Why to Soak or Sprout Grains, Legumes, Nuts and Seeds

Why to Soak or Sprout Grains, Legumes, Nuts and Seeds, sprouting, soaking, phytic acid, real food, health, nutrition

Many health conscious folks incorporate whole grains, legumes, nuts and/or seeds into their diets because of the nutrients they contain, such as B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc) just to name a few.

But did you know that without first soaking or sprouting these foods many of those nutrients are not bioavailable to humans?  Not just that, but antinutrients actively block absorption of vitamins and minerals from the other foods in the gut and put strain on the digestive system.

Cultures around the world figured this out long ago and are sure to always soak, ferment or sprout these foods before eating.  But for some reason in the past few generations we seem to have missed the memo, touting granola, raw nuts, and improperly cooked brown rice as some of the healthiest foods we can consume, when indeed they are not.

It takes more time to properly prepare these foods but it is well worth the effort for the nutrients gained and increased ability to digest them.  Especially if you have trouble processing certain foods such as beans or gluten grains, give these methods a try.

First things first, let’s get to the science behind it all.

 

The Science of Sprouting

Soaking Kidney Beans, sprouting, soaking, phytic acid, nutrition, real food

When it comes to whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds they all act as the seeds of the plants they came from.  They serve as little pods of genetic information and stored nutrients that can survive the off season in order to sprout in the future, without which these plant species would never survive.

In order for these seeds to sprout into healthy little plants the nutrients they contain must be able to last months or even years, so they come packed in very complex forms to prevent them from breaking down.  When a seed gets the right signals to sprout again it starts converting its dormant energy into usable forms so it can start growing.

One common component of seeds is phytic acid, which acts as a seed’s main source of phosphorus.  Phosphorus is a nutrient necessary for plants and animals alike as it is used in the structure of DNA and cell membranes.  Phytic acid, however, has a complex structure which locks the phosphorus away, so it is not bioavailable to humans.

Furthermore, phytic acid has a strong affinity for binding with minerals, like calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc, as well as vitamin B3, also known as niacin.  When phytic acid is present in the gut it acts as a sponge for these nutrients and prevents us from absorbing them, it is therefore considered an antinutrient.

In order to neutralize phytic acid’s harsh effects the enzyme phytase is needed to break it down, however seeds before sprouting contain enzyme inhibitors which keep phytase and many other enzymes dominant, preventing them from doing their job.  Humans do not produce phytase, and furthermore, many of our own digestive enzymes are rendered useless when we consume food full of enzyme inhibitors.  Luckily, there are methods to neutralized enzyme inhibitors and reduce the amount of phytic acid in food.  Cooking alone breaks down some, but soaking and sprouting are even more effective methods.

 

How to do it at home

There are a growing number of options for buying pre-sprouted flours, nuts, and seeds at health food stores nowadays, but the freshest, most nutritious and cheapest option is always preparing it yourself.

Soaking Method

Cooked Brown Rice, sprouting, soaking, phytic acid, health, nutrition, enzymes

All you need to do to neutralize most of the phytic acid in foods is to soak in liquid for a few hours, particularly if it has a bit of acid or salt in it, which further help to neutralize enzyme inhibitors.  This kick starts the first steps of sprouting without fully sprouting the food.  The result will be something very similar to how these foods are normally enjoyed, just packing much more of a nutritional punch.

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For whole grains and legumes:

Bulk Grains at Rice and Beans LA, sprouting, soaking, phytic acid, enzymes, health, nutrition

  1. Put dry grains or legumes in a glass or ceramic bowl
  2. Cover with filtered water (grains you can fill about an inch above, legumes drink up more and need a water level twice as high)
  3. For every cup of dried grain or legumes add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (white vinegar or lemon juice work as well, but raw ACV works best)
  4. Cover the bowl (not air-tight, just putting a plate over will do)
  5. Let soak for at least 6 hours, up to 24
  6. Strain, discarding soaking liquid, rinse
  7. Cook as usual (on the stove or in a rice cooker, a slow cooker is great for cooking beans as they need a bit longer)

This is based on soaking methods in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon as well as Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.  I use this process all the time with rice and whole barley, which I get from Rice and Beans LA, pictured above.  I typically make a big batch of some cooked grain at least once a week to have on hand.

