A simple puréed soup is something I turn to often, usually relying on a creamy tomato, but lately I've been relying instead on a lightly-spiced cauliflower soup. Cauliflowers are easy to come by and quite inexpensive at the markets (in Seattle anyway), so as you sit and wait for true spring produce (peas, favas, asparagus!), this is a good recipe to tide you over.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it takes very little time to pull together. You simply cook down the onions and garlic with cauliflower, broth and warm spices and ready your favorite toppings (I like crisp parsley, toasty cashews and spicy red chile flakes — all with a dash of olive oil).
A few notes about this soup: You will likely buy a can of coconut milk (13.5 ounces) and this recipe only calls for one cup. I generally hate fussy recipes that leave you with odd leftovers, but I do find this to be the perfect amount of coconut milk to fold in towards the end. If you'd like to add the whole can, it will still be delicious (but just a bit thinner). What to do with your leftover coconut milk? I save mine to stir into warm oatmeal or muesli in the mornings. Or you can always freeze it for a future cooking project, too.Last, this recipe asks that you go easy on the salt during the preparation, but do feel free to season with additional salt and pepper once it's done cooking. Because sodium levels vary depending on what kind of broth you're using, I prefer to be conservative in the instructions, allowing you to adjust towards the end.
Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets
4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or water)
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup coconut milk
Freshly-ground black pepper, to season
1/4 cup roasted cashew halves, for garnish (optional, see Recipe Note)
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)
red chile pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Cook the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt until onions are soft and transluscent, 8-9 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes. Add cauliflower, vegetable broth, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until cauliflower is fork-tender, about 15-17 minutes
Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth, and then return the soup to the soup pot. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender to purée the soup right in the pot.) Stir in the coconut milk and warm the soup. Taste and add more salt, pepper or spices if you’d like.
To serve, ladle the soup into favorite bowls and garnish with a handful of toasted cashews, a few springs of parsley, sprinkle of red chile flakes and a dash of olive oil to top.
• To Toast the Cashews: Preheat the oven to 350°F and lay cashews out on a baking sheet in a nice flat layer. Toast for 5-6 minutes, or until fragrant.
(Images: Megan Gordon)