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Confession (I know, another confession)…cauliflower and I aren’t friends.
It’s not that we haven’t tried to get along and foster a “friendship.” Really, we have. But every attempt to get along and foster a foodie friendship results in complete disaster. DISASTER.
After years of trying to make this friendship thing work, I gave up. I’m sure you’ve been there. The friendship you want so badly to happen, but after trying over and over you decide to just walk away with the conclusion that Saturday night hang-outs aren’t in your future. That’s where I was, friend. Cauliflower and I gave up. Called it quits. At least I thought we called it quits.
A couple of months ago, my grandmother called me to rave about a new organic delivery service. Organic. Delivery. I was all ears (and lots of stomach). I decided to sign-up for the weekly delivery of produce and have been receiving a box on my doorstep for almost two months. To say that I’m in love is an understatement. I still shop at the local health food store, co-op, and visit the market, but the suspense of a box arriving at my door full of mystery produce makes my Thursdays full of excitement (because life with two young kids isn’t already exciting and full of suspense…cough cough).
The suspense of not knowing what will be in my box each week has stretched my culinary skills and fostered a love for produce I would never pick up at the store or market. Motivation at its finest.
Side note: Piper claims he desperately needs a toy delivery service. Smart kid.
Can you see where I’m headed with this?
Yep, two weeks ago, on an early Thursday morning, I eagerly opened my new box and pulled out each piece of fresh produce. Lacinato Kale, pears, lettuce, persimmons, tomatoes, corn. Oh the week was looking good. Then I saw it. At the bottom of the box, secretly waiting to be discovered, sat a huge head of white cauliflower. I sighed a deep breath of disappointment. “We’ve tried this before. It just isn’t going to work out between us.”
That head of cauliflower sat for a week in my fridge, lonely waiting for its chance to make things right and try this thing called “friendship” again. Finally, last Saturday, in a desperate attempt to use up the last of the food in the fridge and stay true to my meal plan (soup night), I pulled out the cauliflower. We stared at each other (is this whole cauliflower friendship getting a little too creepy?). The plan was to simply roast the head (it’s a vegetable remember, nothing disturbing here) and toss the florets in a pot of soup, disguising the flavor I so detest.
The plan went all so right. I’m pretty sure any plan that involves bacon (everything is right with bacon), homemade broth, milk, and cheese is destined to be right. Always.
The final result ,with a little help from my trusty latte-making immersion blender, was a creamy roasted cauliflower soup. A hearty soup packed full of flavor thanks to pastured bacon, cheese, homemade broth, and veggies (including my new friend, cauliflower). Cauliflower and I made up that night, in a delicious reunion. I apologized for my hard feelings and vowed to never again speak ill of a veggie again.
So here’s the moral of my little story. Even if you think a veggie isn’t your “friend,” don’t give up. Try that veggie multiple ways…roast it, butter it, herb it, bacon it… you get the point. Just because you don’t care for the taste of a veggie when it’s steamed, doesn’t mean you won’t love it when roasted or made into chips. Just keep trying. After all, beautiful friendships that last always take work, but the results are always worth the extra effort.
Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- 1 head cauliflower chopped
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 4 TB butter
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 medium red potato
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 tsp salt to taste
- 4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese any cheddar will work; I prefer sharp cheddar in this soup
- 1/4 cup bacon pieces or green onions and fresh thyme for optional toppings
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Cut the head of cauliflower into chunks (florets) and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast the cauliflower until the tops begin to brown (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a large dutch oven (like this) or soup pot, melt the butter. Once melted, add the chopped bacon. Cook the bacon for 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots, onions, and celery to the bacon. Saute until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the potato, garlic, whole thyme sprigs, salt, and bay leaf. Cook for one minute, stirring the veggies, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the roasted cauliflower florets. Then add the broth and milk. Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a lively simmer.
Simmer the soup for 30 minutes until the potato and veggies are soft.
After 30 minutes, turn off the heat. Fish out the thyme stems. Using an immersion blender (like this) blend the soup to a creamy texture. The soup will still be hot. Add the two cups of shredded cheddar cheese and whisk until melted.
Serve the soup warm with bacon, sliced green onions, and thyme leaves (optional).
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