Chele’s Thai Curry Cauliflower Soup with Red Quinoa
The only land animals on Michele’s table are the cute little peacock s&p shakers. Some sea creatures will make an appearance now and then, but honestly, the vegan cuisine in this house is so good that they are not needed – for flavor, that is.
Recently. I was privileged to spend the evening in the home of my friend, Michele. This turned into kind of a one-stop multi-faceted experience – my favorite kind of experience! Upon entering the home, my eyes are first drawn to all the beautiful paintings that hang on the walls. Michele is a muralist. Then we sat at the table, the laptop came out, and all the new insurance laws were succinctly boiled down to the most comprehensible explanation I have heard to date. Michele is an insurance broker. Finally, heads of cauliflower and juiced pulp and sauces and seasonings emerged. In no time, we were sipping the most delicious kale tea (to be blogged later) and eating the creamiest of cauliflower soups. Michele is a Pescatarian.
Is there nothing this woman can’t do?
Okay, so you can forget that this soup is gluten-free, dairy-free, and REALLY nutritious. It just tastes great! The creaminess of the soup, with the fresh bright pop of peas and delicate chew of red quinoa, plus the perfect amount of heat… Yum!
Plus, Michele throws in a couple of unconventional tricks that make her method very interesting. A french press finds its way onto the scene, and no nutrients – or flavor molecules – are left behind!
Throwing in the nutritional information anyway… because that’s how I roll.
What you get from a head of cauliflower:
- B vitamins, Omega-3, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and many antioxidants
- Anti-inflammatory properties, making it particularly beneficial for many inflammatory diseases
- Anti-cancer properties, related to prevention and fighting disease
- Great source of dietary fiber, especially when raw
- A heart-healthy and brain-healthy food source
- Per TCM, it is cooling, and beneficial for heat congestion in the lungs. (may be manifested by fever, chills, dry cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat) In this case, the best way to consume cauliflower is in a soup. Note: if you make this recipe for this purpose, leave out the heat!
- Per TCM, it is beneficial for alleviating liver stagnation.
How to Make Michele’s Soup
Put whole, washed cauliflower head(s) in a pot. Michele leaves the greens on so that more nutrition will be infused into the broth. She is cutting the cauliflower into pieces only for the purpose of fitting it into this cooking vessel. You can simply cook it whole.
Today, there is only one head of cauliflower going in, although Michele often puts in two.
Next, add broth.
Michele uses a french press to extract a tea from vegetable pulp. You can use any broth you like, or water.
The pot gets covered and put on the stovetop.
When cauliflower is sufficiently tender, remove pot from heat. Remove lid. Remove greens and tough core. Chop cauliflower into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Doesn’t this look good already? Next, flavor is going in!
Add coconut milk.
Next, red curry paste goes in. This is a good quality product; it contains red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, salt, shallots, spices, and kaffir lime. Yum!
A little fish sauce. Feel free to leave this out if you prefer.
Season, to taste.
Now it all gets pureed. Use whatever blender type that you have available. Michele uses her immersion blender. In fact, she has a particular fondness for this power tool, so let’s take a moment…
Puree until very smooth.
Cayenne pepper for some heat.
Throw in frozen peas. I promise, there really are more than three. ‘Sorry they are not visible in the photo. They sank!
Now the soup goes back on the stove top just long enough to heat the peas through.
Meanwhile, husband Joe has entered the kitchen. Apparently, all is equal and purely harmonious in this kitchen where everyone in the family cooks. It is a beautiful thing.
Husband Joe chops and sautes onions, and adds scallops and a mustard sauce to serve as an accompaniment for Michele’s creamy soup. Red quinoa is also prepared to round out the meal.
Soup is ready! A mound of delicate red quinoa is added to the center. Then a cilantro garnish.
And a little more heat. Come on, now!
Chele’s Thai Curry Cauliflower Soup with Red Quinoa
- one or two whole heads of cauliflower, washed
- vegetable broth or water – enough to cover about 1/4 height of cauliflower
- 2 cans coconut milk (Michelle likes 1 full fat and 1 lite)
- 2 T red curry paste
- 1 t fish sauce, or to taste (omit for a vegan preparation)
- salt, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 c frozen sweet garden peas
- fresh cilantro, to garnish
- Optional: cooked red quinoa
Add cauliflower and broth to a pot. Cover. Simmer until cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat. Remove greens and core. Chop cauliflower into smaller, more manageable pieces. Add remaining ingredients, except for quinoa. Return soup to heat, bring to boil, and cook until peas are just cooked through.
Adjust seasonings as desired.
Serve in a bowl with a mound of red quinoa in the center and a garnish of cilantro leaves.
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