Roasted Cauliflower Soup

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The holiday season is just about behind us, and if you’re anything like me, it seems like November and December have been one non-stop feast!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

In the coming year, I would like to focus a bit more on plant-based meals, like many of you out there. Partly for the health benefits and lessening impact on the planet, but also because I’m pretty much full up (like my pun) with dense beef and poultry-based recipes. AND, animal proteins are SOO expensive right now, there’s no downside to adding more veggies to my diet!

One thing I don’t want to compromise on, however, is flavor. And, that’s where this soup comes in. It begins with roasting cauliflower which is a highly nutritious veg, full of anti-oxidants and fiber. Roasting it brings out the natural sweetness and lends itself to a wide variety of flavor profiles.

Leeks and potatoes are also stars in this soup. The leeks add flavor and the potatoes will add creaminess and thickness. The small amount of wine used in the soup is barely noticeable, but provides a little acid, and, of course, by reducing it until it’s almost gone, the alcohol is burned off. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can certainly substitute an non-alcoholic wine, or just leave it off entirely.

This recipe calls for veggie broth, so it’s automatically vegetarian, but you can tailor that, too, to your preferences, substituting a chicken broth if you prefer.

The heavy cream is also optional. If you want the soup to be vegan, either drop the cream or use a plant-based alternative. Same with the condiments; dairy sour cream or yogurts are an option, but there are excellent non-dairy versions in the market today, so feel free to experiment.

The seasoning profile is what makes this soup shine. Fennel Pollen, the “dust” left over after the fennel plant blooms, adds a nice licoricey note, and a dash of Paprika also provides interest. While this version of the soup is mild, you can certainly boost the heat by increasing the red pepper flakes used in roasting the Cauliflower, or you can use Hot Paprika instead of the regular (sweet) called for in the recipe. If you don’t have, or can’t find Fennel Pollen, a good organic one can be purchased here.

Another variation of this soup calls for using Chat Masala and turmeric instead of the Fennel Pollen and Paprika. Either version is awesome. I suggest you give both a try and see what you think!

Finally, before serving, the soup is pureed using either a conventional blender (caution when blending hot soup!) or an immersion blender. While I used my Vitamix for this soup, you can get similar results with the immersion blender. After having multiple brands, I finally invested in this one by Cuisinart because of its multiple attachments and carry bag. It’s a workhorse that has NOT let me down!

This soup is nothing less than amazing. Creamy, warm, satisfying and plant-based! It got rave reviews the last time I made it so I plan to keep this on the front-burner (pun intended!) for another chilly night in the near future!

Happy New Year all!

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Roasted Cauliflower Soup

A great, satisfying soup that combines cauliflower, leeks and potatoes spiced with Fennel Pollen to create a one-of-a-kind meal!
Course: Main Course, Soup
Keyword: comfort food, roasted cauliflower, vegan soup, vegetarian soup, veggie soup
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Corinne Gregory Sharpe

Equipment

  • Blender or stick blender

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher Salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 lg leeks, dark green parts discarded (or reserved for another use), rinsed and sliced
  • 3 med red potatoes, chopped into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream optional
  • 2 tsp California fennel pollen
  • 1/2 tsp sweet Paprika
  • extra heavy cream, sour cream, plain yogurt, chopped parsley for garnish, as desired

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Place cauliflower florets on a baking sheet. Coat with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Roast in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Heat remaining oil iin a heavy pot over medium heat. Add leeks and potatoes, sweat/soften for at least 10-15 minutes. Add roasted cauliflower to the pot, add wine, and allow wine to reduce until it's almost gone.
  • Add broth and bring to a soft boil. Stir in seasonings and allow the soup to cook until the potatoes are tender.
  • Remove from heat and use blender or stick blender to puree the soup completely.
  • When blended, add 1/2 cup heavy cream (if using) and stir to incorporate. Adjust seasonings, if needed. Keep soup warm until ready to serve, but do NOT allow to boil.
  • To serve, top with a drizzle of heavy cream, a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and/or a handful of chopped parsley.

Notes

It’s easy to make this soup meet a variety of dietary needs. This soup is vegetarian as written, but if this isn’t an issue for you and you don’t have vegetable broth, chicken broth will do fine. Also, to make it vegan, you would omit the dairy cream and other dairy products, and either use a plant-based version or forego it entirely.
Another flavor variation you can use instead of the fennel pollen is 2 tsp of Chat Masala and an equal amount of tumeric instead of the Paprika. If you go this route, you may want to garnish with cilantro instead of the parsley.

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