When it comes to making smooth, velvety vegetable soups, cauliflower is kind of a secret weapon. This brassica is low in overall fiber when cooked (compared to say, carrots or broccoli), making it ideal for smooth purees and sauces. In fact, this soup is so smooth and creamy that you’d be hard pressed to believe there isn’t any dairy in it. And to elevate this soup even more, we blend in toasted walnuts to thicken the soup slightly. The walnuts also provide richness, a background sweetness, and a pleasant buttery quality. For some textural contrast, we serve the soup with some pan-roasted cauliflower and plenty of extra toasted walnuts.
Cauliflower and Walnut Soup
- 1 head cauliflower (2 pounds)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, halved and sliced thin
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup (2 ounces) toasted walnuts
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pull leaves off cauliflower and trim stem. Using small knife, cut around core to remove; thinly slice core and reserve. Cut 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from head of cauliflower; set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces.
- Melt 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 6 minutes.
- Increase heat to high; add 4 1/2 cups water, sliced core, and half of sliced cauliflower; and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
- While soup simmers, melt remaining 4 tablespoons oil in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Off heat, stir in mustard powder and cumin. Remove skillet from heat and transfer florets to small bowl. Toss florets with lemon juice and season with salt to taste.
- Process soup and walnuts in blender until smooth, about 60 seconds. Rinse out pot. Strain pureed soup through fine-mesh strainer into pot, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Return soup to simmer over medium heat, adjusting consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, silky texture but settle flat in bowl) and seasoning with salt to taste. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, extra walnuts, and extra olive oil.
Nutrition facts:1 serving 244 calories 5 grams of protein 9 grams of carbohydrates 3 grams of fiber 3 grams of sugar 418 milligrams of sodium 463 milligrams of potassium 23 grams of fat ( 3 grams of saturated fat 10 grams of monounsaturated fat 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat )
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