Wednesday, October 9, 2013

easy + healthy cauliflower soup recipe

It suddenly feels like fall around here, though it probably be 80 degrees again in a couple days. I'm taking advantage of the cooler weather by cooking soup. Soup is my favorite thing to cook - it doesn't have to look pretty or require any sort of finesse in the kitchen to be tasty. I decided to throw together a couple ingredients in the dutch oven after work today and see what happened - and a very tasty soup came out of it. It's also the simplest, easiest soup ever....and quite healthy and vegan-friendly. Just cauliflower, shallots, garlic, turmeric, water/broth, thyme, and a bay leaf! Recipe after the jump.

(i am so, so good at getting hipster picture of the ingredients. and then i fail at taking subsequent cooking photos. sorry.)

1 large head of cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil***
1 shallot, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups of water or broth (I add vegan low-sodium bullion to water - found the bullion at Whole Foods for anyone who is curious)
1 bay leaf
thyme to taste
turmeric to taste (it doesn't really add flavor, it's just really good for you. so add as much as you can stand)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop up cauliflower. I cut it in quarters, and then cut those quarters in half. For each piece, I cut off the remaining base portion and break the remainder into similarly sized florets. Rinse florets in a colander and allow to air dry for a couple minutes.

2. Dump cauliflower into a casserole dish and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of salt. Use hands to mix the cauliflower and get all the florets coated with oil. Put casserole dish in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. After those 20 minutes, using a spoon or tongs, toss cauliflower and return to oven. Roast for another 15-20 minutes or until fork tender and lightly browned in places. Remove cauliflower from oven and set aside.

(they'll roast faster and better if you spread the florets out in a single layer, but i'm too lazy for that crap.)

3.  In a pot or dutch oven, put 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or until shallots are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add a healthy dash of turmeric and stir. Add broth/water and allow liquid to boil. Reduce to a simmer and add thyme, bay leaf, roasted cauliflower, and more turmeric if you can handle it. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. 

4. Using a food processor or immersion blender (IMMERSION BLENDERS ARE AMAZING), puree the soup until smooth. If too thick, add water. If too thin, allow to simmer uncovered for a bit longer. Add salt to taste.

(it's not pretty, but it's tasty, especially for being such a lazy recipe)

Next time, I will also roast some carrots with the cauliflower to add to the smoky, caramelized flavor.

*** I'm no food scientist, but I do know that no oil is a magical health potion. Olive oil is better than most oils because it's an unsaturated fat that positively affects good cholesterol, but its unsaturated nature also makes it unstable at the molecular level and thereby prone to breaking down into free radicals rather easily. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, so it's not great for your heart and cholesterol levels, but its saturated nature makes it more stable and less likely to break down into free radicals. Also, its higher smoke point makes it easier to cook some stuff. Choose whatever oil makes you happy, but do your best to minimize use of any oil. If your food starts to dry out mid-saute, try adding a little water or broth instead of more oil.

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