A Soup (or sauce) For All Reasons!! A soup we can all eat and love regardless of our dietary needs!
Soup that tastes luxuriously creamy, is supremely healthy, easy to fix, super low in calories, and can be eaten by everyone at the table regardless of food restrictions? Inconceivable!!!! A food that can be brought to the table that EVERYONE can eat? The vegans, GF, Paleo, vegetarians, low fat, highly nutritious, heart healthy, brain healthy, can ALL eat this. I don’t think that there is anyone that is even allergic to these ingredients!!!!
It was frustrating to me one Thanksgiving when I had our very large family coming (42 in our tribe) and realized that there were allergies, vegans, low fat, paleo dieters, and a number of allergies. I nearly went crazy! How do you fix everything that everyone can eat and stay traditional? You can’t. However, you can fix enough fairly traditional foods that are insanely delicious, that everyone can enjoy. This soup is something that EVERYONE can eat! I even have my youngest grandchildren loving it! Really? Three year olds that love cauliflower soup?
I will post in the coming months before Thanksgiving and Christmas, some foods/menues that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of dieters. I can’t be the only one who has these issues.
Cauliflower has found a resurgence of well deserved popularity in the last year or two. Rightly so, as it is an extremely nutritious vegetable, and chameleon-like in it’s preparation. I have roasted, coated, dipped, stir fried, mashed, riced, and just about everything else you can think of to it. However, I think this is the best ever way to have cauliflower. Soup!!!
Seriously, I have had cauliflower soup before, and it was delicious, but usually had some degree of cream, bleu cheese, or some other high calorie or fatty treat in it. Not this soup!!! Bare bones, but ridiculously creamy and indulgent. Eating it, you will find it hard to believe there isn’t something decadently creamy and fatty in it. I can’t imagine that there is a diet/dieter that wouldn’t love this soup. It can be subtle or strong, and lends itself to a variety of ethnic spices while maintaining it’s basic integrity.
Think of it!! Simplifying your dinner routine just a bit by having something everyone around the table can eat? Inconceivable! Unify your family!!!!! Extremely simple, but super rich and creamy, it will be your favorite for sure!!
Roasted cauliflower soup/or sauce
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets maybe 6 cups? Should be enough cauliflower to fully cover a 12x17 cooling/baking rack - Live-Nimble, of course, because it can take the heat and is the strongest and heaviest on the market!
For the mire poix a ratio of 2 onion to 1 celery and 1 carrot is classic. Feel free to reduce the amount used in this recipe, and even alter the ratio if needed.
I typically use “better than bullion” as you can control the strength of the broth. Try adding a tough of mushroom. I haven’t tried it, but I think it might be delicious. Since it has a distinctive flavor, I would add only a small amount, though.
Place florets of cauliflower in large bowl, drizzle small amount of oil on to barely coat florets
Put Cauliflower on rack over foil lined baking sheet, and roast in oven at 400°F until nicely browned, and very tender. The browner the cauliflower, the stronger the flavor. I prefer the lightly browned cauliflower for this recipe, as it is a bit more delicate.
I have set the recipe with 1 cup of added mire poix. That might be a bit mild of a flavor, so feel free to adjust to more . It is a nice place to start, and you can easily add more if you want, it is more difficult to take it out!! You can fix larger amounts of mire poix and then freeze what you don’t need for use when turning your chicken bones into a broth, or some other soup, stew, etc. Mire Poix is a very basic mix that is used in almost any soup, stew, broth, etc. I find the flavors of the onion, carrot and celery are clearly distinct, as is the cauliflower. I find that interesting, seeing that they are all just pureed together. It is one of those things that makes me love this even more. Fantastic!!!
Put carrots, celery, onion in a large (saute) pan, add about 1 Tbs oil, enough to coat pan and prevent sticking. Saute vegetables until tender (cover with lid to sweat if you want). The carrots and onions could be roasted, just be aware though, that they will become even sweeter and that will alter the soup flavor.
