Retreat Recipes: Curried Cauliflower & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Mmm, a hearty soup in the winter. Something about a thick creamy soup takes the chill off the bones. Over here in the lower mainland, we might not be suffering from the full icy blast of the polar vortex, but we do have our need for warm comfort foods. This soup is perfect because it satisfies the taste buds while it warms and replenishes the body. ~Nancy
Curried Cauliflower & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Vegan, Paleo, Grain-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free
1 large head of cauliflower with the stem, broken into small florets, stems chopped
About 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil or olive oil
2 red bell peppers halved, seeds removed
3 cloves of garlic sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped or diced
2 to 3 tablespoons Thai curry paste (red or yellow)*
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar**
2-3 cups vegetable broth or stock (depending on how thick you like your soup)
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk***
½ teaspoon sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1 to 2 teaspoons of lime juice****
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sweet basil or cilantro
Optional heat: sliced chili peppers, chili oil, garlic chili sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 200-degrees (400F)
2. Mix the cauliflower and garlic cloves with enough oil to coat (about half: 2T), and salt and pepper to taste. Spread the cauliflower and garlic in a single layer on a baking sheet. Grease a second baking sheet, and place the red peppers cut-side down. Roast for 20-30 minutes until the edges of the cauliflower start to brown and the skins of the peppers blister and blacken (it might happen that one baking sheet needs to come out before the other).
3. Place the red peppers in a bowl covered with a plate until cool ("sweating" the peppers in this way make them much easier to peel--though I have been known to dispense with skinning peppers for soup).
4. In a large saucepan, heat up 1T of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a dash of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to turn translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Stir in the curry paste and lemon zest. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the apple cider vinegar, and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the vinegar has evaporated.
5. Add the red pepper, all of the cauliflower stems and most of the cauliflower florets to the pot (save some of the florets for garnish). Add the coconut milk, sugar, and 2 cups of the vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover and continue simmering for 5-10 more minutes to meld the flavors. Remove the pot from the heat.
6. After cooling for a few minutes, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Otherwise, transfer the soup to a blender in small batches, blending until each batch is smooth. Here’s where you can decide whether to thin out the soup with more broth or not.
7. Add salt and pepper and the lime juice (start with 1 teaspoon) to taste. To serve, top each bowl with a few florets of the remaining cauliflower, a sprinkle of basil or cilantro, and heat of choice (if using).
*There are several Thai curry pastes on the market. You can usually find them in international sections. Yellow tends to be milder than red. Red is also known as "massaman". If you don’t have access to Thai curry pastes, 1 tablespoon of Indian curry powder would work.
**I use Braggs when I can get it, but a good substitution for quality apple cider vinegar is simply apple juice with a splash of lemon juice (like from the lemon we just zested for the recipe)
***Lite coconut milk would work here, but I prefer the thick creaminess of regular coconut milk and when I’m feeling indulgent (like in the middle of a shivery winter) I might go with a can of full-on coconut cream.
****Because we’ve zested a lemon, feel free to use lemon juice instead. The lime is more "traditionally" thai, but lemon does the job.