Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper Soup

I’ve been on a cauliflower binge lately, and I’m enjoying the ride. I have had so many delicious dishes of cauliflower lately- at some of my favorite restaurants as well as at home. Charred with romesco sauce and golden raisins at Republic, grilled with almonds, pickled strawberries and tarragon at Rock City, and  roasted whole with a unique pesto at 27 Restaurant in Miami. These have been just a few that still have a happy place in my culinary memories.

I really feel this humble vegetable packs some seriously amazing flavor, especially when roasted. Its savory and almost meaty flavor makes it perfect for a vegetarian or vegan main course. Here, the cauliflower is roasted and blended together with roasted red pepper and they are tasty bedfellows indeed. The roasted onion and garlic together with the miso add more layers of flavor and the cashews add their mysterious magic to make this soup extra creamy with no actual cream in sight. I strongly recommend the splash of sherry vinegar at the end. You can eat this soup on it’s own, and it doesn’t need any outside help, but it is also delicious served with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. I love a grilled cheese with prosciutto or Serrano ham, Havarti, muenster and perhaps swiss, with basil, a slice of heirloom tomato, and a drizzle of honey ala Oprah style.

slightly adapted from: Love & Lemons
serves: 4

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small yellow onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked 3 to 4 hours or overnight. (Not absolutely necessary if you have a Vitamix)
3 tablespoons white miso paste
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch of cayenne pepper
3 roasted red bell peppers, fresh or from a jar
sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar to finish

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Line 1 large baking sheet or 2 regular baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill one sheet (or half of the large one) with cauliflower florets and the other with the sliced onion and garlic cloves. Drizzle both with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

Roast 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown (the cauliflower should be nicely browned and spotty). Check after 20 minutes, as the onion will likely roast faster than the cauliflower, if so remove the onion and garlic and set aside, and let the cauliflower continue roasting. Reserve a few of the roasted florets for garnish.

Drain and rinse the cashews and place them in a high-speed blender. Peel the roasted garlic cloves and add them to the blender with the cauliflower, onion, miso paste, fresh water, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and roasted red bell peppers. Blend until creamy.  Put the blended soup in a pot and heat to desired temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For extra brightness, add a splash of sherry vinegar.

Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and the reserved roasted cauliflower.

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