It is ideal to use raw whole grains and legumes as they are still alive and intact so they can begin sprouting as they usually would, but this method will still help reduce phytic acid even if the product isn’t raw or whole, for example rolled or steel cut oats.

Whey, a byproduct of fermenting raw dairy which is rich in lactobacilli probiotics, may also be used as a soaking medium because the probiotics help to break down complex starches and proteins, as well as neutralize tannins.  Learn how to make your own in my article about Making Clabber and Whey.

 

For nuts and seeds:

Brazil Nuts, soaking, sprouting, health, nutrition, enzymes

  1. Soak raw nuts or seeds in filtered water, plus 3/4th a teaspoon of sea salt per each cup of nuts or seeds
  2. Soak for at least 7 hours
  3. Drain soaking liquid
  4. Dry/dehydrate in a warm over no higher than 150F or a dehydrator for 12-24 hours for a crunchy consistency

This method is also called “brining” and is based on the instructions in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  Once dehydrated, these will be very similar to how most people enjoy nuts and seeds already, so you can eat them as a snack or toss them in any recipe that calls for them.

If you are using the nuts or seeds in a smoothie, pesto, or any other dish that requires they be blended, you can stop at step 3 when they are still soft.  You can make nut butter with them at this point, but it will be a little loose, drying them before food processing will make for a thicker nut butter.

You can also stop at step 3 if you wish to make your own nut or seed milk.

 

For flours:

If you do a lot of your own baking Sally Fallon recommends that you get a grain grinder and make your own whole grain flour at home because it begins to go rancid shortly after grinding.  That’s a bit too much for me, but I really don’t do much baking any more.  If you have access to it, try to get your hands on some fresh milled whole grain flour, but even if you can’t soaking still helps.

There is no set method for soaking flours because it will depend on the recipe you are using, but ideally soak them in an acidic liquid for 12-24 hours.  This acidic liquid should preferably be cultured milk, buttermilk, or water with whey or yogurt added to it, as these all contain lactobaccilli probiotics which as I said above help to break down complex starches and proteins, as well as neutralize tannins.  If you have dairy sensitivities you can use water with lemon juice or vinegar added, it just won’t work quite as well.

If you are interested in recipes for things like baked goods and breads using this method I recommend to get your own copy of Nourishing Traditions, there are a slew of them in there.

 

Sprouting/Germination Method

Sprouted Black Eyed Peas, sprouting, germination, sprouts, healthy, nutrition

While soaking is the beginning of the sprouting process and helps to neutralize compounds that prevent us from digesting food properly, seeds can gain further nutrition when fully sprouted.

As Sally Fallon explains in Nourishing Traditions, the Chinese were among the first civilizations to learn to germinate legumes for nutritional purposes, they would bring dried mung beans on long ship rides for germinating.  Being able to enjoy fresh bean sprouts throughout their voyages provided a steady supply of essential vitamin C, usually only available from fresh produce.  Sprouting also increases the content of B vitamins, carotene, and enzymes in food.

All you need to sprout in your own kitchen is a medium to large clean mason jar, some clean cheesecloth big enough to cover the mouth of the jar, the outer ring of a mason jar lid or a rubber band, and a bowl.

  1. Wash the raw grain, legume, nut or seed well in fresh water
  2. Place in the jar (do not fill the jar more than 1/2 full as they will expand, legumes should fill no more than 1/3rd of the jar)
  3. Secure the cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar with the outer ring of a lid or rubber band
  4. Invert the jar and let it drain, place the jar in the bowl upside down and at a tilt so excess water can drain but the contents of the jar can still breath, place in a cool place out of direct sunlight
  5. Rinse with fresh water and drain at least 3-4 times per day

When they have sprouted to your desired size, give them a final rinse and use as soon as possible or you can dry them off and store in the fridge for a day or two.  With legumes in particular the skin will get loose and can be peeled away, it improves texture, flavor and digestion but is a bit of a tedious step – if you have small children that might be a fun task for them!

