I know what you’re thinking. Roasting vegetables in the middle of summer? Crazy fool. Not only that but making a soup out of them must be the height of madness. To some extent I agree, however the weather hasn’t been that great recently, and the rainy days and cooler evenings have made me crave something warm and comforting. It has truly been a typical British summer so far, not that I’m complaining though because I quite like rainy days.
The combination of the cauliflower and cannellini beans gives the soup a creamy consistency that feels quite indulging while the aromatic cumin provides a refreshing kick. The soup is quite light and almost has a cooling quality and when coupled with the heat produced by the spicy chickpeas makes it a perfect dish to demolish during those cooler summer evenings. The recipe serves 4 and should keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I always make huge batches to use throughout the week purely because I love to be quite lazy… Don’t fear being lazy though as this soup is packed full of many amazing vitamins and minerals which are all thought to have extensive health benefits.
Cauliflowers are cruciferous vegetables belonging to the Brassicaceae family and are extensively cultivated around the world. The name cruciferous, meaning ‘cross bearing’, is derived from the 4 petal flowers resembling a cross, a characteristic the whole Brassicaceae family share. The family includes numerous vegetables, notably kale, cabbage, broccoli and turnips. Cruiferous vegetables are referred to as ‘functional foods’ meaning they have a host of benefits beyond providing basic nutrition for example, helping prevent certain diseases.
Cauliflower contains a whole host of beneficial nutrients including large amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. A study published in Carcinogenesis in 2008  showed that sulforaphane, a sulphur compound found in cauliflower, was capable of slowing the growth of tumours by killing cancer stem cells. Furthermore, a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension in 2012  found that sulforaphane significantly improved blood pressure and kidney function in rats. The National Cancer Institute  suggests that indoles and isothiocyanates, two other compounds found in cauliflower, inhibit the development of cancer in several organs. Cauliflower is also a great source of anti-inflammatory nutrients, and choline – a B vitamin that plays an incredibly important role in brain development. Last but certainly not least, cauliflower is an important source of dietary fibre which contributes to maintaining good digestive health.
Next time you think cauliflower is just another boring, tasteless vegetable that only deserves a place once a week on the dining table for Sunday lunch, think again! Eat up and even go for seconds. Maybe you could even discuss the merits of cruciferous vegetables while fighting for the remnants of cauliflower cheese? Just sayin’. These veggies are amazing.
Boiling, steaming or roasting?
What cooking method should you use to maintain the highest level of nutrients possible I hear you ask. None of the three methods mentioned are inherently bad. However, when you boil or steam vegetables you run the risk of decreasing the level of water-soluble vitamins (vitamins B, C and folic acid) in the finished dish. This can be particularly disappointing if you’re trying to increase your intake of water-soluble vitamins. Of course, if the water the vegetables were cooked in is utilised in the dish (like it is in this soup) instead of being thrown away the beneficial properties of the water-soluble vitamins are maintained. On the other hand, if the water is of no use in the finished dish it is preferable to roast or use a limited amount of water to prevent a loss of nutrients.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup.
1 medium cauliflower
1 medium onion
1 litre/ 4 cups vegetable stock
1 can cannellini beans
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Roasted Cauliflower Soup.
Cut cauliflower in to florets and roast for 20 minutes at 190°C until golden in colour.
Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and fry until translucent. Add the cumin seeds and bay leaves and fry for an additional minute before adding the roasted cauliflower and cannelloni beans. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes.
Take the soup off the hob and liquidise using an emersion blender. Season to taste.
Mix the chickpeas, coconut oil, paprika, and cayenne pepper together, place on a baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes at 190°C.
To serve, garnish the soup with spicy chickpeas, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and add cracked black pepper if desired.
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