Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup

After our side by side comparison of butternut squash and apple soup this week—a fun conversation, I thought—it felt only right that I experiment with another soup on an unseasonably chilly Wednesday afternoon. It had been a long time since I’d made cauliflower soup, and since we’d all been talking about the depth of flavor that comes from roasting veggies before puréeing them, I decided to caramelize my cauliflower in the oven. As I was chopping it, my gaze happened to fall upon the four parsnips that had been sitting patiently in my fridge for over a week. I thought that their sweetness would complement the sweetness of roasted cauliflower well, and parsnips also have a subtle spice that I love. So, without wasting a breath, I peeled and chopped them, and threw them into the mix.

When I was pointing out the pros and cons of cooked vs. raw soups on Monday, I mentioned that cleaning roasting pans is one of the disadvantages of cooked soup prep. Tons of you chimed in to say that lining pains with tin foil is the best way to avoid this trap. Believe it or not, this had never occurred to me! I made this my first experiment with it, and was impressed by the amazingly easy cleanup!

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As for the soup itself, the ingredients are fairly straightforward. Rather than using onions, which most cooked soup recipes do, I used shallots. This is a great tip for any chef who, like me, has a slight aversion to the taste of onions. Shallots lend amazing flavor and sophistication to cooking—they’re true staples in most restaurant kitchens—without adding too much oniony taste or aftertaste. I highly recommend them!

Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup (Vegan, gluten free, can be soy free)

Yields 4-5 cups

1 small head cauliflower, chopped
4 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, cut in half
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup rice, soy, or coconut milk
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray or two with tin foil.

2) Lay cauliflower, parsnips, shallots, and garlic, out on foil, and drizzle with olive oil, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.

3) Roast veggies for about 35-40 min, or until they’re soft and golden brown.

4) Place veggies in a high speed blender (you may have to work in batches) and add broth and non-dairy milk. Blend until soup is smooth and creamy, adding more liquid if you need to. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender.

5) Transfer soup to a pot and re-season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a swirl of cashew cream (recipe to follow).

Cashew Cream

Yields about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh water

Placed soaked cashews in a blender. Add enough water to cover them by an inch. Blend until silky smooth. Serve over soups, or any other dish that begs for cream!

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Look at how rich and decadent it is—and the sweetness of the vegetables makes it all the more delicious!

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Served here with my walnut cheese and apple wraps:

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It’s a gray, drizzly day here in DC, and I’m almost tempted to make the soup again—that’s how much I liked it. Regardless of where you are or what the weather’s like, I hope you give this one a try soon!

Happy weekend!


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