Grains like wheat, rye and barley will be ready in 3-4 days and produce a very small white sprout.  Beans like mung, adzuki, kidney, or black beans take 3-4 days and form a longer sprout which should be 1/4th inch for most beans, 1 inch for adzuki, and 2 inches for mung beans.  Lentils sprout a little quicker in 2-3 days and their sprout should be about 1/4th inch long as well.  Nuts such as almonds can be sprouted for 3 days and will produce a tiny white appendage.  Hulled pumpkin seeds take 3 days to sprout 1/4th inch long.  Perhaps the quickest, hulled sunflower seeds only need 12-18 hours to begin to sprout, but should be used immediately.

Sprouted Lentil

Whatever you are sprouting must begin raw, make sure it has not been pasteurized, blanched, roasted, or irradiated because as that will prevent sprouting from occurring.  Flax seeds are not recommended for sprouting because they form a gel around them which makes them difficult to rinse, but luckily they are low in phytic acid and are safe to consume raw in small amounts.  Nuts that have been shelled, like pecans and walnuts, cannot be sprouted, but the soaking method above can be used to improve our ability to digest them.

While they must start raw in order to sprout, Sally Fallon warns against overconsumption of raw sprouted grains, which contain irritating substances neutralized by cooking, such as a light steam or boil.

Baked Rhubarb Donuts

Baked Rhubarb Donuts

Well I just barely missed National Donut Day, but I’ll definitely be saving this recipe for next year.

I got a pan for baking donuts a while back and have been meaning to put it to good use, this turned out to be the perfect recipe.  You can use any cake base to make baked donuts, but you can also scale back the sugar and use a muffin recipe.  This recipe is very similar to the one I use in my Parsnip Muffins, but without all the cinnamon and with rhubarb instead of parsnips.  The recipe is hardier than a cake because it has greek yogurt and ground flax seed in it, but the finished product is still very soft and fluffy.

Fresh rhubarb can be hard to find, especially in Los Angeles, but farms like Jimenez Family Farm carry it in spring and early summer.  It has a wonderfully tart and tangy flavor.  Keeping the rhubarb in raw chunks before baking into the donuts makes for little pockets of soft juicy rhubarb which are tasty and unique.

These make for a great breakfast or snack with a little yogurt or jam on top.  They would also make an amazing base for a strawberry shortcake dessert!

 

Baked Rhubarb Donuts
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
2 tbsp ground flax
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Before you get to baking, take out the eggs and yogurt to let come to room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Because this recipe uses coconut oil, if you add cold yogurt and eggs to it the coconut oil will get cold and chunky.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Rhubarb

Wash, trim, and chop up the rhubarb into slices about 1/8th inch thick. Mix with 1/4th cup of sugar and let sit on the counter.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Grind the flax fresh (flax oxidizes after 90 days so I always recommend to grind fresh rather than to buy pre-ground flax meal) in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.  Mix the ground flax with the flour, ground ginger, baking soda and powder, and pinch of salt.  Whisk together until evenly mixed.

Make sure your coconut oil is liquid in order to be able to pour and mix evenly.  If you set the jar on top of the preheating oven that is usually warm enough to do the trick.

Liquid Ingredients

Mix together the coconut oil and other 1/4th cup of sugar well.  Then mix in the yogurt, fresh grated ginger, vanilla, and eggs.  The ginger is optional, it is not enough to really taste any spiciness in the finished product, but adds a little extra flavor.  [A trick for grating ginger without making a mess is to freeze the ginger first, then it grates evenly and easily.]

Once the liquid ingredients are mixed well, add to the dry ingredients and mix until all the dry ingredients are worked in.  Then add in the rhubarb/sugar mixture and any liquid that may have formed in the bottom of the bowl.  Mix in until the rhubarb is evenly dispersed.

Rhubarb Donuts, before baking

If you are using a donut pan to bake these, the easiest way to get them in the pan is to spoon the batter into a large ziplock bag, cut off a corner, and pipe the batter evenly into a greased donut pan.  If there are any peaks or lumps sticking up just wet your finger and use it to pat down so the donuts are even.

