This vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free cauliflower soup from Tess Masters’ cookbook The Blender Girl (Ten Speed Press) gets its luscious, creamy texture from soaked nuts. Masters is a big fan of soaking nuts, seeds, dried fruits and grains to improve the texture (for nuts, seeds and dried fruit) and reduce cooking time (for grains). Soaking the nuts is also easier on your blender and ensures they break down to a creamy consistency. Masters uses a high-powered Vitamix blender, which pulverizes the soup to a silky-smooth consistency. If you’re using a less high-powered blender or food processor and want a perfectly smooth texture, strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve after blending. You can also take a cue from Masters and stir a protein-rich cooked grain, such as quinoa or millet, into the finished soup to give it extra nutritional punch. However you garnish it, this cauliflower soup is even tastier the next day. (Want your own copy of The Blender Girl? We’re giving away one copy to one lucky reader. Click here to enter.)
Although this soup looks like it takes a long time, most of that is soaking time for the nuts, which give it a lovely creamy texture.
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews OR blanched, slivered almonds
- Sea salt, to taste
- Dash of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped leek (white parts only, about 3 leeks)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 7 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives OR a grating of nutmeg (one or the other, not both)
Place the nuts, a pinch of salt and a dash of lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cover with 1/2 cup warm water. Cover with a thin dish towel and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, leek, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the cauliflower, and cook 1 minute. Add the broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until the the cauliflower is completely tender, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, and allow the soup to cool slightly. Drain the nuts, discarding the soaking liquid. Add the nuts to the soup.
Pour the soup into a blender or food processor (depending on the size of your appliance, you may need to do this in batches). Remove the plastic cap and cover the opening with a kitchen towel. Puree on high for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
Return the soup to the saucepan and warm it over low heat. Add salt to taste.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with either chives or grated nutmeg.
Adapted from The Blender Girl by Tess Masters (Ten Speed Press).