Lemony Cauliflower Soup

Creamy and chunky, creating wonderful textural contrasts, and with subtle undertones of lemon balanced out by the herbs and pepper, this soup is a real winner and would be perfect for entertaining. This recipe serves 4-6 depending on whether it’s being eaten as a starter or a main.

2 white onions, finely chopped
650g white mushrooms, quartered
1.5 litres vegetable broth
1 large potato, peeled and in bite-size dice
1 tsp dried thyme*
1 tsp dried basil*
1 head cauliflower, in small florets
1 lemon, rind and zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red chilli flakes and parsley (optional)

*Crumbling dried herbs between your fingers before adding them to a dish will help to release more of their aromatic oils.

1. Preheat a large soup pot over a medium low heat. Add the onion and mushroom, and sauté until the mushrooms release their liquid.
2. Add the vegetable broth, potato, and herbs. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the cauliflower, cover the soup once again, and simmer for 7 minutes more.
4. Stir through the lemon zest and juice.
5. Transfer half of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth (optional). Return to the pot to reheat, and season to taste.
6. Serve garnished with red chilli flakes and parsley, and a little extra lemon zest, if desired.

Creamy potato, tempeh soup with smokey roasted eggplant and kale

A warm, nourishing, and filling soup. This recipe easily doubles.

For the soup
4T water, divided
1T maple syrup
1T tamari
2T cashew butter
1/4t turmeric
125g tempeh, finely chopped (use pasteurized)
1/4t coarse sea salt
2 scallions, minced (4-6″ green reserved for garnish)
2T fresh garlic, minced
1T lemon juice
3 cups vegetable stock
2 medium yellow potatoes, chopped (or about 2 cups diced)
1T tapioca flour dissolved in 2T cold water
2T nutritional yeast
Sea salt, black pepper and maple syrup to taste

For the eggplant
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T tamari
1t fresh garlic, minced
1/2T maple syrup
1/4t black or cayenne pepper
A dash liquid smoke (or to taste)
2 Italian eggplants (enough to make 12 – 16, 1/4″ slices)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: replace the liquid smoke with 1/2t smoked paprika

For the kale
1/2T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
2 cups loose green kale, stemmed and chopped
1T nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the garnish
1/2t dried, ground sumac
1T nutritional yeast
Sriracha, cayenne pepper, chili flakes or similar to taste

Start the soup, then make the eggplant and kale. Mix the cashew butter, maple syrup, tamari, and turmeric until combined. Toss the chopped tempeh in the mixture to coat and set aside.

In a large pot with a lid, bring 2T water and sea salt to a simmer on medium high heat. Add the scallions and saute in the water for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tempeh, its marinade and 2T water to the pan. Saute for another 3-5 minutes or until the pan is starting to brown lightly.

Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Add the stock and bring the pan back to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes loosely covered. Add the potatoes, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

While the potatoes simmer, preheat the oven to 450F. Toss the kale in its cooking oil and sea salt. Trim the ends of the eggplant and slice length-wise in 1/4″ strips. Start by cutting the eggplant in half, and then cut in slices. Slice as evenly as possible to ensure even cooking. Aim for 16 slices if you can in case you loose a few during the cooking process. Trim the outside skin of the eggplant on the last slice, but don’t peel entirely.

Whisk the cooking oil, tamari, sea salt, maple syrup and liquid smoke. Toss the sliced eggplant in the mixture until well coated. On a lightly oiled, warm roasting pan or baking sheet, roast the eggplant and the kale until the kale is soft and the eggplant is well browned, turning once. Expect 8-12 minutes. Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of the eggplant as a guide. Remove the kale or eggplant and set aside if either cooks more quickly.

When the potatoes are tender, remove from heat and puree the the soup until smooth. Return the pan to a simmer. Mix the tapioca flour with the water until dissolved. Stirring continuously, add the tapioca mixture to the soup slowly until thickened.

Remove from heat and add the nutritional yeast. Chop 2-4 slices or so of eggplant (depending on how many you have total) and add to the soup. Add about 1/4 cup kale to the soup. Stir to combine. Let stand 2 minutes to cool. Season the remaining kale, the remaining eggplant, and the soup to taste.

To plate, ladle out the soup. Add the eggplant and kale to the middle of the bowl in a light stack. Spread the kale in a thin layer so that its pressure relative to the surface tension of the soup is nice and light.

Add the eggplant slices in a similar way. Sprinkle the soup with sumac and nutritional yeast. Add sriracha, red pepper flakes or similar. Garnish with thinly sliced scallion greens cut on an angle and serve.