté until they are softened and starting to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using), and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and deglaze the pot, stirring up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Then add the soaked and drained cashews, cauliflower florets, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt black pepper to taste. Add enough water to cover the cauliflower (I added 1 cup or 240 mL, but you can add more if you want a thinner, soupier texture).
  • Bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and soft.
  • While the soup is simmering, chop the kale into thin strips. Set aside.
  • Also meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, crumble the vegan sausage into the pan and stir around occasionally, until the sausage is browned. Or, if you’ve sliced your sausage, cook until seared on both sides. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Once the soup is done cooking, blend it up until thick, creamy, and smooth. You can transfer it to a stand blender (in two batches), or use an immersion blender. If you use a stand blender, remove the center cap of the blender and cover it with a dish towel to allow the steam to escape.
  • Return the pureed soup to the soup pot and bring it back to a simmer. If it is too thick for your liking, add more water to thin. Add the sliced kale and browned sausage, and simmer until the kale is tender and wilted, about 3 minutes. Squeeze in some lemon juice, if using. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve each soup bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and if desired, fresh thyme and parsley.

Directions (Instant Pot)

  • Select the Sauté setting and add the oil. Allow the oil to heat up, and after a few minutes, add the leeks. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until starting to turn brown. Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using), and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add 1 cup of water, the soaked and drained cashews, cauliflower florets, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt black pepper to taste. Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure for 7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, crumble the vegan sausage into the pan and stir around occasionally, until the sausage is browned. Or, if you’ve sliced your sausage, cook until seared on both sides. Remove from the heat and set aside. You could also brown the sausage in the Instant Pot before starting on the soup and set it aside.
  • Once the 7-minute timer goes off, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes and then switch the Pressure Release knob from Sealing to Venting to release any remaining steam. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot (or if you don't have one, transfer the soup to a blender and follow the instructions above). Once blended, stir in the browned sausage and kale to heat through until kale is wilted, about 3-4 minutes.

Notes

* Beyond Meat Sausage is gluten-free and soy-free. If you are either gluten-free or soy-free, be sure to look for a gluten-free and/or soy-free vegan sausage. I include other suggested vegan sausage brands in the “ingredient rundown” section.
** See “ingredient rundown” section for tips on how to wash and cut leeks.
*** See “how to take this recipe over the top“ section for how to substitute with fresh herbs.