“The sun burnt every day. It burnt time.”
― Ray Bradbury
If I start the air conditioner early enough in the morning, I can beat the heat before it begins to seep in through the walls and shuttered windows around 10AM. If I don’t, my day is drenched in sweat. There is no escaping it. The heat in The Valley knocks the breath out of you if you’re brave enough to step outside. It is so intense that when I do laundry I can’t differentiate between the outside air and the heat from open dryer—this is no exaggeration. We didn’t truly experience winter this past year. Instead, the sun reigned with all the cruelty and tyranny of a mad monarch subjecting his subjects to endless torment.
Ahem, I’m sorry, I get a bit carried away when talking about hot weather…
Some people thrive in hot weather—I wilt and recede into the shadows (mainly just to avoid direct sunlight). I’m concerned that Southern California didn’t get the memo. Spring has only just begun. The sun has no business causing temperatures in the nineties. I reject the current weather. Side note: if we made a drinking game based on how many times I complain about the heat on my blog we’d all be quite intoxicated.
So I have the air blasting, ice water handy, and soup on the stove. Because I too can be obstinate. No one and nothing will prevent me from enjoying spring soups—not even a colossal sphere of fiery plasma. In all honestly I love soups year-round, but I get excited about all the fresh produce that is explodes on the scene after winter. And soup—no matter what the weather, no matter what time of year—means comfort food to me. I can always use some of that in my life. Lately I’ve been foraging farmer’s markets for fresh seasonal produce. Tomato, carrot, potato and leek, spring minestrone, light chicken soups filled with greens, maybe even a spring stew if I have the time—I want to make soup all season long. And I will; the sun be damned.
I was inspired to make this soup by happy accident; for Easter a few weeks back I made a creamy cauliflower mash that I added just a tad too much liquid to. It still came out wonderfully (topped with tomato confit it was heaven) but I thought I have to make some cauliflower soup ASAP! Why haven’t I made this sooner?! I knew I’d be keeping this recipe simple; roasted garlic, a little butter, lemon zest, and almond milk. I wanted a delicious soup that was as effortless as it is delicious and at the same time, a recipe that you all could easily adapt and interpret as you see fit!
The roasted garlic and lemon give tons of flavor while the almond milk makes for one of the creamiest yet lightest soups I’ve ever had. It’s a healthy vegetarian recipe and if you swap the out butter for olive oil it’s vegan! Season with a little salt and pepper and you have a delicious meal perfect for lunch or dinner! But I’d never just stop there. I have a penchant for lots of complimentary and texturally enticing toppings on my soups.
Today I went with my latest farmer’s market obsession; sunflower sprouts. They are big and crunchy and slightly sweet and I can’t get enough of them! I thought the fresh crisp texture would be the perfect compliment to this creamy soup. Then I added some toasted sunflower seeds, some lemony garlic fried panko breadcrumbs and I also made a basil infused olive oil to drizzle over everything. Lots of crunch and bright fresh flavors round out this recipe.
I’m especially addicted on the infused olive oil I whipped up for this soup. I was inspired by a cilantro scallion oil recipe I saw over at @FeedMeDearly (follow her if you don’t already!) I made it by combining an incredibly good quality olive oil with fresh basil, blending them together, and simmering quickly on the stove to release all that bright sweet and svavory flavor. The oil itself was a gift from my dear friends Marianna and Sara over at @Inside.Our.Kitchen on Instagram. The olive oil is from a town just outside Florence where Marianna’s mother lives! It was a birthday present to me and one of the most cherished gifts I’ve received in a long time. Definitely check out their feed if you love Italian food and delicious recipes! Very inspiring.
And as I mentioned above—you can absolutely make this recipe your own. Spice the soup up with curry and ginger and garnish with crushed cashews and mint. Make a smoky version with cumin and paprika topped with scallions, jalapeños, and cilantro. Roast veggies for toppings, try different seeds or nuts, maybe even wilt some seasonal greens to top it all off. This is such a great recipe to adapt as you see fit.
Does anyone else out there hate the heat as much as I do? Does anyone else love soups all year long? Let me know below! Especially if you have a soup recipe I should try!
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup
- 2 lbs. cauliflower florets
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 bulb roasted garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 2 cups almond milk*
- Salt and pepper
*I usually start with 1 ½ cups of almond milk, and increase to get the desired creamy texture if necessary.
Fresh Sunflower sprouts
Toasted sunflower Seeds
Basil infused olive oil (recipe follows)
Lemon and garlic toasted breadcrumbs (recipe follows)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in cauliflower florets. Cook until tender (so they slide off the end of a fork) about 15-20 minutes. Drain and return pot to the stove.
- Combine cauliflower, butter, garlic, lemon zest, and almond milk in a food processor or blender and purée until creamy. You may need to return the soup to the pot to reheat, the almond milk will cool it down a bit.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve with toppings of your choice!
To make the basil oil purée ¾ cup basil leaves and 1 cup olive oil in a food processor or blender. Simmer in a small saucepan on medium low heat for about 30 seconds to release the basil oils. Strain into a heatproof container until ready to use.
To make the breadcrumbs heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a shallow pan over medium low heat. Add in ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt, 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, and one finely minced or grated garlic clove. Stir frequently over low heat until breadcrumbs are golden brown and everything is well incorporated, being careful not to burn.