Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Cumin-Spiked Chickpeas

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I have a bit of a love affair with cauliflower. It’s quite a wonderful specimen in so many countless ways: it’s versatile, adds body and depth, and can be consumed raw, roasted, sauteed, or riced in a food processor. It’s perfect in curry (here is one of my favorites), roasted and tossed with pasta (this one is excellent), roasted underneath a bed of bone-in chicken pieces, embedded in Yotam Ottolenghi’s amazing Cauliflower Cake, or pureed as a substitute for mashed potatoes. While I think I’ve had cauliflower at least three times this week, this particular recipe has to be one of my favorites. 

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Cauliflower. Chickpeas. Cumin. This soup is out of this world – creamy, flavorful and filling. The perfect dish to impress guests on a chilly winter day. Pair it with a chunk of good bread, perhaps a slice of rosemary loaf from Macrina. The soup itself is inspired from a post by Not Without Salt on Instagram earlier this month. I originally prepared a tray of gluten-free croutons to top the first batch. The chickpeas were a later addition that pair nicely with the soup and add a whole other level of flavor and crunch.

My husband and I enjoyed this particular soup over the weekend with my parents. It was a spur of the moment get-together. We wanted a meal that was fairly light (my parents were coming from a wedding buffet earlier that afternoon) yet exciting and out-of-the-ordinary as we were celebrating the holidays. It was easily prepared ahead of time and warmed up when ready to feast. My parents contributed a sampling of hors d’oeuvres including smoked salmon, rice crackers, and Trader Joe’s truffle cheese (a must try). I baked a loaf of gluten-free bread and sliced up a purchased baguette for the others. We sat down to a comforting meal with a glass of wine and the glow of the white lights dotting the Christmas tree in the background. The moment my mother took a taste of this soup – I knew it was worthy of sharing. Make it soon. You won’t regret it.

pic3Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Cumin-Spiked Chickpeas
Serves 4

Ingredients
Soup
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 yellow onion, chopped into quarters
2-3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper
a couple tablespoons of broth (optional)

Roasted Cumin-Spiked Chickpeas
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and dried
1-2 tbsp cumin
olive oil
salt

Directions
Chop vegetables and toss on a sheet pan. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables and a couple large pinches of salt. Mix to coat and roast at 450º for approximately 45 minutes until vegetables are soft and have a nice dark color in places. Toss a few times to ensure the vegetables cook evenly and add more salt and olive oil, as needed. Reserve the sheet pan for roasting the chickpeas later.

Toss vegetables into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender (I imagine you could use a stand-up blender as well), blend until smooth and creamy. I usually blend the mixture for a few minutes until the soup is silky and smooth. Add a couple tablespoons of broth (vegetable or chicken) until desired consistency (optional). Season with salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.

While the soup is cooking, prepare the chickpeas. Using the same sheet pan as used for the vegetables, scatter the chickpeas, drizzle with olive oil, salt and cumin and toss to combine. Roast at 450º until crispy and browned, approximately 20 minutes. After the chickpeas are roasted, you can add a bit more cumin for extra flavor, if desired. While the chickpeas can be prepared ahead of time, I wouldn’t advise it as they tend to get soft when stored.

Once ready to eat, ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a big spoonful of chickpeas in the center.

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