This spin on French Onion Soup puts the humble cauliflower on the map again. Flavourful broth, caramelized onions, roasted cauliflower, and some unique spices create a decadent soup that is perfect for this time of year.
Soup is underrated in our home. The only time anyone ever feels like eating soup is when they’re either sick, cold, or they’ve opened and closed the fridge eight times. Most times, it’s out of a can. I get it — tinned soup is quick, easy, and customizable if you’re feeling creative. And while I’m all about quick and easy, I’m not about the non-essential ingredients on the tinned soup labels. Anything containing ingredients with the words “modified [insert noun here],” “flavouring,” or “monosodium glutamate (MSG),” I like to stay away from.* I’m not saying that I haven’t been guilty of chowing down on a can of soup when I’m in a hurry, but I much prefer to make my own. By making homemade soup, I know exactly what is going into it and therefore into my body. And isn’t knowing exactly what you’re eating (and feeding your family) so much better than taking a chance on ingredients you can hardly pronounce? Not to mention, it tastes a zillion times better!
I know what you’re thinking: Soup takes forever to make! There’s so much prep involved before you even begin, and don’t even talk to me about the amount of time it takes to bring that sucker to a boil and then simmer!
My number one tip for soup making? Always make big batches. That way, you can freeze it in individual or family-size portions to have later on and you only have to do it once.
The best part about doing this is that you don’t have to worry about what’s in the soup because you made it, and it’s just as convenient as grabbing a tin of soup. You can take one from the freezer as you leave for work. You can refrigerate one the night before, and it’ll thaw in time for you to reheat, pour it into a thermos, and send it to school with your kid. Or you have something to defrost one night when you aren’t feeling too hot or have had a long day.
This French Cauliflower Soup is perfect for big batches and freezing. You can easily double the recipe to feed a large family, and it tastes great with or without the gratin garnish! The depth of flavour in this soup is incredible. Caramelizing the onions and roasting the cauliflower before adding them to the soup adds more flavour in a shorter amount of time. Like you, I don’t enjoy standing over a pot of simmering soup for an hour. Because we caramelize and roast before hand and use an organic vegetable stock (with ingredients we can pronounce!), this soup only has to simmer for 25 minutes!
Although you can enjoy this soup without the gratin garnish, the little toasty baguettes and melty cheddar cheese make this dish killer. I couldn’t claim this as French Cauliflower Soup without it!
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 brown onions, sliced
- ½ tsp raw cane sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 litre organic vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2½ tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
- 1½ tsp salt, divided
- 1 baguette, cut into 8--16½-inch slices
- 1--2 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded
- To roast the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C) and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the ginger, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread the cauliflower out on the prepared tray and roast for 25--30 minutes, or until the cauliflower has caramelized and it is slightly underdone. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, begin the soup. Place a large stock pot over medium heat and allow to warm. Add the onions and dry fry them until they begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the onions to slow cook until soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the onions have caramelized, add the cane sugar, garlic, and celery, and sauté until fragrant. Next, pour in the white wine and deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up all the flavours from the bottom of the pot. Add the vegetable stock, water, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, paprika, cumin, the remaining salt and pepper, and the roasted cauliflower florets. Stir, bring the broth to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and allow the soup to simmer for 20--25 minutes. The soup will be finished once the cauliflower is completely cooked through. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- To garnish, adjust the oven rack to the upper portion of the oven and set the oven to a high broil. Ladle the soup into 6--8 oven safe bowls or ramekins, depending on how many people you need to serve. Lay the sliced baguette on a baking tray and toast the baguette in the oven for 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove the toast from the tray. Place the soup-filled bowls on the tray and top each bowl with 2 toasted baguette slices and a portion of the cheddar cheese. Put the tray into the oven and allow the soup to broil for 4--5 minutes, or until the cheese bubbles and melts. Serve immediately.
- This soup will keep -- refrigerated and ungarnished -- in an air tight container for up to 2 days. It will keep frozen for up to 2 months.
*Actual ingredients in Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.