12/15/2014

roasted cauliflower soup with crispy chickpeas

Yum

For those of you who don't know, I have been lusting after a Vitamix blender for quite some time now. I am of the opinion that if you truly give a damn about being in the kitchen (or, if you're like me and you just love it), one of these powerhouse blenders can be a crucial tool. I just recently wondered out loud what was more essential, the Vitamix or a Kitchenaid stand mixer. We are still mulling it over, but cute Colin asserted that unless you were a big baker (present), a Kitchenaid as is doesn't really offer you much. I think I will have to square off and say that they both have changed my life in beautiful and different ways.

Oh, that's right, because I am now the proud OWNER of one of these magical tools thanks to the kind generosity of my brother-in-law, Judd (check out his design work here). He won one of these babies through a work raffle (I know, right?) and handed it over, no questions or payments crossed. I am truly grateful, brother: thank you!


Among other avenues that this magical machine has opened for me, among them is the road to velvety-smooth soups. It's always one of my favorite things to order at some of our go-to vegan restaurants, mainly because it has always been a texture I've never been able to replicate at home. (My immersion blender, while trusty, could never quite do the trick.)

Oh, but how times have changed. Now I can pull together my desired ingredients and with the single flick of a button, all things are transformed: into a creamy (though completely creamless) roasted cauliflower soup with crispy chickpeas and ricotta toast. Okay, the ricotta part is the real cheese deal, because sometimes you have to.


For this recipe, you will need:

1/2 medium cauliflower head, cut into florets
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
4 cups of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon lemon juice, divided
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange your cauliflower in single layer on a baking sheet, drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Toss together to evenly coat and transfer to the oven for 30-40 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside. Once the cauliflower is out, on a new tray arrange your chickpeas in a single layer, tossing together with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until crisp.


Meanwhile, you can get the rest of your ingredients going on the stovetop. In a large stockpot over medium heat, add about 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add your celery, carrot, onion and smashed garlic to the heat and stir together until fragrant and softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking for another minute or two or until the vegetables start to stick a bit without burning.


Add your vegetable stock and cauliflower and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and allow to simmer while your chickpeas finish roasting. Remove from heat and allow to stand for about five minutes. Transfer in batches to the beautiful blender in your life. While the machine is perfectly equipped to handle warm or hot liquids, an added safety measure is tossing a dishtowel over the secured lid to catch any unexpected splatter.

Serve in wide soup bowls, topping with a few crispy chickpeas, a drizzle of your remaining 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (it adds just a hint of brightness to this naturally rich soup) and alongside a crusty piece of bread smeared with ricotta and drizzled with honey: talk to me.

Looking for some other great ways to use cauliflower?