Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan, Toasted Almonds and Golden Raisins
Every year around this time, I tend to go a little batshit. Winter madness, if you will.
The combo of darkness, cold, and life as a mild shut-in from December through February takes a nasty toll on my rational capabilities, and I inevitably decide that I need to overhaul some (or most) aspects of my life. All of a sudden, I’m overpowered by a desire to SHAKE THINGS UP, dammit.
Occasionally, winter madness leads to good things. Like starting this blog. Or choosing to commit myself a total stranger named Logan who lived 4,000 miles away after a single date. Mostly though, it prompts some seriously questionable ideas and actions.
For example, there was a time circa January 2012 that I strongly considered living on a remote mesa outside Telluride with my roommate. Last year, I cut all my hair off. (Notice that I failed to mention that until now. It wasn’t disastrous, but it wasn’t great.) I once went blonde for less than 10 minutes my senior year of high school. Unsurprisingly, my multiple attempts to pull off “whispy bangs,” and the oft-referenced Winona pixie-cut were also late winter decisions…
Clearly, winter madness dates back to my ‘tween years and should be feared for its hair casualties alone. (As of today, Kim Kardashian also appears to be a victim. The struggle is real.)
The crazy has reared its ugly head many times over the past few weeks, but I’m trying my best to thwart it. I feel the need to thank my group text and gchat stable, who’ve been instrumental in this fight and have (so far) kept me from moving across the country, dropping an inappropriate amount of cash on a sous vide machine that I’d never use, getting a bob (again), and going Angelina Jolie dark or Jessica Chastain red. I know it hasn’t been easy, but this brunette New Yorker is grateful for your support. And her hair.
Anyhoo, spring is only two short weeks out, and I’d really like to make it there without any major winter madness-induced regrets. In order to reach that goal, I’m scratching my itch for change by revamping some of the standard recipes in my repertoire. As you can see from this Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan, Toasted Almonds and Golden Raisins, it’s going well. (Thank God.)
This soup is the best cauliflower creation I’ve had in a while, peeps, which is saying a lot given my borderline fetishistic affinity for the vegetable. It’s creamy (sans actual cream) and comforting with a surprising amount of depth. The soup itself is bomb—the earthiness of roasted cauliflower is perfectly complemented by Parmesan’s savory tang—but it’s the toppings that elevate each bowl to otherworldly levels of dankness. Plump golden raisins, crunchy almonds and plenty of bright, fresh parsley ensure a gloriously textured and well-rounded bite that will most likely bowl your mind. (Let me blow ya mind.)
Plus, the recipe involves only a handful of ingredients, is virtually impossible to screw up, and happens to look quite sexy for soup. Get some.
In other important news, Roasted Cauliflower Soup absolutely crushes on the nutrition front. Packed with fiber, antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals (B vitamins! Vitamin C! Choline!), it will keep you satisfied and energized, while improving digestion, promoting heart and brain health, and fighting inflammation. Sweet. It’s also naturally gluten-free, and it can easily be made both vegan and paleo by omitting the cheese. Soup for everyone!
For the record, I plan to make this magical soup on the reg over the coming months. Its warm coziness is perfect for the current Arctic conditions, yet it’s still light enough to serve as a spring meal or appetizer. So you should probably make a double batch ASAP and freeze leftovers for impromptu fancy lunches/dinners. Yes?
Happy snowy Thursday, friends. Keep calm and carry on.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan, Toasted Almonds and Golden Raisins: (Serves 4)
1 large head cauliflower, florets removed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Fresh ground pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (Yes, you can use chicken stock if you like.)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes
Preparing your Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan, Toasted Almonds and Golden Raisins:
-Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment (this will make cleaning easier—get on board).
-Arrange the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss to coat.
-Roast your cauliflower for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time, until tender and browned.
-Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes until the onions become translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the wine and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring regularly, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
-Add the roasted cauliflower to the Dutch over, along with the bay leaf and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
-Puree your soup with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender/food processor) until it’s silky smooth. (If using a blender, please remove the round plastic piece from the lid and then hold a dish towel over the gap. This will lets some steam escape and prevent possible hot soup explosions!) Stir in the grated Parmesan. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper until your soup reaches perfection.
-Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil (if you like), toasted almonds, raisins, parsley and red pepper flakes. Go ahead and grate some more Parmesan on top if you’re feeling crazy.
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