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Roasted cauliflower soup in bowl, topped with fried capers.
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5 from 1 vote

Roasted cauliflower soup (cauliflower bisque with fried capers)

Roasting the cauliflower imparts a caramelized flavor and winter-white color to this soothing fall soup. After roasting, the vegetables are pureed, giving the soup a silky mouthfeel without it being too rich.
Makes 8 cups soup, ½ cup fried capers. Serves 6 - 8.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French, Vegan
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, starter
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 272kcal
Author: Tal Ronnen

Ingredients

For the cauliflower bisque

  • 1 head cauliflower 1 ½ pounds, stem and core removed, florets chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
  • 2 leeks white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, coarsely chopped, and well rinsed
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons non-dairy butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water + bouillon
  • 1 cup cashew cream recipe follows
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs leaves stripped from the stems (about 1 tablespoon)
  • fried capers recipe follows

For the fried capers

For the cashew cream

Instructions

To make the cauliflower bisque

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Put the cauliflower, garlic, leeks, and onion in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 to 3 Tablespoons oil (depending on your preferences), season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
  • Spread the vegetables out in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, until tender and slightly charred. Set aside.
    (The roasted vegetables can be prepared a couple of hours in advance, covered, and held at room temperature.)
  • Put a soup pot over medium heat and add 2 to 4 Tablespoons non-dairy butter (depending on your preferences). When it has melted, add the bay leaves and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the roasted vegetables, turning them over with a wooden spoon to coat.
  • Pour in the stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in the cashew cream, and gently simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves.
  • Working in batches, carefully ladle the soup into a blender, filling it no more than halfway each time and adding some of the thyme and salt and pepper to taste to each batch. (If you have an immersion blender, this is a great time to use it.)
    Puree the soup for a few seconds, until completely smooth (be sure to hold down the lid with a kitchen towel for safety), and transfer to a saucepan or bowl.
    If desired, pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer, pushing down on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon; discard the solids.
  • Divide the soup among soup bowls, scatter the fried capers on top, and serve.

To make the fried capers

  • Heat approximately ¼ inch of oil in a small sauté pan until very hot but not smoking. Carefully add the dried capers to the hot oil (they may spit and bubble) and gently stir until the capers bloom and become crisp, 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Remove the capers with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. The fried capers can be kept in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

To make the cashew cream

  • Drain the raw cashews in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer the cashews to a blender, preferably a Vitamix, and pour in 1 cup water. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy without any trace of graininess.
    The cashew cream should be smooth on the palate; add more water if necessary.
    If you’re not using a heavy-duty blender, you may need to strain the cashew cream through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of any grittiness.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. It will thicken as it sits, so blend with 2 Tablespoons or so filtered water if needed to reach the desired consistency.

Notes

Notes from Cadry: When making this recipe, I prefer to use less oil & non-dairy butter than in the actual book. I opt for 1 Tablespoon of EVOO & 2 Tablespoons of non-dairy butter, while the printed amounts are 3 Tablespoons of EVOO & 4 Tablespoons of non-dairy butter. Choose whichever you prefer.
In the book, it's also listed that a person should soak the raw cashews for at least 12 hours. I don't find that to be necessary. If you're using a Vitamix, you can skip soaking the cashews. Otherwise, soaking for a few hours is plenty. A couple of other alternatives: You can boil the cashews for a few minutes to soften them. Or you can grind dry raw cashews in a coffee grinder until they become a flour. Then add them to the blender.
Finally, the book calls to simmer the vegetables on the stove for 20 minutes after they're roasted. Since they are fully softened, if you're short on time, you could add a little less broth instead of waiting for it to reduce, and then blend.
Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen, with Scot Jones (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Photograph on cover by Lisa Romerein. (The photos in this post are by Cadry Nelson.)

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 827mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 662IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 3mg