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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND TOMATO SOUP




This delicious, hearty, home-style soup is sure to satisfy. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy more vegetables in the cooler months. It has a nice, herby kick and is also jam-packed with nutrition, so it’s the perfect way to boost the immune system.

This isn’t a complicated recipe and is very easy to make. It’s ideal for busy people or when you’re not feeling too inspired in the kitchen, as you can cook up a batch and it will store in the fridge for the next week. It’s only a quick re-heat so if you work from home or have a microwave at work, it’s superb for a weekday lunch. Or, you can have dinner done and on the table in a matter of minutes.


Did you know? Cauliflower belongs to a group of vegetables consisting of cabbage, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts, which have all branched off from a type of wild mustard, and belong to the _Brassica oleracea_ family, which all originated on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Cauliflower is low in calories yet extremely high in vitamins. In fact, cauliflower contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need to boost immunity.


We began to cultivate cauliflower all the way back in ancient Rome. Farmers simply selected mustard plants with especially big flowers and made a hybrid with them, which in the end resulted in what we now call cauliflower and broccoli. Cauliflower is historically first mentioned in the 1st century AD in a book titled _‘Natural history’_ written by the Roman naturalist and philosopher Pliny the Elder. Though it wasn’t until the 12th and 13th centuries that cauliflower makes its way to the dining tables of Western Europe, and not until the 16th century that it really became popular as a regular food staple.


Chef Dylan tip: Make your life easy by simply buying a good quality vegetable stock from your trusted grocer, deli or supermarket. I’ve also used frozen mixed vegetables to make this recipe, as it maximises the vegetable content, and it is so convenient to simply grab from the frozen food aisle, and is arguably as nutritious as fresh veg.


Edinburgh Scotland, June 2022

Hearing the tell-tale cry of a giant herring gull I look up as it glides gracefully overhead. I’m excited to be back in the ancient Scottish port town of Leith to see our long-time restaurateur friends. It’s lunchtime and the cobble stone streets are alive with tourists snapping photos of the antique buildings that have been expertly maintained. I am always impressed with the amount of detail and thought that these imaginative historic builders lovingly put into their work, in stark contrast to the boring modern functional style. Continuing on, we come to our destination.


We enter ‘Toast’, a funky cultured café owned by Zak, a charming gentleman whom we know from a few years back when he owned a Mediterranean-style wine bar. The place is a bustling hive of activity, with nimble waitstaff weaving their way past tightly packed tables. They confidently carry plates of brunch-style items: poached eggs, crispy bacon and fanned avocado. A waitress greets us “Table for two?” she asks with a soft-hearted smile. I nod in approval, and she leads us to our table and hands us the menus. “Would you like still or sparkling water to begin?”. “Just tap water is fine, thank you” chirps in my wife. I spy Zac at the far end of the Café on a high bar table tapping away behind a laptop.


I head over, and his look of surprise is unmistakable, and a broad smile sweeps across his face “I haven’t seen you guys in years” he exclaims whilst enthusiastically extending his hand and shaking mine with vigour. “Excuse the mess, I have to catch up on all this paperwork here because working from home is impossible now we’ve had the twins” he offers. I now notice the dark rings under his eyes. “Wow. Congratulations, how have you been?” I ask. “Good, considering, but first let me make you and your lovely wife a coffee.” He says heading behind the busy bar towards the coffee machine.


As I sit back down at the table, I notice today’s chef’s special written on a small blackboard next to a row of beautifully baked loaves of sourdough. It reads ‘Roasted cauliflower and tomato soup’ in calligraphy-style handwriting. Zak delivers our coffees, and has a lengthy catch up before he is pulled away by the chef. Our waitress returns and asks politely “Are you ready to order?


“Yes, I’ll have the soup of the day please” I reply. A few moments later a steaming bowl is placed down in front of me and the first thing I notice is how full of vegetables it is and how nicely the cauliflower is roasted. I delight in the aroma of the rich tomato broth. I butter the warm, freshly baked sourdough and dunk it in the bowl and take a bite. It is sensational, soft and chewy dough, encrusted with a crispy crust that has sopped up the bold flavours of the broth. I sit back smiling in my chair and look over to my love and remark “Oh how I’ve missed traveling!”. “Well that makes two of us. This is us just getting started” she counters with a cheeky grin and a glint in her eye.


If you don’t make soup often, I urge you to have a go at this as you may be pleasantly surprised at just how much flavour this comforting meal in a bowl delivers.


PREP TIME: 5mins

COOKING TIME: 10 mins

SERVINGS: 2-4


INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg head of cauliflower, leaves removed

  • 3 tbs olive oil

  • 4 tbs GAUCHO

  • 500ml vegetable stock

  • 1 medium brown onion, diced

  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed

  • 400g can diced tomato

  • 700ml passata

  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

  • Salt to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 190° C. Take the head of cauliflower, turn it over and cut the stem out of the bottom. Set the stem aside, and break the florets apart, into large bite-sized pieces.

  2. In a large bowl, coat the cauliflower with the olive oil, 2 tbs GAUCHO until evenly coated. Spread evenly into an oven tray lined with some baking paper and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the florets over about halfway through.

  3. While the cauliflower is roasting, place a large pot on medium heat. Add some oil and fry the onions stirring until fragrant, 3-5 minutes.

  4. Next, add garlic and another 2 tbs GAUCHO and stir until fragrant, 1 min or so.

  5. Add the Passata sauce, diced tomatoes, vegetable stock and the chickpeas. Turn heat down low to bring to a simmer.

  6. Carefully add the frozen vegetables and the roasted cauliflower into the soup, stirring in gently.

  7. Bring back to a simmer for 5 minutes, then taste. Add some salt if needed.


TO SERVE


Serve with some salted crackers or toasted sourdough.

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