Ah, the humble cauliflower. Over the last decade it saw something of a renaissance. Once a reminder of overcooked school meals we saw it transform into rice and pizza bases, seen alongside pasta and fish and even hidden in smoothies. Alongside other brassicas (looking at you, kale) it rose to stardom and has settled into many people’s weekly cooking routines. Part of the joy is its versatility – steamed, roasted, mashed, souped – there’s a lot you can do with a cauliflower.
Now, if you’ve read any of my posts before you will find that I love all things cabbage, cauli or sprout. I always have. At times I wonder if this blog will just become one massive ode to the brassica, although we’re not quite there yet. My favourite thing about the whole family though, is the nutty sweetness that they take on when roasted; the bits that catch and char at the edges. Whilst I love that there’s something almost decadent about a whole roasted cauliflower as a centrepiece, you never get quite as many crispy bits compared to when you break it into its individual florets – it has more surface area that way and therefore more opportunity to frazzle gently at its corners. That’s why whenever I make cauliflower soup I roast it instead of boiling it to give that intensity of flavour and make sure that sweetness translates into the soup itself.
There are always 2 main directions I’m interested in going with cauliflower: smothering it in cheese or adding a little spice. This time, this particular soup recipe, whilst creamy, falls into the latter category. You know those sweet nutty flavours I mentioned in roast cauliflower? Well, the same tones can be found in some of your favourite spices. Here I use cumin and tumeric alongside garam masala, which compliments the cauliflower and adds a slight earthiness as well as a golden colour.
This soup also ticks a lot of boxes, it’s vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and really, really delicious.
Vegan spiced roast cauliflower soup
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 700g cauliflower (about 1 mid-sized head)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tbsp garam masala
- 1 dried cayenne chilli or 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 150g potato
- 650ml vegetable stock
- Olive oil
- Break apart the cauliflower, cutting into similar sized florets. If your cauliflower is good and fresh you can also use the leaves, but know that these won’t take quite as long in the oven as the other pieces.
- Toss the cauliflower in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add the spices and season. Mix thoroughly to combine. Turmeric stains like anything, so if you want to avoid yellow fingers feel free to use gloves.
- Put the garlic cloves amongst the cauliflower and roast for half an hour at 200°C, until the cauliflower is slightly charred round the edges.
- While the cauliflower roasts peel your potatoes and add to a pan of cold water. Don’t give in to the urge to boil a kettle to speed things up here – this isn’t rice. By using cold water the potato cooks evenly as opposed to falling apart on the outside whilst the inside stays hard.
- Once the potato can be pieced with a sharp knife take off the heat and drain.
- Reserve a couple of pieces of cauliflower as a garnish while the rest of the ingredients cool down, then blend together everything else whilst gradually adding the stock. The soup will become creamy as the starch in the potatoes helps to make the soup smooth.
- Once blitzed return to the pan and heat up. Season to taste and serve with a dollop of yogurt (coconut is a great non-dairy alternative) and the frazzled cauliflower floret.