On a typical workday, if I can get away for a quick bite, my destination of choice is always Whole Foods. I would wait until 1 pm to avoid the mad noon rush and pick up a salad and/or soup. My salads are the same day in, day out. My soups, however, are another story. My local Whole Foods offers eight different soups daily but I don’t limit myself to only eight options. I think outside of the soup pot, if you will. What I do has elicited polite (but not necessarily discreet stares) from other lunch goers.
I mix and match the soups to maximize flavor and texture. In order to add more substance to a simple tomato soup, I will add spinach and lentils from the pot next door. Sometimes I will combine a brothy chicken noodle soup with a richer one to cut back on the fat content. You get the idea, the possibilities are endless. I can’t be the only one who does this, right?
Since Whole Foods’ soups have never disappointed me, I decided to give one a try at home recently. I departed from recipes that I would normally gravitate to, meat-based or rich with heavy cream. My husband and I have been entertaining more vegan recipes lately. Admittedly, this shift in our diet has not been the most exciting for me but at least we have not made a complete commitment. I enjoy meat and dairy far too much to ever give it up, but my husband took on the challenge of getting his (already healthy) cholesterol level down as low as possible, and being the resident cook, I had to embrace the challenge, as well. Perhaps broadening my cooking horizons in this direction will convince me that a vegan version of some of my favorite dishes wouldn’t necessarily mean that I have to compromise on flavor.
This cauliflower soup promised to make us both happy but would good flavor share the stage with the soup’s healthy virtues? I’m a believer in curry as a key ingredient in soups for the former packs a lot of flavor. But what about the claim for a creamy soup without the use of heavy cream? Almond milk would be the stand in for dairy and I confess that I was dubious.
Good news. This soup sold me on trying more vegan options in the future. I liked its smooth texture, the punch of the curry powder (I used a spicy variety), and the creaminess provided by the almond milk. I didn’t even miss regular cream. The recipe called for topping the soup with toasted sunflower seeds but I tossed them in additional curry powder before doing this and I think this was a nice touch, along with my last-minute addition of fried shallots. This recipe is a keeper but I would be open to using roasted cauliflower next time just to see if the soup can be taken to the next level. As is, though, this one has earned a spot on my make-again list.
Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup
* from Whole Foods (recipe here)