Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Garlic Croutons

Courtesy photo

This recipe turns a short list of vegan ingredients into a delightful creamy and delicious soup. The croutons here are optional, but they transform a delicate first-course soup into a satisfying and somewhat hardy lunch offering.

Bon Appétit!  Chef Bettina

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Garlic Croutons

For the Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

1 quart low-sodium vegetable stock, plus more as needed for reheating

1 medium head cauliflower, cored and broken into 1 1/2-inch florets (about 2 1/2 pounds)

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon, for serving

For the Croutons

6 Tablespoons unsalted Butter

3 cups diced rustic country bread (3/4-inch pieces)

Kosher Salt and Freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Make the croutons: To a sauté pan add the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the bread cubes, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and garlic powder and cook, tossing often, until toasted all over, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the croutons to a board to cool.

Make the soup: In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. (Take care not to burn the garlic.)

Add the stock, cauliflower, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches if necessary, carefully transfer the vegetables and stock to a blender and blend on high until creamy. Return the soup to the pot and bring to a simmer. If the soup seems thin, let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce slightly. (Note: The soup will continue to thicken as it cools.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot. Garnish each serving with a few croutons, and a sprinkle of lemon zest. The soup will thicken as it sits; add more stock as necessary when reheating.

*Bettina Tolin is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. She has cooked in the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida. She is currently the Executive Chef and owner of Marcello’s overlooking the historic lighthouse in Port Isabel. Marcello’s Ocean Grille & Spirits was recently written up in Texas Monthly magazine as the new trending restaurant for dinner and brunch in the South Padre Island area.