If you love the flavor of lemongrass you'll want this soup in your repertoire. This is an upliftingly light but flavor-packed soup, perfect to serve as a first course at a dinner party or accompanied with flatbread or a grain salad for a casual light dinner on a warm evening.
What you can't tell though just from looking at the pictures is how creamy and unctuous this soup is. Sesame seeds are the secret ingredient responsible here. When they are blended with liquid they give a wonderfully full-bodied creamy texture, and I promise you won't miss the dairy. The trick is to blend the soup long enough using an upright blender. An immersion blender won't work for this one. Sorry! If you have a high powered blender it will take just one minute. In a regular blend you'll need a little more patience, two or three more minutes worth, but it will cream up all the same.
This minimalist soup also has an impressive smorgasbord of nutritional offerings. I like adding sesame seeds anywhere I can; especially crackers and granola, baked on low heat, blended into smoothies/soups, or its cold-pressed oil drizzled over plated dishes. Sesame is rich in several minerals including copper, iron, calcium, and magnesium. That means this little seed has the capability of supporting our body in many ways; promoting bone, joint, and blood health, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation that can present as arthritis, improving dry skin and hair, and easing migraines and PMS symptoms.
Leeks are a also a power food, especially when it comes to our gut health. They have the ability to soothe the intestinal lining, acting as a lubricant and forming a protective layer. This is especially helpful when the integrity of our glut flora has been compromised or our intestinal tract is inflamed and irritated due to illness, surgery, or taking antibiotics, over-the-counter antacids, or other medication. Leeks are also considered a prebiotic, fuel for gut bacteria, otherwise known as soluble dietary fiber. This is the type of fiber gut bacteria can consume and ferment, and it's commonly found in leeks, artichokes, asparagus, banana, garlic, and onions along with leafy greens and other vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
Whew, that was a mouthful! But the take-away message here is that food truly is nature's medicine. Including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit in our diet encourages our gut bacteria to thrive and do their work efficiently to digest food, assimilate nutrients, fortify the intestinal lining, strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and burn fat. And when we mindfully support our body through our food and lifestyle choices, we are giving it the opportunity to thrive as well.
Announcement to readers in the St. Gallen area!
I am hosting the first of a three-part cooking workshop series on Saturday, 6 June. Check out the events page for more details. Hope to see you all there!!
Leek and Lemongrass Soup
- 1/4 cup (36 gr) hulled sesame seeds, soaked 2-6 hours
- 4 large leeks (~4 cups or 350 gr, chopped)
- 6 stalks of lemongrass
- Large knob of cold-pressed coconut oil
- 1 in. piece ginger, peeled + finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red chili, sliced
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric (optional - for color)
- 1 1/2-2 tsp. salt
- 6 cups (1.4 liters) water
- 1/2 bunch cilantro (leaves + tender stems)
- Juice from 1/4 - 1/2 lemon
- Prepare leeks: Remove dark green end of stalks. Halve white/light green end lengthwise, then chop into pieces. Place in a large bowl with water and swish around with hands, separating layers to release dirt. Remove leeks to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry.
- Prepare lemongrass: Cut away tough woody ends of lemongrass. Pound white end with the dull edge of knife (sharp edge pointing up), rotating stalk as you're pounding until all sides are cracked open and aroma is released.
- In a large soup pot, heat coconut oil. Add leeks, cracked lemongrass stalks, ginger, garlic, chili, turmeric, and a big pinch salt. Stir to coat in oil and cook 3 minutes, or until leeks begin to soften. Add water and 1 1/2 tsp. salt, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, remove lid, and allow soup to cool. Remove lemongrass stalks, then transfer soup to a standing blender. Add rinsed and drained sesame seeds and cilantro and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy (1-3 minutes*). Taste and add as much lemon as desired and salt as needed.
*If you're using a high-powdered blender, this will take 1 minute. Otherwise be patient and blend for 3-4 minutes. Taste and blend longer if needed; it's ready when it becomes a very buttery, creamy consistency. It will taste like you added cream.