Sumac, smoked paprika and dill are the the little extras that amp the flavour in this creamy-textured cauliflower and white bean soup. If you have time, roast the cauliflower for a beautifully nutty, rounded taste. This is a perfect vegan, whole food soup to serve family and friends alike. It even tastes good cold with shards of toasted pitta for dipping.
This past week has been a bit of a social whirl for me and Andrew. Normally ones to be very content in our own
boring quiet company, we have twice been out with friends (to the excellent Kenji for sushi; and to my current fave, New Chapter for seriously top-notch Scottish/European dishes – check the five star Trip Advisor ratings).
We have also had two lots of friends round for dinner. Well, tonight will make twice. I am in the midst of prepping a mini Middle Eastern feast (see below), as well as making food for my cancer and nutrition class.
But before I get immersed in dips, marinades and mandolining (for my pineapple carpaccio) wanted to take time to quickly post this soup while I remember. And before winter completely slips away and we can’t face any more cauliflower! It all feels a bit crazy-busy for this homebody, but exhilarating at the same time. If I start washing the walls and scrubbing the grout work, then I know full-blown spring fever has set in.
I got the inspiration for this soup whilst perusing one of the numerous healthy eating mags I brought back from our Christmas trip to see family in Florida. I have learned over the years to ignore most of the heavy-as-**** cookbooks, and hone in on the plethora of lighter, cheaper, and actually more varied magazines. I can get pretty caught up. My Dad and Andrew pretty much have to issue a time ultimatum, as I tend to lose all sense of time and space, mesmerically flicking through the pages and mentally noting my own ideas on how to make the recipes. I have been known to snap pics of recipes, which is a bit naughty, I know.
Each trip I come back with a hefty stack, spending weeks dipping in and out of their glossy and colourful pages, trying a few recipes, and tweaking to our liking. A stopover in Paris last year had me purchasing some wildly expensive magazines with the most glorious recipes. My French is rather poor but it is amazing what you can pick up in context; I think my culinary French is actually not bad!
Anyway, a cauliflower soup with tahini and Middle Eastern flavours leapt out at me from Clean Eating (ugh, that polarising name), so I made it as written. We weren’t so keen on the tahini and potatoes, so I nixed both and just used neutral-tasting white beans for creaminess and protein. If you want tahini in this, add about 3-4 tablespoons. I also opted to roast the cauliflower for nutty gain. If time and hunger don’t permit this flourish, just simmer them from raw – it’s still pretty fab.
Now it’s back to the kitchen for me, juggling between tasks and probably forgetting something important!
Do you bring back cookbooks and magazines from your travels? Does your partner get slightly annoyed at piles of them laying around, waiting to be recycled??
Creamy Cauliflower, White Bean and Dill Soup
Sumac, smoked paprika and dill are the the little extras that amp the flavour in this creamy-textured cauliflower and white bean soup. If you have time, roast the cauliflower for a beautifully nutty, rounded taste. This is a perfect vegan, whole food soup to serve family and friends alike. It even tastes good cold with shards of toasted pitta for dipping. xx
1 extra large cauliflower, cut into florets and including stems and unbroken attractive leaves – slice some florets thinly to roast for garnish if you wish
3 tbsp olive oil or refined/culinary (safest for cooking) coconut oil
Salt and pepper
1 white/brown onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 rounded tsp ground sumac (Barts brand is easily available)
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp smoked paprika
400g (14 oz) tin/can butter beans, drained and rinsed (or 250g home-cooked beans)
1.5 (6 cups) litres low-salt vegetable stock (I tend to use Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder) – add more more after blending if you want a thinner soup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp (+) chopped fresh dill, saving a few larger fronds for garnish
Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C/350F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Lay over the chopped cauliflower, including stems and leaves, and drizzle with 2 tbsp of the oil. Use your hands to coat the florets. Sprinkle salt and pepper over any smaller garnish florets and leaves. You could mix the oil and cauliflower in a large bowl if you don’t mind more washing up.
Roast in the oven until golden in places – about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat; add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt, and saute until softened – about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add the garlic, sumac, dried dill and smoked paprika, cooking for a further minute, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and burning.
Now add the roasted cauliflower (saving back any for garnish), beans and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer, partially covering with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes, then add the lemon juice and fresh dill.
Pour into a blender (I use my awesome Optimum 9400 Froothie power blender) or use an immersion/stick blender to make a velvety smooth soup. Check the seasoning and thickness, adjusting to your taste. Divide amongst serving bowls and top with salt and pepper cauliflower, dill and a little bit of olive oil.
This soup freezes well, and is even good cold.
Note: this makes a great dip, without the stock.
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