Roasted Carrot & Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)
Today I am at my parents beach house, listening to the chimes sing on every wind-whipped porch, alternating between cacophony and symphony. There are vast tracks of destroyed sea shells on the beach, sun bleached crab shells like porcelain, a pile of black/white feathers and bones just barely recognizable as what was once a sea gull. If you spend a while staring at the waves as they overturn, you can see diamonds in the crests.
Early Spring at the beach is a soft, solitary place. Tree frogs chirp in the marsh. The air is bay and pine and salt. You can smell the ocean in your hair after a long walk. You can trek a mile through the neighborhoods and only ever see some moms with their dogs, or maybe an old man staring at his grass, wondering if this will be the year he beats the sand at its game. You know the big rental houses are empty. The beach has only a few visitors, probably locals by the look of them (wind-breakers, sunnies, and preppy baseball caps, no towels, some sand castle toys for the kids).
I went for a run on the wet sand and let cool air pump in and out of my lungs. After I'm good and tired I even do that thing where I stick my arms out like a bird and chase some seagulls, laughing at and in spite of myself, at the pure childlike joy of it. The surf crashing diamonds and foam, sun high, sand etched by wind, salmon pink and white and pearlescent broken shells strewn in a wide band across the beach. Being out there alone I get the feeling that I could stake a flag in the ground and claim a spot as my own. Maybe a little pie slice of earth that I could post up at. Just a tent for now. Frying up eggs in cast iron over my little driftwood and pine fire. Watching the moon rise.
Stopping and breathing hard, getting that endorphin rush, I feel wild. It's being on the edge of things. The edge of my country, my home, my world. Staring at that horizon line over the ocean like staring at stars. There's an infinite out there I can only guess at. Possibly cold, heartless, lifeless. Possibly touching the beyond.
So why this soup? It's the in-between growing season here in Virginia, which means I'm doing a lot of staring at my asparagus patch in hopes that my attention will WILL it out of the earth. We're still in flux between cool and gloriously warm days. But I'm also in the flow of eating lighter as I get more sunlight. This soup is the perfect in-between-season go-to soup. It's filling, flavorful, and lusciously creamy, while still packing in the vegetables. For more protein to go alongside, I'm a big fan of eating this soup with chèvre and basil sandwiches. It's a win.
- 1 medium cauliflower, core removed & florets halved
- 2 lbs carrots, peeled & sliced into 1 inch rounds
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 large sweet white onion, chopped roughly + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- salt, to taste
- *optional garnish: basil
- Preheat the oven to 375F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Add the sliced carrots to one baking sheet and the cauliflower florets to the other.
- Drizzle olive oil over the carrots and cauliflower. Add paprika to the carrots, and a sprinkling of salt to both (I used about 1/2 teaspoon for each). Toss the cauliflower and carrots to combine the veg with the olive oil / salt / spices.
- Roast for 35 minutes, until fork tender.
- Remove and let cool 10 minutes, so that they reach a workable temp.
- While the roasted veg is cooling, caramelize the onion in your soup pot with 1 teaspoon of olive oil (this takes 10 mins or so). You want the onions to go beyond translucent, becoming slightly golden and beginning to brown.
- Add the carrots, cauliflower, vegetable stock, coconut milk, white wine, water, turmeric, and paprika. Stir to combine.
- Cook 10-15 minutes on medium high heat, until the soup is boiling and the flavors begin to meld together.
- Using an electric hand blender, blend everything together until smooth. Alternately, you can add the soup to a high powered blender and pulse in batches (let it cool slightly so you can handle the temp in the blender).
- Once the soup is creamy and well blended, add the salt, to taste.
- Serve topped with basil (or rosemary!). Enjoy!