If you are making muffins then you can spoon the batter into a cupcake pan filled with cupcake liners, almost all the way up to the top of the liner.

Baked Rhubarb Donuts

For donuts bake for 6-8 minutes, until starting to turn slightly brown around the edges.  For muffins bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan.

Baked Rhubarb Donuts

You can dust the donuts with a little bit of powdered sugar for a nice presentation and tiny bit more sweetness.

Yields about 8 donuts or muffins

Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson

Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a guided foraging hike through Elysian Park, led by Joel Robinson from Naturalist For You and hosted by the good folks at the Hive House.

While I already considered myself fairly savvy at neighborhood foraging, having harvested figs, lemons, loquats, kumquats, dandelions, nasturtiums, and several different herbs from neighbor’s yards and public land, this hike really brought foraging to another level.  Joel identified several species that are often considered weeds, plants that grow plentifully in the Los Angeles area, most of which have nutritional or medicinal qualities.

If you plan on foraging please be 100% sure of what you are harvesting before you consume anything, don’t go on my photos alone.  Please also keep in mind everyone reacts to different plant species in their own way.  There is also always a chance that certain plants may be contaminated with herbicides, pesticides, or other toxic chemicals.  This is less of a risk in a place like Elysian Park where these plants grow wild, but it is always still a risk.  If you are unfamiliar with the area you can check with the parks department and ask for permission to forage.  Anything you consume is completely at your own risk.

 

Cheeseweed (Malva parviflora)

Foraging Hike in Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, cheeseweed, foraging, forage, los angeles, hike

I see this all the time hiking and had no idea it’s edible!  The smallest, freshest, greenest leaves have the best texture and flavor, they are a very subtle taste with a substantial leaf.  This would make a delicious salad green.

 

Black Mustard (Brassica nigra)

Black Mustard, Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, mustard, wild, weeds, forage, hikeBlack Mustard, Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, mustard, wild, weeds, forage, hike

I love mustard greens so this was one of my favorite varieties we tried on the hike.  You can eat pretty much the whole plant, leaves, stems, and even the cute little yellow flowers.  Not only are they super easy to spot because of their distinctive flowers, they have a wonderful spicy flavor, and they were growing in abundance!

Having cooked with mustard greens from the farmers’ market many times before, I love to saute them up with some tomato and lemon juice.  I will definitely be foraging more of these soon, and the yellow flowers will make for an adorable garnish.

 

London Rocket (Sisymbrium irio)

London Rocket, Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, wild, weeds, forage, hike

This is another plant in the mustard family, which if you didn’t know is the same family as kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and arugula.  Sorry this picture makes it a bit hard to see because there is so much cheeseweed growing around it, but if you can spot the little yellow flowers, the dried fronds on top, and the curvy arugula-like leaves, that’s the London Rocket.

The fact that it’s called rocket, which is a common name for arugula, speaks to it’s flavor, which is very similar to arugula but still with a slight mustard kick.  You could use this as a salad green, or you could use it in the place of arugula, my favorite use for which is to top pizza!

 

Pigweed (Amaranthus palmeri)

Pigweed, Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, wild, weeds, forage, hike

I’ve seen this pop up in my garden before and I noted how similar it looks to a quinoa or amaranth plant, so I wasn’t at all surprised when Joel informed us it’s in the same family.  While the seeds on these plants weren’t yet mature, they are edible once they are fully grown.  But you can eat the leaves as well!  They are a little thicker than some of the other leaves we tried, they would be good mixed into a salad or made into pesto.

 

Spanish Pepper Tree (Schinus molle)

Spanish Pepper Tree, Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, wild, weeds, forage, hikeSpanish Pepper Tree, Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, wild, weeds, forage, hike

I see these all over Los Angeles.  They are all over Griffith Park and there are several in my neighborhood.  This was my first time hiking in Elysian Park but I saw them all along the trail.  It is a large growing tree that produces bunches of tiny pink peppercorns which aren’t even technically in the pepper family.  They are much lighter, flakey, and less spicy than usual peppercorns.  You can easily harvest the low hanging fruit and use it as a spice.  I used some to top my Chicken Liver Pate recipe.  I had no idea but wikipedia touts all of the medicinal benefits of this plant.

