Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rustic Roasted Cauliflower And Parsnip Soup


Roasted Cauliflower And Parsnip Soup 

My family doesn't love cauliflower and parsnip as much as I do but I still try serving it, especially when it's in season. I wasn't sure what their reaction would be when I called them to lunch yesterday afternoon. And after a few spoonfuls, it was unanimous that this is the "only way to make them"!

For roasting:
2 heads of cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 package parsnips, about 4-5 sliced into quarters lengthwise
Extra virgin olive oil to coat
Pepper to taste
Salt, optional

For the soup:
About 6 cups roasted chopped cauliflower, loosely packed
About 1 cup roasted sliced parsnips, cut into quarters and loosely packed
     ~ save remaining vegetables for a side dish to another meal
1 32 oz box low-sodium vegetable stock, or 4-5 cups
2 cups milk (I used 2% lactose-free), or half and half
2 bay leaves
About 1/8 teaspoon ground sage, or about 2 chopped fresh sage leaves
About 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, or to taste
1 teaspoon butter, or preferred spread
Pepper to taste
Salt, optional
Grated Parmesan cheese

Coat vegetables in a little extra virgin olive oil, add pepper, and roast on a baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree for about 20-30 minutes or until fork tender. If they start to burn (time depends on size of vegetables and variations in oven temperatures), remove from oven and they'll soften more in the stock. When done, add all the ingredients listed for the soup into a large stock pot and bring to a boil then simmer about 30-40 minutes or until all the flavors have melded (vegetables should be soft). Taste the flavor to determine how much to season with sage and nutmeg. Remove bay leaves. Blend to desired consistency with an immersion blender; or let cool about 15 minutes then pour into a food processor or blender and process (don't put hot soup into a food processor/blender or it could explode out the cover and start with pulse or low, slowly increasing speed) until desired consistency is achieved. Add more milk if needed. Garnish individual servings with grated Parmesan cheese.

Here's how to make the soup and have some leftover vegetables for another meal:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim and wash 2 large heads of cauliflower and 1 package of parsnips, about 4-5 medium.

Toss coarsely chopped cauliflower and sliced parsnips with a little extra virgin olive oil, pepper to taste, and a little salt if you want but the Parmesan cheese added at the end will provide the salt.

Roast cauliflower and parsnips at 400 degrees about 20-30 minutes until fork tender. If they're burning and not quite tender, don't worry, they'll soften up more in the stock.

In a large stock pot, heat low-sodium vegetable stock, milk or half and half, butter or favorite spread, a few pinches of ground sage up to about 1/8 teaspoon. (Not much as it's a lot stronger than fresh sage. I tasted as I added.), 2 bay leaves, pepper to taste, a few pinches of ground nutmeg up to 1/8 teaspoon (again, taste for flavor and freshly ground is nice), salt to taste is optional. I avoided adding too much flavor with herbs and spices so that we could taste the big flavors of the roasted cauliflower and parsnips. Add a little, taste, add more according to your taste. Remember, the Parmesan cheese will add more flavor and saltiness at the end.

Dairy: I used lactose-free milk just to give myself a break from dairy. I used organic Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread, again to reduce the dairy load.

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until all vegetables are tender and all ingredients have melded nicely. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Blend to desired consistency with an immersion blender if you have one. These blenders are great - there's a lot less to clean up afterwards but if using a regular blender or food processor, wait until the soup cools a little first, about 15 minutes. Then start blending on pulse or low so the soup doesn't explode, gradually increase speed if needed.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese. 

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Below is another favorite gadget of mine. Just place a small piece of cheese into the chamber, turn the handle and grated cheese comes right out. It's fun to put out at the table and everyone can help themselves.

From all the cheese you see in my recipes you wouldn't know that I'm lactose intolerant. Hard cheeses aren't too difficult to digest, but milk, cream, butter, and soft cheeses are.

This rustic soup looks a little chunky but that texture was intended. It's how I like soup. I like picking up a few pieces of the vegetables so I know I'm actually eating vegetables. It can be made creamier by processing it more with the immersion blender, a food processor, or a regular blender.

Save the rest of the roasted vegetables for another meal. Since my family really doesn't like cauliflower or parsnips, other than in the soup I learned, I may be snacking on these myself!

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Variation: This recipe is pretty easy to make and tastes good this way but a roughly chopped small onion or shallot could also be roasted along with the cauliflower and parsnips if desired.

Serves: about 6 to 8, depending on appetites. 

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Update: This post was on The #meatlessmonday Daily ,10/5/11!


  1. Mmmm, Linda this looks amazing! Such lovely photos and your dishes are beautiful. I made a roasted garlic, fennel & potato soup 2 days ago - I'll have to share that soon. SO good. The roasting process just can't be beat for bringing out loads of flavor without any added salt. Love it!

  2. Hi Christy, Thanks! Yes, that's so true about roasting veggies. Thanks for adding that tip to the conversation! I roast vegetables all the time because of those big flavors. And it's so easy. Thanks for the compliment on the dishes too - I buy mix and match pieces at discount stores now and then.

  3. Wow- The kids didn't have any problem cleaning those plates! The aromatics of this soup saturate your post. I'm smelling autumn in the air, and it's wonderful! ;)