This roasted garlic cauliflower soup is nutty and slightly sweet, with hints of bright flavor from the thyme and olive oil. Naturally gluten-free, it’s also friendly for vegetarian, paleo, and whole 30 diets. This soup freezes well for an fast and easy weeknight meal or lunch.
Today marks the start of a three or so day stretch of solid rain along the east coast. Couple that with the head cold I’ve been fighting for over a week and all I want to do is crawl into bed and get cozy with my Netflix queue. If April showers bring May flowers, surely May showers bring grumbles and malcontent. Alas, there are tiny humans that need mothering and laundry that needs folding, so I suppose I’ll get dressed in real clothes and join the functioning world. Meanwhile, I’ll cope with the general dreariness by tucking into a steaming bowl of soup. More specifically, this roasted garlic cauliflower soup.
The cauliflower crop has been on point this season. There are gorgeous heads of cruciferous deliciousness everywhere I turn and it does not disappoint roasted and blended into a creamy soup. I added a head of roasted garlic to the cauliflower because reasons. Delicious, savory, sweet, yummy reasons.
I have been obsessively reading my most coveted Christmas gift, J. Kenji López-Alt’s The Food Lab. He dedicates a section to making creamy vegetables soups sans cream, and this roasted garlic cauliflower soup is based on his methodology. And it’s perfection. I now want to make all of the vegetable soups, so prepare yourselves.
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup Recipe Notes
This recipe takes a little bit of time, but most of it is hands off. The cauliflower and garlic take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to reach roasted perfection, but it’s worth the wait. While those guys are roasting, you’ll spend a few minutes chopping up an onion, and another 20 or so minutes sweating that sucker in some butter or ghee. After that, it’s just a matter of tossing all of the ingredients together, simmering for 20 minutes and blending it all to creamy perfection. Nice and easy.
I served this on its own for dinner with some heels of crusty bread slathered in butter and a simple tossed green salad and it was super filling. Leftovers keep in the fridge for about a week, but it freezes exceptionally well. So go ahead and make a double batch and save half for a quick and easy dinner down the road. One of my favorite ways to freeze soup is into individual containers. I can pull one or two out of the freezer in the evening and transfer to the fridge for a delicious, home-made lunch with zero fuss the next day.
This roasted garlic cauliflower soup is friendly to nearly all of the diets. It’s already grain-free and gluten-free, and contains limited dairy in the form of my best friend butter.
Make it Paleo or Whole30: substitute ghee for butter
Make it Vegetarian: substitute vegetable broth for chicken stock
Garnishing soup is the secret to taking it from delicious to perfection. It ain’t just for show. The garnishes add little bursts of flavor that will have you literally licking your spoon. Toasted pine nuts enhance the overall nuttiness of the roasted cauliflower. Meanwhile, fresh thyme adds brightness, and the olive oil lends a subtle fruitiness that plays off the sweet notes of the roasted garlic. Garnish is my friend and it should be yours too.
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup with Pine Nuts
- 2 tbsp olive or avocado oil divided
- 1 head cauliflower chopped into small florets
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tbsp butter or ghee
- 1 large vidalia onion diced to 1/2"
- 1 large yukon gold potato peeled and diced
- 4 c. chicken stock
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 4 tbsp butter or ghee melted
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil for garnish
- 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts for garnish
- fresh thyme leaves for garnish
Preheat the onion to 400. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil and spread on the baking sheet. Slice off the top of the head of garlic and rub another 1 tbsp of oil into the exposed garlic cloves. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and add it to the baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower and garlic until the cauliflower is golden brown and tender and the garlic is soft and squeezable. This will take anywhere from 40-60 minutes. The cauliflower may finish roasting before the garlic, so check it every 10 minutes after the 40-minute mark.
Halfway through the roasting process, start the onions. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter or ghee and heat until it melts. Add the onions to the pot, stir to coat in the fat, and then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. If the onions finish before the cauliflower and garlic, turn the heat down to low and keep covered, stirring occasionally.
Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot, reserving about 1/2 cup of the tiniest florets for garnish. Allow the garlic to cool for a few moments, then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the papery shells and add to the pot. Add the diced potato and enough broth to just barely cover the vegetables (I used about 4 cups). Give everything a quick stir and then toss in a sprig of thyme.
Increase the heat to medium-high, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the pine nuts to the pan and toast, stirring continuously, until the pine nuts are lightly golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the potatoes are soft, remove the thyme sprig. Add the melted butter or ghee to the soup and then blend the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. If the soup is too thick, add a bit of extra stock or water, 2 tbsp at a time. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with olive oil, cauliflower florets, pine nuts, and fresh thyme leaves.