 

Tumbleweed (Lechenaultia divaricata)

Tumbleweed, Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, wild, weeds, forage, hike

This is a super interesting plant that develops into a large bushy structure that eventually dies, dries up, then detaches from its roots to roll around in the wind to disperse its seeds over a large area.

What I didn’t know is that in it’s young form, tumbleweed is edible!  We didn’t see very much of it, and the only little patch we did spot was right off the trail.  It was a prime spot for dog pee so I must say I didn’t get to try what it tastes like, but it left me quite curious!

 

Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)

Miner's Lettuce, Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel Robinson, wild, weeds, forage, hike

So this really is the worst picture I took that whole day, it was one of the last plants we identified as rain drops started to fall on us, just minutes before I had to seal my camera in a plastic bag and hike back in torrential downpour, and eventually hail.  But I still included this one because it was one of my favorite tasting plants we tried, the leaves were especially crunchy and light.  I found it similar to fresh baby spinach but even lighter and crispier.

The more mature leaves are round will little tiny flower pods in the center and a long slender stem (seen in here in his right hand,) the immature leaves much smaller and with a tear drop shape (seen here in his left hand.)  The entire thing is edible and quite delicious.

Foraging Hike Through Elysian Park with Joel RobinsonFor more information about events like this, stay tuned!  I’ll be telling you more about the Hive House in Echo Park in a future post, as soon as they launch their new website.

To learn more about Joel or to attend a guided hike definitely check out his website at Naturalist-For-You.org.  I also highly recommend this article that Stacy (co-founder of the Hive House) wrote about him for Atlas Obscura.

Chicken Liver Pâté

Chicken Liver Pate

My farmers’ market source for pasture-raised chicken products is La Bahn Ranch.  Typically I get a few dozen eggs and a whole chicken, but being such a fan of liver pâté I’ve been dying to try it out.  Thanksgiving proved to be the perfect excuse so I finally took the plunge and bought a pound of chicken livers for a whopping $2!

I had heard recipes for liver pâté are fairly simple and the one I found was just that.  All I had to do was sauté the livers with some onion and herbs, then food process them with a good about of butter, actually a lot of butter, more than you’d think.

The result was just spectacular and made a lot more than I thought it would, about 4 cups worth.  In the future I will definitely half the recipe, unless I was hosting a ton of people.  As it was there was plenty for two different dinners with friends and I still had leftovers

This recipe is perfect for holiday parties because it feels very fancy without being expensive or difficult to make.  Especially when topped with some parsley and pink peppercorns like I did here it takes on the festive Christmas color scheme.

I’ve found pâté pairs well with fruit jams or gelees as well as fresh herbs and spices.  Classically it’s served on a crostini but my gluten free friends still thoroughly enjoyed it spread on a GF cracker or a slice of apple.

How will you serve yours up?

Chicken Liver Pâté
1 lb pasture-raised chicken livers
1 small brown onion
1 garlic clove
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
3 sticks (1 and 1/2 cups) grassfed butter
1 tbsp whiskey or cognac
salt and pepper to taste

[NOTE: this recipe is best made the night before, but needs a minimum of 4-6 hours to set in the fridge.  So plan ahead!]

First prep the chicken livers by cutting out all membranes (the whitish-yellow stringy bits) and chopping into smaller pieces – 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length.

Trim and chop up the onion, trim and mince the garlic clove. Remove the thyme from the stem and roughly chop it up.

In a large sauce pan add the livers, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt and water. Simmer this mixture for about 3 minutes on medium-low heat while covered, the livers should brown on the outside but will still be slightly pink the center.  Then let stand for 5 minutes to cool.

Remove and discard the bay leaves.  With a slotted spoon transfer the liver/onion/herb mixture to a food processor, leaving the liquid behind.

