This is one of the most versatile soups that we make, and is a staple dinner for us. It is super easy and quick to make, is dirt cheap, and spiked with white beans, it is also very filling!
Consider this more of a base recipe for cauliflower soup which you can take in a huge number of directions depending on how much or little time you have, and what herbs and stuff you have available to you.
The very basic is simply to give the cauliflower some kind of heat treatment, then blend it with some kind of white beans, some kind of liquid, some kind of fat, and a bit of sea salt.
That’s it. Dinner is served.
But let’s elaborate a bit. Let’s start with the use of white beans.
Beans are incredibly cheap, and they also add a shitload of proteins to your food (typically 20-25 g per 100g) , so whatever you put beans in will be very filling, on par with meat. Even the biggest, most hungry guy will get full from beans.
Another cool thing about beans is they hardly taste anything, so you can add quite a bit of them (typically 1/5 to 1/4 of the total) to almost anything mashed or pureed, and you wouldn’t know they’re there, except you get soooo full! Quite sneaky, really!
Simmering/steaming chunks of cauliflower in a bit of water for a few minutes until tender is the absolute quickest and easiest way of making them tender, so if you’re in a hurry, this is what you do. And use some canned white beans and blend along with the cauliflower.
BAM! Dinner from scratch in 15 minutes.
Roasting in the oven or grilling the cauliflower takes about 1 hour of passive time, and adds a magnificent layer of complexity to the flavors, and really plays nicely along with nutty things, like toasted nuts and seeds, beurre noisette, sesame oil etc.
You need some kind of fat, doesn’t have to be much, but to add mouthfeel and body to the soup; use real butter or oil.
The liquid you’d use would typically be the steaming water or milk, but consider almond or hazelnut milk, and then pair that with toasted almonds or hazelnuts on top for a totally delicious vegan soup.
Finally, a magnificent cauliflower soup needs a bit of fresh herbs. Parsley and sage in particular, but also chives, tarragon and chervil. Or you could add come curry to the soup and use mint leaves instead.
The below recipe serves four reasonably hungry people. Add some good bread on the side if you guys are really hungry 🙂
- 2 cauliflower heads
- 200 g / 200 ml dried white beans, or 400 g canned (and drained)
- 3 tbsp good olive oil, or 45 g real butter
- Liquid for cooking and thinning, approx. 1-1.5 liter.
If using dried beans, soak overnight in tap water with 1/4 tsp baking soda added to the water. The baking soda will make them extra tender. Cook the beans in the soaking water according to package.
We prefer cooking our beans in a pressure cooker; they are cooked tender in only 10 minutes, and that also saves a lot of energy!
If roasting, rub the whole cauliflower with a bit of oil, put in a roasting pan, and roast at 200C until golden brown and tender, approx. 1 hour. You could of course also use a solar oven if you have one.
If grilling, quarter the cauliflower, rub with a bit of olive oil, and grill until golden brown and tender, approx. 30 minutes.
If cooking in a pot, chunk the cauliflower, toss into a 3 liter pot with an inch of water in the bottom, bring up the heat, and simmer until tender, approx. 10 minutes.
When everything is nice and tender, it’s time to find your blender!
Now, while you can get great results with a stick blender, there is no doubt that an upright blender will get you by far the smoothest results.
We have used upright blenders from Kitchen Aid and Kenwood previously, but we are absolutely blown away by the superior results our new Vita Mix Explorian E310 gives us; it will completely liquify even the most stubborn, resistant root and vegetable and make them as velvety smooth as only a $4000 Pacojet could (maybe!) surpass. So yeah, that’s a recommendation right there 🙂
Add your liquid of choice as you blend until you have the right consistency. Tip back into your pot (if using an upright blender), bring back to a gentle simmer, add the fat, then season with fine sea salt to taste.
Now to fancy the shit out of it:
While what you have now is a very tasty and filling little soup, let’s take it up a notch.
Favorite #1: Toasted hazelnuts & shallow fried cauliflower leaves
The soup in the photo for this recipe is made with toasted hazelnuts, some finely chopped flat leaf parsley, and shallow fried cauliflower leaves.
Add the toasted hazelnuts in the center of each bowl, drizzle a swirly thin stream top quality olive oil, sprinkle some finely chopped parsley, and top with the shallow fried cauliflower leaves.
Favorite #2: Toasted hazelnuts with Sage & beurre noisette
Another incredibly tasty combo is toasted hazelnuts (again), paired with sage & beurre niosette.
Beurre noisette means “nut butter” in French, and it’s super simple to make; melt some butter in a pan on medium heat, and let it continue to brown the milk solids until nicely nutty brown.
The more you brown it, the deeper the flavor, but be careful so it doesn’t turn black and burnt. Add sage leaves from the start, and they will infuse incredible flavor to the butter, and crisp up too!
Simply add the toasted hazelnuts in the center of each bowl, top with the sage leaves, and finish with drizzling a thin stream of the nut butter.
Be creative, play with your food, make new combos, and enjoy!