Vegan Paleo Smoky Cauliflower Cream Soup
Saturday was a busy day spent exploring some of San Diego's Little Italy gems, including a locally-sourced brunch from the fabulous Queenstown Public House and a leisurely wander through the famous but overpriced Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market with good friends. Hosting a dinner party for some of my favorite vegan girlfriends later that night, I needed to come up with a few dishes that were quick to prepare. Not to mention GAPS Introduction Diet-friendly (even though I cheated on the GAPS Introduction Diet earlier that day eating a few regular potatoes and some hollandaise sauce in the totally worth it lamb hash at brunch). Creating a vegan menu while trying to stick to a grain-free diet centered around animal fat is no easy feat. But opportunities to get creative in the kitchen are always a good thing in my book. And so this Vegan Paleo Smoky Cauliflower Cream Soup Recipe was born. Inspired by the seasonal winter produce at the farmers market, I set out to create a menu that was colorful and warm in flavor. I decided on some simple Organic Kale Chips(I use coconut oil instead of grape seed) alongside sparkling water as a starter, because who doesn't love a little salty crunch to kick off a vegan paleo meal? The main course was a combination of spicy and savory, with this Smoky Cauliflower Cream Soup as the centerpiece, paired with a side of Roasted Winter Vegetables and Grain-Free Coconut Flour Biscuits. I made the Grain-Free Biscuits savory instead of sweet by leaving out the stevia and vanilla and adding in an additional 1/2 tsp of sea salt and 1 Tbsp of finely chopped fresh sage. I used homemade sprouted cashew milk instead of canned coconut milk as well (I'm trying to steer clear of all canned goods that might be leached with BPA). Topped with a locally-made green fig jam, they were the perfect sweet & savory balance to the meal, perhaps even stealing the stage. Blackberries and organic ginger tea with unfiltered, local honey for dessert and we had full bellies and happy spirits.
This Smoky Cauliflower Cream Soup, being vegan, was of course dairy-free, so soaked cashews were the secret ingredient in amping up the richness factor. Roasted garlic and my friend's homemade mole paste brought a whole new depth of smoky flavor to an otherwise simple soup. I must admit that my friend's mole paste is outstanding - made from eight different varieties of peppers, slow roasted in a cast iron skillet and blended with fine extra virgin olive oil. She knows how to make it right. If you don't have the luxury of such a pure mole paste, you can always do a quick substitute by pan roasting an organic sweet red pepper, pealing off the skin, and blending it into the soup. Or for a little extra spice - time permitting - try skillet-frying some dry chipotle peppers in the pastured animal fat of your choice (if not vegan) or coconut oil, then grinding and blending with olive oil into a smooth paste. You've got options! If you're concerned about a night shade sensitivity, you can always leave the peppers out entirely. Just double or triple the roasted garlic - I promise this will still turn out delicious, just a little less "smoky."
Garnish this Smoky Cauliflower Cream Soup with chopped cilantro, a sprinkling of sea salt and a drizzle of raw olive oil. Then sit down with your vegan, Paleo and foodie friends alike and enjoy!
vegan paleo smoky cauliflower cream soup
- YIELD: 6 cups (6 Servings)
- PREP: 20 mins
- COOK: 30 mins
- READY IN: 50 mins
Creamy, smoky and savory, this vegan, dairy-free, Paleo soup is a quick and easy winter main dish or starter
- 1 medium bulb organic garlic
- 1 large head organic cauliflower leaves removed, stems and florets coarsely chopped
- 1 medium organic white onion chopped in 1 inch pieces
- 4 stalks organic celery chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
- 10 sprigs organic cilantro
- 4 cups organic vegetable broth
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/3 cup soaked organic cashews soaked, covered at least 8 hours or overnight, then rinse with filtered water and drain
- 2 Tbsp mole paste can sub roasted red pepper
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the garlic bulb and drizzle lightly with coconut oil. Wrap in foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove roasted cloves from skins and set aside.
- Coarsely chop onions and celery and add to large saucepan with coconut oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until clear and tender.
- Add chopped cauliflower to saucepan and cover with vegetable broth and filtered water. Cover and let simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.
- Blend soup in Vitamix with soaked cashews, roasted garlic and mole paste on high speed for 15-20 seconds or until smooth and creamy.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro, olive oil drizzle and course ground sea salt.