Turn on the food processor and when the mixture looks somewhat smooth start to slowly add in the butter, 2 tbsp at a time until it’s all incorporated. Then mix in the whiskey or cognac and add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the mixture to small bowls or ramekins, it will be quite loose but will firm up in the fridge.  Ideally let it set overnight or make in the morning for later that evening.

Once set, add any herbs on top just before serving.  I used fresh parsley from my garden, some pink peppercorns I harvested from a tree down the street, and just a touch of smoked Maldon finishing salt for a little extra flavor and crunch.  But try out your own combination of herbs and spices to see what you like or just enjoy as is, you can’t go wrong!

Chicken Liver Pate

Yields about 4 cups

Cauliflower Leek and Fennel Soup

Cauliflower Leek and Fennel Soup, Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, real food, blended

The long Thanksgiving weekend brought a bit of much needed rain here in LA, so we finally got a taste of autumn weather and a respite from the unrelenting heat.

I make soups all year round because I find it’s a great way to get bone broth and a good helping of veggies into my diet.  When it’s raining especially I can’t help but brew up a big batch of something comforting to sip on.

One of my favorites is potato leek soup because of it’s creamy texture and delicate savory leek flavor. However, potato-based soups can be a bit starchy to enjoy on a daily basis.  I’ve found that cauliflower can replicate the texture of potatoes quite nicely as they do in this mashed cauliflower, but without all that starch!  They work perfectly in this soup, filling it out with a very smooth texture that doesn’t get too heavy or cloying.

In the theme of autumnal vegetables I added in a little fennel because it compliments the leek and cauliflower flavors nicely by lending a mellow sweetness when sautéed.

The homemade broth rounds the flavors of this soup out wonderfully so that it doesn’t need much more than salt for seasoning.  I like to use homemade beef or chicken bone broth in this recipe, but it can easily be made vegan or vegetarian with some veggie stock.  Try it yourself and let me know what you think!

 

Cauliflower Leek and Fennel Soup
2-3 tbsp beef fat or coconut oil
1 medium onion
2 stalks of celery
2-3 tsp sea salt
1 small fennel
2 small leeks or 1 large leek
1/2 cup of sherry wine (or another dry white wine)
1 large head of cauliflower
6 cups of your choice of broth (I prefer homemade bone broth)

Cauliflower Leek and Fennel Soup, Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, real food, blendedCauliflower Leek and Fennel Soup, Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, real food, blendedCauliflower Leek and Fennel Soup, Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, real food, blended

Trim and chop up the onion and celery, set aside. Trim and chop up the fennel and leek, and set aside as well. Only use the base of the fennel, not the stringy stems or dill-like fronds. Use only the mostly white part of the leeks, cut them lengthwise and rise the layers with water well before chopping, sand and dirt tend to get stuck in there.  Also chop up the cauliflower head into smaller florets.

In a large soup pot heat up the beef fat or coconut oil.  If you make your own beef broth at home then you probably have a good amount of beef fat on hand, but coconut oil works well too. Both are stable at higher temperatures and are ideal for sautéing on high heat.

Once the oil is hot, add in the chopped onion and celery and 1/2 tsp of sea salt (salting each layer helps the flavor come together better.)  Cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the chopped fennel and leeks as well as another 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Continue to cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the sherry wine and let the alcohol cook off and liquid thicken, about 2 minutes.

Then add in the broth and cauliflower florets and bring to a boil, stirring to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Once the soup base is done simmering, blend it well with another 1/2 tsp of sea salt. I choose a regular blender for this over an emersion blender because I like to get the cauliflower blended very well so it gets really creamy.  Blend in batches (be careful to hold the lid on with a dish towel, hot soup can pop the lid right off and splatter soup everywhere.  Then mix the batches all back together in a large pot.  Salt to taste.

My finally product is a little darker because I used some very dark colored beef broth, but a lighter chicken or veggie broth will make the soup more of a cream or slightly green color.

If you’re enjoying the soup right away then keep it warm on the stove.  You can also pack it up for leftovers, it keeps well for several days in the fridge and the flavors actually marry and intensify overnight.

Cauliflower Leek and Fennel Soup, Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, real food, blended

Yields 6-8 servings