Roasted Cauliflower & Parsnip Soup with Pickled Green Apple

Cauliflower is one of those ingredients that is a staple in vegan cooking, at least in my opinion.  It’s so versatile and has such mild flavor, that you can really adapt it and use it for so many recipes.  I love pairing cauliflower with parsnips, because parsnips also have a mild flavor profile, but add a really interesting flavor to a robust soup like this.  Serving this rich and hearty soup with pickled apple is the perfect way to pick up and cleanse your palette with every bite.

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Start out by chopping your parsnips and cauliflower into small chunks.  Toss them with coconut oil, minced garlic,  and salt to add in extra flavor while roasting.  After you’ve coated all your beautiful vegetables, transfer them onto a baking sheet in a single layer.  I usually do the parsnips all on one tray, and the cauliflower on the second tray- because the parsnips generally tend to take a bit longer cooking and then that way you aren’t overcooking your cauliflower.  After you’ve transferred them to your baking sheet, place them in a 450 F preheated oven.  The cauliflower should take about 20 minutes, and the parsnips about 30 minutes.  You just want them to be fork tender and have a little golden color to them.  While those are roasting, caramelize your onion in coconut oil with a dash of salt, pepper, and 1 sprig of fresh thyme.  Once your onion is caramelized, deglaze the pan with one cup of white wine (we used Pinot Grigio), and simmer at a low boil for about 5-6 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by almost half.  Once your parsnips and cauliflower have finished roasting, blend them with your caramelized onion / wine mixture, coconut milk, and salt / pepper in a high powered blender.  You will most likely have to do this in batches because this recipe does make a decent amount of soup.  Make sure to place a cloth overtop the blender and hold the lid on while you’re blending hot items like this as well.  You can also make this as chunky or smooth as you’d like, I prefer it to still have some chunks of cauliflower and parsnip in there so I don’t blend it completely smooth, but if you’d like it like that just blend it for an extra minute or two!  After the soup is blended to your liking, transfer it to a large pot on your stove top over medium heat, and keep warm until serving.  I recommend  letting it  cook over medium  heat for at least 10-15 minutes prior to serving, to let all the flavors melt together after blending.

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Making pickled green apples is incredibly easy to do, and you can store them in your fridge for a few weeks in the brine to save for other recipes as well!  These little guys are great on sandwiches, in salads, or even in vegan grilled cheese too.  You just need to make a pretty standard pickling brine, and strain it over some chopped green apples.  We cut our apples pretty small so that you could get small chunks with each bite of the soup, but feel free to chop them however you please.  For the brine, heat up your water, vinegar, sugar, salt, black peppercorns (whole), coriander seed (whole), and cloves (whole) in a pot until the sugar and salt have dissolved.  The longer you let the mixture heat over the stove top, the stronger the flavor of your pickled apple will be.  When dicing up your apple, do it right before you’re about to add the brine so that it doesn’t turn brown before you add the pickling liquid.  We also chose to leave the skins on the apples, but you can peel them if you’d like.  Strain all the seeds from your pickling brine so that you’re left with just the liquid, and add that over top your apples in a jar.  Place them in the fridge and let sit there for at least 24 hours before serving.  These guys will stay good for up to 3 weeks in the fridge if you keep them in the brine.

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Once you’re ready to serve, ladle your soup into a large bowl, top with thinly sliced radish (optional), a few of your pickled green apples, and some fresh thyme.  This soup has a really creamy, robust, mild flavor- but the pickled apples pack an unexpected punch to tie the whole dish together.  This recipe is also great to make in a double batch, since it freezes well & reheats very easily.


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 heads cauliflower   
  • 6 large parsnips
  • 4 tbs coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10-12 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt / pepper to taste
  • 4 green apples
  • 30 oz water
  • 30 oz red wine vinegar
  • 6 oz sugar
  • 3 oz salt
  • whole black pepper
  • whole coriander seed
  • whole clove

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss the cauliflower and parsnips in coconut oil & minced garlic.  Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 20-25 minutes until the tups begin to turn brown. 
  2. Meanwhile, caramelize your onion in coconut oil with a dash of salt & fresh thyme. Deglaze with white wine and simmer for 5 minutes.    
  3. Place the cauliflower, parsnips, broth, coconut milk, caramelized onions / wine, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. 
  4. Transfer to a pot and heat through. 
  5. Heat up your water, vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, coriander, and clove in a pot until the sugar and salt is dissolved.  Dice your green apple and add to a mason jar, and pour over your hot pickling liquid.  Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours before use. 

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