Cauliflower Bisque with “Buttered” Breadcrumbs

The other night we had some friends over for dinner, and I thought I’d make a soup and salad type meal featuring this Cauliflower Bisque.  I’m constantly saving recipes that I find online, but I often forget to go back and actually make them.  I found this one in an old email I’d sent to myself, and it sounded like it would be really tasty, and also pretty simple to make.  It was both those things, and I’ll definitely be making this one again!

I found the recipe for the soup here, but it’s originally from the book “Love Soup” by Anna Thomas.  It isn’t written as vegan, but it was very easily adapted.  I’ve re-written it below with my changes – both to the ingredients and to a few of the directions.

Cauliflower Bisque with “Buttered” Breadcrumbs
Serves 6-7

1 large white cauliflower (2 lbs)
5 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 cups water
1-inch piece lemon zest (yellow part only, the white pith will turn bitter)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
2 medium carrots
2 medium stalks celery
1 medium yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 cup raw cashews

Trim the cauliflower, cut the florets in small pieces, and put them in a soup pot with 4 cups of the vegetable broth and the 2 cups of water.  Add the lemon juice and the strip of zest to the pot, along with a teaspoon of sea salt. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, trim, and chop the carrots, celery, and onion. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped vegetables, along with half a teaspoon of sea salt. Sauté the vegetables on a medium flame, stirring often, until they are soft, about 15 minutes or so.  Add the garlic and cook an additional five minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to color. Add the herbes de Provence and keep stirring over medium heat for a few minutes longer. Add the sautéed vegetables to the cauliflower, and stir.

At this point the cauliflower should be very tender.  If it’s not, continue to simmer the soup until it is.  Once the cauliflower is cooked through, turn off the heat and let the soup cool briefly.  While the soup is cooling, add your raw cashes and remaining cup of vegetable broth to your blender.  Puree the mixture until it’s very smooth and creamy.  Pour the cashew cream into a small bowl, and set aside.  Without rinsing the blender, puree the cauliflower mixture.  You may have to do this in batches.  Return the soup to the pot, and stir in the cashew cream, to taste, until the soup is has the consistency and flavor that you like.  [I didn't end up using all of the cream - you can refrigerate whatever is left and save it for another use.]  Taste, and add salt or lemon juice if needed.  Sprinkle a heaping spoonful of buttered breadcrumbs (recipe follows) over each serving of soup at the last minute, just as you are serving it.

“Buttered” Breadcrumbs

1 cup coarse, soft breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon non-dairy margarine [I use Earth Balance]

You can make big, soft breadcrumbs by cutting up day-old bread into cubes and processing them briefly in a food processor. Alternately, you can crumble any soft bread with your fingers.

Melt the “butter” in a nonstick skillet, add the breadcrumbs, and stir over medium heat for several minutes. As soon as the breadcrumbs begin to take on a toasty golden color, remove them from the heat. Use them warm from the pan, or spread them in a thin layer on a plate or cookie sheet to cool.

Notes: Make sure to be very careful when blending the hot soup.  If your blender doesn’t have a vent in the lid, you’ll need to keep it slightly cracked (away from you!) to release the steam that will build up.  You can add more margarine to the breadcrumbs if you like – the original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons.  I was trying to keep it a little lighter because I added quite a bit of cashew cream.  Enjoy!

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21 Responses to “Cauliflower Bisque with “Buttered” Breadcrumbs”

  1. This looks delicious! ANd cauliflowers are seasonal right now…
    must try!!

  2. So beautiful! I love simple soup and salad meals, they are one of my very favorite ways to eat. And cauliflower makes the best soup, so I will definitely have to try this. Thanks!

  3. this looks yummy!

  4. wow this looks great.i love the combinations of tastes

  5. Love the look and sound of this.

  6. Pleased to discover your site while googling vegan cauliflower recipes! This sounds great and cashews and cashew paste are my current fave ingredients. I’ll probably use olive oil instead of vegan margarine.

  7. Ooh, that looks lovely!

  8. Cashews and lemon zest can magically turn anything delicious. Not sure about celery and cauliflower together, but I’ll take your word for it.

  9. Five stars! I didn’t have a fresh lemon so had to leave out the zest, and I only used 1/2 t olive oil. I used two cups of chopped leeks instead of onion. For breadcrumbs I cubed and toasted a hearty whole wheat bread with no topping. The soup was rich and creamy.

  10. Hi, PF – glad you liked it, and thanks for listing those substitutes!

  11. Made this as described, except that I didn’t have herbs de Provence so I went through my spice cupboard and tossed in spices that seemed like they would go w/cauliflower. Yum-O!! Especially liked the “buttered” breadcrumbs on this.

  12. Hi, Mindy! So glad you liked it! I love the breadcrumbs on top too.

  13. Made this for my family yesterday. I recently turned vegetarian and my family LOVED this. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Hi, Pierre! So glad you liked the recipe!

  15. I have been oogling over your web site for the past two hours and have copied several recipes: Coconut Bundt Cake, Marinated Cheeze, Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Polenta with Balsamic Kale and White Beans, and Mexican-Style Casserole SO FAR! You speak about food so lovingly. The photographs are yummy and the recipes so doable! Thank you!

    My question about *this* recipe is can you use an infuser mixer (the white thing you stick into the pot of cooked cauliflower) to blend it up? Do I actually *need* to do this in a blender?

    Thanks for your response!

  16. Hi, Sherrie! I’m so glad you like the site! I’m not familiar with infuser mixers, but if it’s similar to an immersion blender, then you could absolutely use it for this soup. You could probably also blend it up in a food processor, but I’m not sure that would produce as smooth a result. I hope you like the recipes that you try, and again, thanks so much for your kind words!

  17. Just wanted to let you know that I made this for my sister and I tonight, and we both loved it! thanks for sharing :)

  18. Your recipe was posted.

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