Roasted Cauliflower and Almond Soup is an easy, no-fuss “cream of” kind of soup. And it just happens to be whole food and vegan.
As an additional selling feature I find that roasting the cauliflower brings out its natural sweetness and tones down the heavier – and to some off-putting – brassica notes.
Am I enticing you yet?
How we make this roasted cauliflower and almond soup so creamy
You may be wondering if I am using coconut milk, or another plant milk concoction, to achieve a creamy texture. Or even beans. You can add these, but this isn’t the secret.
The secret is the almonds. Blended nuts and seeds are my favourite way to not only give a protein boost, but get that all-important creamy mouthfeel. Always using unsalted and home-roasted nuts, these are the almost perfect way to add body and silken texture to smooth vegan soups. If you’ve not tried this little trick, you really must. It works superbly for almost any soup you can think of.
I first tried blending roasted nuts in soup with this 2013 Creamy Broccoli and Basil Soup. In this recipe I instruct you to soak the nuts first and blend on their own. But now that I have a (affiliate link) decent blender, I do everything together. So, nuts + good blender = creamy soup.
So what’s in this roasted cauliflower and almond soup?
1 fat head of cauliflower – stems, florets and leaves – tossed in olive oil and roasted until golden and soft
Onion – roasted with the cauliflower
Whole raw almonds – roasted alongside the cauliflower and onion, but on a separate tray because they only take 8 minutes to get toasty and yummy.
Nutritional yeast – optional, for a cheesy flavour if you wish (I like it without)
…essentially that is it! I also garnish the soup with fried slices of garlic, lemon thyme leaves and bits off the cauliflower and almond trays, but no need to do this. A swirl of yogurt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is nearly as good.
Tweaks and Subs
Skip the cauliflower roasting step if you are pressed for time, but it really really makes the flavour gorgeously rich. Roasting somehow tees up the umami element of cauliflower. If you don’t roast the cauli, consider steaming it then dropping it into the hot broth just before blending. This also makes it nicely creamy, and keeps more of the nutrients intact.
Instead of the nuts – I’m thinking of allergies here – why not use white beans? They are great for creaminess. My Cauliflower, White Bean and Dill Soup is a Food To Glow favourite.
Sunflower seeds are cheaper than almonds and taste fantastic once roasted. (Raw ones are kind of meh.) I always roast more than I need for any given recipe just so I can snack on them.
Smoke it. Add a small dash of smoked paprika – start with a quarter teaspoon and see how that is for you.
Spice it. North African spices go very well with this simple recipe. Add a tablespoon of harissa paste and half teaspoon each of ground cumin, cinnamon and coriander. Garnish with fried or toasted flaked almonds and slivers of preserved lemon.
Accompaniments. As for what to have with it carb-wise, try my Scandinavian Multiseed Crispbreads, Crispy Fennel Seed Crackers, Olive Oil and Rosemary Crispy Flatbreads, or my Five-Seed No-Knead Bread. These are all older recipes, but ones I still make and share with my classes. Well-dodgy photos though!
Cauliflower is ridiculously nutritious, the unique taste signalling the nutritional powers within. In its raw state it is nutty tasting and slightly bittersweet, with a low odour. Over-boiled “school dinner-style” cauliflower, however, is quite another thing: it’s really quite stinky. This is one reason why some people don’t like it, and won’t even try it. In addition to vitamins and minerals cauliflower, in common with other brassica vegetables, contains a plethora of disease-preventing phytochemicals.
A serving of cauli is 80 grams, but a bit more is better (see below). Steaming or roasting keep most of the nutrients intact, with stir frying being the best way to get the most nutrients. We have cauliflower in one way or another about three times a week. Yep, a bit of a fan.
At-a-glance nutrition, per 100 grams (about 1 cup)
77% of Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C
20% RDI of Vitamin K
14% RDI of folate
11% RDI of Vitamin B6
11% RDI of choline
9% RDI of potassium
8% RDI of dietary fiber
and gives 25 calories per 100g (raw or steamed)
Is it cosy and autumnal where you are? Or is it still shorts and flip flop weather? Let me know below if this is the kind of soup you are craving right now, and how you might top it and serve it. If you make it, please consider rating this recipe in the recipe card below. I would really appreciate it, and any shares too! Thanks so much. 🙂
Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Almond Soup
Oven-burnished cauliflower and almonds blitzed to creamy, soupy goodness in this easy winter recipe. Use the whole cauliflower - leaves and sweet stems - for no-waste and even more nutrients.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium whole cauliflower cut into pieces, including stems and leaves
- 100 g whole raw almonds skin on preferred
- 1 onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 3 bay leaves or up to 5
- 1/2 rounded tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 litre vegetable stock or broth
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard more to taste
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast optional; more to taste
- Fried garlic
- Lemon thyme leaves and flowers
- Bits of roasted cauliflower and almonds
- Extra virgin olive oil or smoked oil
Preheat your oven to 180 C fan/200 C/400 F. Line a large baking tray with foil (I like to crumple it a bit first to ensure that air circulates around the vegetables) if you like. You will be oiling the cauliflower and onions so this step might not be necessary, depending on your baking tray.
Toss the cauliflower pieces and chopped onion in all but one teaspoon of the oil and lay in an even layer on your baking tray(s). Pop it in the oven to roast for 25 minutes. Sprinkle over some salt if you wish. At the same time, put the almonds on another tray and roast them for eight minutes in the lowest/coolest part of your oven. Save back a few toasted almonds to cut up for garnish.
When the cauliflower and onions are halfway through their roasting, heat the remaining oil in a large, lidded saucepan over a low-medium flame. Add the garlic and sauté for two minutes or so before adding the roasted almonds, bay leaves, nutmeg, white pepper and vegetable stock; bring to a fast simmer. Add the cauliflower, saving back some small bits for garnish.
Turn the soup down to simmer and place the lid on the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat. Stir in the Dijon mustard and nutritional yeast, if using. Remove the bay leaves before the next step.
Use an immersion blender (hand-held) to blitz the soup. Or, transfer in batches to a food processor or blender to blend until creamy-smooth. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed. Sometimes I whisk in a couple of teaspoons of white miso for a sweet-savoury pop; or squeeze in some lemon. It all depends on my mood.
Serve warm rather than hot with the suggested garnishes of fried garlic, bits of cauliflower and nuts and some lemon thyme. Or drizzle with a swirl of cream or yogurt.
Thinly slice 3 mashed and peeled cloves of garlic and add to a small pan of medium-hot olive oil - enough to just cover the garlic. Fry for up to 20 seconds and immediately scoop out with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper. The garlic should be golden brown but not burned. Burned garlic is pretty bitter.
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