Friday, January 15, 2010

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Torn Croutons and Beet Chips (page 127)

The soup was the second dish we made this week since we knew it would be fine over a very low flame staying warm while we made the main dish. We made a few changes to this recipe some were intentionally and one was because we had a few too many things going while plating and something got forgotten. However in the end even the unintentional omission turned out to be a good thing.

In addition to removing the animal products from this dish (butter, milk and cream) we also reduced the fat dramatically. The original soup base called for much more fat that we used and the croutons and beets chips were cooked in fat. Additionally the recipe wanted tiny cauliflower florets for in the soup. We inadvertently forgot those when plating. However I did add them to the soup we had the day for lunch. Both the hubby and I decided we preferred the look and texture of the soup without the small cauliflower florets so I have removed them from the recipe completely.

Other changes we made included removing the onion and replacing it with more leek. It made the soup a nice light green, which we thought was quite pretty. I also think it probably resulted in a more mild “onion” flavor to the final dish.

I was surprised by how well baking the beet chips worked. We baked them on parchment paper because we weren’t certain if they would stain the silpat or not. To coat them evenly will oil we sprayed them with olive oil and then used a pastry brush to evenly coat the top of the beet slices. My friend Sue called me today to tell me that John (her husband) liked the beet chips. While this doesn’t sound like any big news, John doesn’t like beets. So this was a much bigger deal than you realize. Sue will be picking up so beets to make more chips next week.

The torn croutons were also a great addition to the soup. In the past I had always cut the bread into uniform cubes, but I loved the freeform torn shapes. Not only were they pretty but they were quicker. We sprayed these with a little olive oil before baking too.

Overall I came away with a few ideas that I will be using again in the future (the beet chips and torn croutons). This is a great recipe that tastes richer than it actually is. Here is the soup we had for our first course on Wednesday.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Torn Croutons and Beet Chips
Makes 8 servings of approximately 2 cups each


2 heads cauliflower
1 leek (white and light green only), cleaned thoroughly and chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon white pepper, to taste
1 cup water
4 cups soymilk (reserve ¼ cup to make a slurry to thicken soup), or any non-dairy milk
2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 slices whole wheat bread, torn in free form small pieces to make croutons, for garnish.
1 beet, cleaned and trimmed and thinly sliced on a mandoline (1 adjustment thicker than the thinnest setting)
½ teaspoon of oil (use half for croutons and half for beet chips)


Break cauliflower into florets. Put olive oil in a heavy bottom soup pan. Add leeks, curry powder, salt and pepper and cauliflower and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add 1 cup water and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid slightly ajar. Add soymilk and water and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Place soup in blender or Vitamix (in batches) and blend until smooth. Put soup back in pan, adjusting seasonings. Make a slurry of cornstarch and remaining soymilk. Add to soup and cook until thickened.

To make the torn croutons tear bread into small pieces, placing on baking sheet spray with a little olive oil and bake at 375 degrees until browned and crunchy, about 6 minutes.

To make the beet chip slice 1 medium sized beet into very thin slices on mandolin. I did not use the thinnest setting on the mandoline, but one up from that. The slices were very thin but had enough body that they weren’t pliable when raw. Place the beet slices in a single layer on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the chips they are very thin and will cook quickly.

To serve place, the cauliflower soup in a shallow bowl and top with the torn croutons. Then place a few beets chips on top the croutons. If you want to take this over the top you can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on the soup before serving.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories  191.03
Calories From Fat (22%) - 41.82

Total Fat - 4.7g
Saturated Fat - 0.63g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 338.64mg
Potassium - 1077.98mg
Total Carbohydrates - 30.12g
Fiber - 8.9g
Sugar - 13.18g
Protein - 10.87g


This was my husband’s favorite dish from Wednesday. When I asked him why it was the beet chips. He loves beets so I should have guessed that would make this his favorite. I thought it was a gorgeous soup, definitely worthy of entertaining.

Each serving of this soup contains approximately 110mg of calcium, 2.6mg of iron, 205mg of folate, 55mg of vitamin K, 210mg of phosphorus, 85mg of magnesium, and 10mcg of selenium.

This was another successful experiment veganizing “At Hoc at Home”. We all enjoyed this soup. If you are looking for something reasonably simple that will wow your in-laws or friends this is a recipe worth trying.

Unrelated note:

This will be my last post for today. We are meeting our friend Louis for dinner and I need to make myself presentable. I will try to get the final recipe we made on Wednesday posted tomorrow.

Have a great evening!


dirtyduck said...

ive never been a fan of croutons, i think it IS because of their uniform shape, all the hard edges. but the torn croutons look delicious. i love using spray oil, it works so well.

Vegan Epicurean said...


The croutons add a nice crispy crunchy textural contrast to the smooth soup. Beet chips provide crunch and a beautiful color variation. I thought this soup made a lovely presentation. I would definitely serve this at a dinner party.


Rose said...

I'm surprised the beat chips bake up so quickly. I think I would prefer it w/o the cauliflower florets too.

It looks and sounds wonderful...I might have to change my dinner menu tonight!

Vegan Epicurean said...


The beet chips cooked very quickly. I almost burned them.

If you try this tonight please let me know how you like it.

talk to you soon,

blessedmama said...

Woo Hoooooooooo!! Love the blog! Good job. I don't know how you do it. When you post, you put in so much time and detail; I am amazed that you are going to manage two blogs to such degrees. The shopping list was a nice touch - kind of gives us a heads up on what we need to have on hand. I'll be checking back. Enjoy your night out. :)

Vegan Epicurean said...

Blessed Mama,

Thank you for the very nice compliments. I really appreciate it. :)

This blog will not have as many posts as my first one. Probably three recipes a week, I would guess.

Sue and I really enjoyed our first day of veganizing the cookbook. We don't have our next date scheduled yet but it should be next week or the week after. Her schedule is a little tight at the moment so she is trying to fit in a day of cooking. She finds it to be as fun and relaxing as I do.

We did have a great dinner out. I hope you had a good evening too.

talk to you later,

Ricki said...

You are really amazing, Alicia! Your other blog is incredible with all the posts you do--and now another! The soup sounds great. Can't wait to see what else you cook up over here. :)

Vegan Epicurean said...


Thanks so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it! :)

The soup tasted great, and it looked beautiful. It is much more stunning in person.

thanks again,

Oraphan said...

Oh! This soup looks absolutely beautiful! What a fantastic presentation! Everything sounds so delicious and I'm very interested in making beet chips, can't wait!

Vegan Epicurean said...


The beet chips were fun to make. My hubby loved them (but he likes beets), even Sue's hubby liked them (and he doesn't like beets). If you have a non-beet eater at home this may be a good way to get them to eat a few beets.