Ah, the lowly cauliflower. While it’s come up a bit in the Vegetable Stakes recently, thanks to its ability to pretend to be rice or pizza crust or mashed potatoes, cauliflower is still not one of America’s favorite vegetables.
But cauliflower is delightful! You just have to know what to do with it. Roast it, and it reveals a lovely, nuttiness that is completely delicious. Add a little bit of acid in the form of vinegar or lemon or lime juice or white wine (cauliflower IS a brassica, and all brassica need a pop of acid to cut the sulfur), and the humble cauliflower shines. Cauliflower deserves more than being a substitute!
In this installment of Healthy Waists, Healthy Wallets, I give you roasted cauliflower soup. It’s easy, it’s almost endlessly customizable to various tastes and pantry contents, it’s inexpensive, it’s healthy, and it’s cheap. Win, win, win, win!
Roasted Cauliflower Soup – Basic Recipes and Modifications
2 heads cauliflower, tough stem and leaves removed and cut into chunks
2 shallots or 4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half (shallots) or smashed (garlic)
¼ cup olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth, chicken broth, water or 2 cups white wine and 2 cups broth or water (or more if needed)
Garnish with fresh herbs, crema, or whatever you want (I don’t garnish because I have ravenous wolverines, I mean teenagers, residing in my house, and they don’t care about garnishes)
Preheat the oven to 425°. (This is THE temperature for roasting vegetables. Any kind of veggies you care to roast.)
While the oven is preheating, cut the cauliflower, peel and cut the shallots and/or peel and smash the garlic cloves. Place the veggies on a large baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to make sure that all the veggies are coated with the oil and sprinkle with a goodly amount of kosher salt.
Roast the cauliflower until the chunks are softened and golden brown, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. (I must admit that I like my cauliflower and shallots a little darker than golden brown, but that’s my weird taste.) Transfer the cauliflower and shallots or garlic to the bowl of a food processor, the pitcher of a blender, or a pot if using a stick blender. Add the broth and blend or puree.
WARNING: If using a blender, DO NOT COVER WITH THE PITCHER LID!!! Cover the pitcher with a clean kitchen towel. The heat will cause the lid and contents to explode all over your kitchen. Don’t ask how I know this.
Now is the time to add whatever herbs or spices you like. I’ve made a list of some combinations to try:
- Chipotle in adobo – 1 chipotle and a bit of adobo sauce and a small handful of cilantro leaves
- Tarragon – 2 teaspoons dried tarragon and a shot of sherry vinegar
- Rosemary and sage – 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary and sage with a shot of cider vinegar
- Cumin – 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I actually like a bit more), several glugs hot sauce, and the juice of 1 lime
- Louisiana – 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s) and Louisiana hot sauce to taste
These are just a few of the flavor combinations that you can use. Experiment. Figure out what your family likes. Play with your food!
Serves 6ish people.