Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup

vegan indian vegetable soup

Almost every year, I succumb to a moment of temporary insanity on December 31st.  I make all sorts of crazy resolutions for the next year. And in the first few weeks of January, those New Year’s resolutions generally hold firm.  I go to the gym, forgo the ice cream, munch on raw broccoli and drag my butt to Pilates class.  But by the third week of the new year, all my good intentions have been waylaid by stressful late nights at the office, snowy winter mornings, movie theatre popcorn with extra butter, and cozy cuddling on the couch.

Let’s be honest.  Am I really going to keep my vow to make it to the gym every single day? Nope. Not likely. And give up ice cream?  Why did I ever want to give up ice cream?  Seriously… what was I thinking?

So I’m trying to bring a little bit of balance to my January.  Healthy, wonderful, delicious food – like this soup.  And a bit of ice cream every now and then too.

This soup is amazingly fragrant, easy to make, and perfect for a cold night.  It actually gets even better the next day, so makes for tasty leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. I’m not usually an advocate of frozen veggies, but in the case of soup, I’ve found that frozen is usually as good as fresh.  So feel free to use a bag of frozen cauliflower in place of the fresh in this recipe.

I really like good, grainy croutons on top of this soup, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.  But a handful of toasted sunflower seeds would be lovely too. And adding a sprinkle of finely chopped hard-boiled egg or a big dollop of Greek yogurt would make this soup into a hearty meal (but would, of course, make the dish no longer vegan). Basically, anything goes. Use your imagination, and enjoy!

vegan curried cauliflower soup

Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

For the soup:

1 pound fresh cauliflower (about 1 head) chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the toppings:

4 slices whole grain bread, cut in cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or any other fresh herbs you have in the fridge)

Steam the cauliflower until very tender.  Meanwhile, in a large pot, saute the onion in oil over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the ginger, garlic and spices and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and broth to the pot.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.  Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor.  I like it to retain a bit  of texture, but you can puree until completely smooth if you prefer. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the almond milk.  Heat until fully warmed through.

Meanwhile, toss the bread cubes with oil, salt and pepper.  Toast under the broiler until golden brown.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and top with croutons and cilantro.

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Published in: on January 21, 2013 at 7:27 pm  Comments (9)  
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Quinoa Banana Breakfast Porridge

hot breakfast cereal with quinoa and banana

I love fall for many reasons; bright orange leaves, crisp breezy weather, big Halloween pumpkins, and the amazing apple fritters sold at the cider mill down the road. Drool.  I have to limit myself to only a half-dozen per season or who knows what might happen.

This morning I remembered another (healthier) reason that I love fall – porridge.  Just the word porridge makes me feel all warm and cozy!  It conjures images of a roaring fires and fuzzy socks.  I rarely eat hot cereal in the summer months, but come fall, I start to crave a comforting bowl of chewy, nutty goodness. And quinoa makes for an extra nutty porridge, not to mention an extra nutritious breakfast.  Chock full of vitamins and protein, this is the real breakfast of champions.

If you haven’t jumped on the quinoa bandwagon yet, breakfast is a good time to do so.  The quinoa makes for a great texture here.  With oatmeal, grits and rice pudding I often feel the need for a bit of crunch, a few nuts or a sprinkle of granola.  But the quinoa provides such an interesting mouthfeel and so much robust flavor, that I find nuts unnecessary. Even so, some toasted almonds would be lovely sprinkled on top.  So would flaked coconut.  I went for a bit of extra sweetness with the chopped dates, but the possibilities are endless. And if two bananas for two servings sounds like a lot, well, it is.  But trust me.  Sweet silky bananas and fluffy, chewy quinoa are an alluring combination. 

hot breakfast cereal ingrediants

Quinoa Banana Breakfast Porridge

Serves 2

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

pinch of cardamom

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 medium ripe bananas, chopped

1/4 cup chopped dried dates (optional)

In a small saucepan, bring the water and almond milk to a simmer.  Stir in the rinsed quinoa and the spices and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring every so often, for about 15 minutes.  Add in the chopped bananas and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the bananas chunks begin to break down.  Spoon into two bowls and top with the dates, if desired.  Serve hot.

Published in: on October 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm  Comments (12)  
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