Kick off 2014 with hearty, healthy soup
January 21, 2014
By Maria Nelson
Eating lighter/healthier is for me not so much a New Year’s resolution but rather one that I attempt to view as an ongoing daily one. I often fail in this attempt, but its appeal is ever present and I love the way I feel when I eat wholly and healthfully. More vegetables, more healthy fats and more whole grain are really the focus of our efforts around here these days and soup is, in my opinion, the perfect vehicle for their consumption.
Without doubt, soup is one of those meals that is economical, healthy and filling, and fits the bill for all sorts of occasions. Bowls of chili, matzo ball soup and hearty minestrone often grace our weeknight dinner table.
When more elegant occasions arise, we often choose soups with light pureed vegetables, lentils, peas and aromatics. Both varieties are ultimately filling, ultimately satisfying and made naturally, and are waistline friendly. Served with salads or whole grain breads, soups are a perfect meal and can easily be stretched to serve a crowd or made to serve as an extra weeknight dinner.
While not huge steamed cauliflower fans, my family does love this creamy low-fat soup. Oven roasting imparts a nutty, caramelized flavor and the addition of baby broccoli (you can substitute broccoli florets if you wish) as a garnish ups the vegetable count. I love the addition of hazelnuts and garlic oil, but if you are really concerned about reducing fats, feel free to omit them.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
-1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
-1 large sweet onion, chopped
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-4 cups chicken stock
-1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
-Salt and pepper to taste
-1 bunch broccolini
-Red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the cauliflower and onion on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring half way through, until golden and beginning to caramelize.
Place the cauliflower and onions in a stock pot and cover with the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the evaporated milk and season additionally with more salt and pepper. Puree the soup in a blender in batches or use an immersion blender in the stock pot, until the soup is creamy and smooth. Keep soup warm and set aside.
In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, steam the broccolini in a small amount of water. Steam until just fork tender, no longer than 3-5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls. Cut the broccolini into bite-sized pieces and place on top of soup as a garnish along with red pepper flakes, chopped hazelnuts and a drizzle of oil.
Maria Nelson is a blogger and food photographer living in Issaquah. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Relish Magazine, Buzz Feed, Daily Candy and other online publications. Find her at www.pinkpatisserie.blogspot.com.