Another totally simple soup that will garner rave reviews - earthy, subtly sweet and satisfying. This soup comes together - out of the Instant Pot - and into the blender with minimum fuss. I really think that even fussy kids will like this.
I get carried away at farmers markets. Seduced by the colors, textures and just plain freshness of the produce. I carry away bags of goodies, and that included heirloom carrots. More than I could use.
Carrot soup is a favorite around my house. But, I wanted to shake it up a bit this time around. I'd seen a recipe for carrot soup with cauliflower on The New York Times Cooking recipe site recently and adapted it for the #WFPB (Whole-food, Plant-based) way of eating, plus added a couple ingredients to amp up the nutritional aspects.
Oh, if you LOVE browsing recipes, you might want to consider subscribing to the NYT cooking site. It's $40 for an annual subscription. You can create your own curated, organized Recipe Box, and I've found the recipes on there to be totally legit ... solid, well crafted and reliably good.
I have favorite contributors, of course. Martha Rose Shulman is my go-to for anything soup. David Tanis has incredible depth and range, and I love his vegetable recipes. His time with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California is apparent. Then, there's Mark Bittman. Food journalist and columnist, opinion columnist, and the lead magazine food writer at the New York Times, I've followed Mark Bittman for at least 20 years, bought several of his cookbooks and watched him evolve as a cook and eater. I'm especially jazzed about The Bittman Project where he explores the connections between food and agriculture, the environment, public health, labor, politics, racism, inequality, justice and more.
I love the deep, earthy sweetness of a carrot. So much so, in fact, that nibbling on the cut-off ends while I cook is pretty typical. I always have plenty of carrots in the fridge, as I use them in so many ways.
Grate them into hot, freshly cooked grains. The grated carrot will 'cook' just enough to release it's flavor while giving the grains a vibrant color and interest. Build on that with chopped fresh herbs! I usually grate a carrot into a salad - but using the Y-shaped peeler to take off long curling strips and add those to a salad rocks. Just roll the strips up and secure with a paperclip or toothpick, dip into ice water for a couple minutes first to set the curl, drain and use.
Of course, you can simple use a Y-Shaped Julienne peeler to make toothpick sized strips of carrot to toss into a fast cucumber salad with a simple Thai/Vietnamese 'dressing' of fresh lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper.
So much for the versatility of the humble carrot. Pair that with cauliflower and you've got magic. You might note that in the recipe, I don't use the entire head of cauliflower. I had to reserve some to steam and toss into some pickle juice with red onions and a clove of garlic. I'll garnish that with thinly sliced green onions.
Let's move on to the process - such as it is with a soup this simple.
I don't toss the cauliflower leaves or the stem. Well, I do cut off and discard just the very end - the part that looks a little dicey. But, having rinsed the whole head off, I figure the rest of fair game - especially since it's all going into the blender anyhow.
Put most of the seasonings right into the Instant Pot - or a regular covered pot. The flavors will infuse and there won't be much more to do on the blender end other than tweak it a bit. I set the Instant Pot for High Pressure and just 4 minutes. You can do a Quick Release, or not. I wasn't busy, so got right to the blender part of the show.
Chuck everything into your blender. Now, if you don't have a Vitamix-type high-speed blender, use a regular one but be prepared to do smaller batches. You can also use a food processor, with the same caution of much smaller batches.
Start the blender on slow and give it a couple minutes to thoroughly emulsify everything. Now's a good time to stop and taste.
Because I like to add nutrition where I can - as long as it doesn't negatively affect flavor, color or texture - I added a heaping spoonful of ground flaxseed (for those Omega 3's) and about a half cup of homemade hummus that I had in the fridge. The flavor profile of the hummus was similar to the soup, so it wasn't going to 'change' anything in that regard. Plus, it adds fiber and protein.
I also added a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a bit more maple syrup and salt. Yup. Just right.
This soup has vibrant, amazing color and is quite thick. If you want thinner, then add a bit more stock in the blender.
The yield is good on this soup - delivering at least six servings, depending on bowl size. I immediately reserved a good portion for the freezer.
This soup can be served cold or hot.
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