This has been the coldest winter I’ve ever spent in Portland. When it hasn’t been snowing it’s been raining continuously, and there are days when I just want to crawl back into bed with a cup of tea and hide from the world. I’ve also been down with a cold, so I’m feeling very sorry for myself. Food has the ability to affect my moods, good and bad and I’ve spent most of my life trying to have a healthier attitude towards eating. Some days the demons win and I want to indulge and soothe what ails me with something delicious.
There is something so comforting about a bowl of soup, usually humble in its ingredients and so much more than a sum of its parts. I could live on soup, and if I’m honest rich, creamy milk based soups are my favorite. However, since we are eating dairy-free, I needed to find a replacement for heavy cream.
This roasted cauliflower miso soup has two simple ingredients as its base, cauliflower, and shallots. I roast them until they are tender and caramelized and then add a bit of miso paste, sherry vinegar, and almond milk. Pureed cauliflower adds that rich, velvety creaminess that I wanted without the milk and a fraction of the calories. I reserved a bit of the roasted cauliflower and fried up some walnuts in olive oil and fresh thyme to garnish and give some texture to the dish.
This soup will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days so pop it into a thermos for a light lunch. If you eat dairy, I would suggest toasting some hazelnuts in brown butter or ghee as an alternative topping. This also makes an amazing pasta sauce If you cut back on the amount of stock you add and add a pound of pasta.
- 1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds) cut into florets
- 2 shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
- 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red miso
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Bragg's liquid aminos or soy sauce
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- For the garnish:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup walnuts
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the cauliflower, shallots, and thyme on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toss the vegetables with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with the salt and pepper
- Roast, occasionally stirring for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to brown and the shallots have softened.
- Reserve a cup of the cauliflower for garnish and place the rest in a high-speed blender along with the miso, sherry vinegar, liquid aminos, almond milk and a cup of the vegetable stock. Blend on high adding more stock to thin until the mixture is smooth. My blender has a fairly small capacity so I add the rest of the liquid on the stove. Transfer to a large pot and add the rest of the stock cook just until heated through.
- In a small saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the walnuts and thyme leaves along with a pinch of salt and cook until fragrant and the oil starts to sizzle. Top the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and a spoonful of the toasted walnuts