I feel lucky to live in an area where fresh and inexpensive produce is easy to come by, but I don’t always love eating it. Chomping away at carrots dipped in hummus is tasty and nutritious, but it can also be pretty boring for someone who enjoys variety in their meals. So, this week I went on a mission to find a recipe that used fresh produce in a creative way, and maintained the nutritional integrity of the ingredients.
I found this soup recipe on the critically acclaimed food blog, Not Without Salt. Originally, it seemed like an Asian-inspired dish because of its use of coconut milk and red pepper flakes, but the roasted vegetables, potato, and thyme made me rethink that notion. In actuality, I think that the coconut milk served as a way to make the recipe healthy, rather than as an attempt at an Asian flavor profile.
Overall, this is a great soup for fall since it has a hearty consistency and a rich flavor. With that said, I still recommend serving it with a side dish of sorts… perhaps a warm hunk of crusty baguette. I topped each bowl with toasted sesame seeds for an added textural element.
Full disclosure, I thought that the recipe called for ginger when I took this picture…^^
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into medium sized chunks
1 large leek, white part cut in 1/2-inch slices
4 celery stalks, cut in 2-inch pieces
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
2 tsp thyme leaves
pinch chili flake (this is a mild recipe, so a little goes a long way)
4 cups chicken stock
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (I used a 14 oz can of light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Toss cauliflower, leeks, and celery with 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Roast on a baking sheet for an hour or until vegetables are tender and there is a good deep color on many bits of the vegetables. Rotate the sheet throughout so that the back doesn’t burn. My oven is rather strong so I also tossed the veggies with a wooden spoon every once in a while to prevent them from burning.
In a large pot add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil shimmers add the onions and garlic then cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables, potatoes, thyme, chile flakes, stock, coconut milk, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to the heat to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Carefully puree the soup in a blender. Remember that the soup is hot! Taste and adjust seasoning.
Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and some toasted sesame seeds.