Place all cooked veggies in a bowl, or blending type of appliance. Using a blender, Vita-Mix, food processor, or stick blender, puree veggies with enough liquid to reduce to smooth consistency. Add preferred liquid to bring soup to your desired thickness, and serve. I typically use chicken broth, but vegetable broth is wonderful as well, if you are vegetarian or vegan.
This is a very flexible soup, as you can vary the thickness, flavors, and intensity to your preference. Preparing it the first time, I would be a bit conservative, not over browning or altering the proportions. Once you have established the flavor level, then adjust with more intense browning, or adding other spices, etc.
BONUS!! Don’t overlook the tasty morsels on the liner under the rack!
When I roasted the cauliflower, I cut the florets smaller than I normally would, and then tossed them with a little bit of oil in a bowl. I then transferred all of it to the rack (over a foil lined pan) and roasted. When the cauliflower was well browned, i removed it to a processor, then noticed a number of tiny little cauliflower ‘crumbs’ on the foil, having cooked to a very brown state…or was it black? I tasted one and found that is was extremely delicious! A perfect garnish, cooks privilege, or a new way to do cauliflower, I am not sure, but they were super good!
Do ahead: Can be done several days ahead, remains very delicious rewarmed.
Freeze: Cool, then freeze. I don’t know how long it will keep in freezer, but it is so good you will be fortunate to have any left to freeze anyway.
Mistakes! In case the veggies are not cooked soft enough, or you can’t blend it super smooth, don’t be disappointed! It is delicious a bit ‘crunchy’ and you can always cook the leftovers again to make them more soft, and blend again. Yes, i did make this mistake, and although the texture was not as creamy with the not soft enough veggies, it was still delicious!!!
As a sauce!!! When this is prepared and blended, it can be very thick. It makes a wonderful sauce. Add to your Mac and Cheese so there is a healthy dose of veggies in your kids fav! I would keep the cauliflower very lightly browned, that way, the flavor blends perfectly with the cheese sauce. Or, just melt the cheese into the cauliflower sauce.
Use this as a sauce for whatever you can imagine. I have not tried it on meat, but I think it would be terrific as a light sauce on a roasted stuffed chicken breast, a plain roasted piece of chicken, pork tenderloin, other roasted vegetables, rice would be fantastic, or quinoa. Use your imagination, and find a healthier way to devour this delicious sauce!
As a soup!
As I mentioned, it lends itself to ethnic spices. Try spicy..sriracha, peppers, za-atar, lemon pepper, whatever you can imagine or love. It is a soup that is amenable and adaptable to many ethnic tastes. Try spooning a small amount of soup into a cup and adding a touch of desired spice, and see how it tastes. No sense ruining a whole pot of soup if you don’t like it! Then, be as creative as you like!!
The first time I made this soup, I thought a little cream or bleu cheese in it would be perfect and very gourmet. I found that I preferred just plain soup! The extra fat, whether cream, coconut milk, or cheese, tends to muddle the flavors. We love the clean clear taste of this simple soup. I would like to try this with a mushroom bullion, or just a touch of it, as I think that would be delicious.
I did decide that a garnish on the soup was needed for presentation at a nice dinner party, and as a subtle condiment, so crisped pancetta, prosciutto, bacon, chopped chives, a squirt of creme fraiche or sour cream,(maybe a cute design?) a sprinkle of paprika, or even bleu cheese etc., would be very elegant. Tie your garnish flavor to be complimentary to your main dish. You might also try caramelized strips of roasted carrots or onions, or well roasted thin slices of mushroom or red pepper.
ROASTED!! Roasting the Cauliflower is a no brainer, but it does take up an entire 12x 17 rack, so there is no room for anything else. If you have a convection oven, you can do two racks at once. i did not try, but will in the future, roasting the carrots and onions (onions cut into strips, not chopped) along with the cauliflower. I think that would be delicious! It will change the flavor to somewhat sweeter, though, so don’t do this the first time you prepare it.
- Nancy Oar