Toss cauliflower florets and whole garlic cloves with olive oil, roast, puree, and you’ve got the base for a creamy, thick and comforting fall soup. If you are a garlic lover, the smell of the roasting garlic cloves just might make you crazy. It’s heavenly.
Roasting Vegetables – Sweet Flavors
Roasting vegetables brings out their sweet qualities, caramelizing their flavors. I am always looking for ways to get more vegetables into our diet, especially non-starchy vegetables. Cauliflower is one of those terrific, non-starchy vegetables I’ve rediscovered from when I was a kid. For this new recipe, I’ve pureed it along with leeks, carrots, celery and herbs for a great soup.
Healthy Cruciferous Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy. A healthy option to add to your diet, cauliflower is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting phytonutrients. Oh, and all cruciferous vegetables have been linked in many studies for reducing the risk of cancer.
Trim any outer leaves then cut the core from a head of broccoli. Break the head into small florets., trimming any extra stem. Scatter the cauliflower into a large baking dish and add whole, peeled garlic cloves. Toss with olive oil and roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife and edges are starting to brown. While the vegetables are roasting, cook the aromatics (leek, carrot, celery, thyme) softly and gently in a pot to coax out their sweet flavors.
When vegetables are done roasting, add cauliflower and broth to the pot and simmer until flavors have blended and all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Puree with coconut milk, in a food processor or Vitamix, season and serve.
This creamy soup gets it’s texture from the pureed vegetables and from the coconut milk. I use Native Forest organic or Whole Foods store brand. If you have never tried coconut milk in a soup recipe like this, know that it does not taste like coconut at all. Leftovers reheat great the next day.
For garnish, I thin basil pesto down with a little coconut milk and swirl it into the soup, then drizzle with drops of golden olive oil. If you are vegan, make the pesto without Parmesan cheese. it will be more like the French version of pesto called pistou.
One more tidbit, we’ve discovered that this soup is terrific finished with Maldon Smoked Sea Salt. Maybe it’s because we are crazy about smoky flavors, but it really takes it over the top.
The most common color is white, although you will see orange, green and even purple varieties. When buying cauliflower, choose head that are firm and white with no brown spots or areas. Florets should not be exasperated. Heads protected by a layer of green leaves are more protected. Cauliflower will last in the refrigerator about a week.[/donotptint]
Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup
Yield: About 5-6 cups (depending on how much liquid you add)
- 1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds or a little over 1 kilo)
- 14 cloves of garlic, whole, peeled (1 large head)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 1 cup thinly sliced leek (white or pale green part only)
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 1 can (15 ounces, 425 grams) coconut milk
- Pre-heat oven to 400° (204 C). Cut the outer green leaves and core from the head of cauliflower. Break the head into small florets, cutting stems as needed. Add florets and garlic cloves to a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour vegetables into a large rectangular baking dish. Roast until florets are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife and edges are starting to brown, about 30 minutes. You may want to stir half of the way through.
- While cauliflower is roasting, cook leek, carrot, celery and thyme in a large pot with last tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.
- When the cauliflower is done roasting, add to the pot of vegetables and add broth. Bring to almost a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pour vegetables into a food processor or Vitamix and puree with coconut milk until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. Serve hot. See post for garnish notes.
Note – Extra soup keeps covered and refrigerated for a few days and can be made ahead, then heated.
Other Helpful Links and Information
The Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart Dutch Oven is a classic soup pot, and you can use it for lots more than soup! Mine is in constant use. Great investment. This color is fennel green.
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