Spiced Cauliflower White Bean Soup w/ Fried Curry Leaves & Beer Bread

Spiced Cauliflower White Bean Soup w/ Fried Curry Leaves & Beer Bread

I don’t think I could ever tire of eating soup.  No matter the season, soup is a welcome guest I always make room for.

This is a simple soup yet intensely flavored with coriander, mustard seeds, fennel and curry leaves (more on the curry leaf later).  Most of the fussy prep for this soup is grinding the spices and preparing the roasted cauliflower, toasted garlic, and fried curry leaves…the garnishes for this soup.  Curry leaves?  Think bay leaf but with an intense aroma.  Curry leaves have little to do with curry, the complex spice mixture widely used in Indian cuisine and can vary depending on the geographic region.  Curry leaves are an herb that have a distinct, smoky, citrus-like flavor and smell.  The leaves are pungent and I find add a greater depth of flavor to all of my Indian dishes.

You can find them at your local Asian and Indian grocery stores or if you’re having no luck, you can purchase it here.  They can be stored in a plastic baggie inside your refrigerator, but can last up to 6 weeks wrapped tightly in your freezer. They are a pretty resilient herb, but will blacken overtime in your refrigerator.

This soup will definitely be my lunch at least for the next two days.  It is filling and so flavorful.  I made a beer bread (recipe follows) as an accompaniment, but feel free to keep with the theme and eat with naan bread or even better, pappadam’s (a crispy Indian flat bread). 

Bye for now!


Spiced Cauliflower White Bean Soup w/ Fried Curry Leaves & Beer Bread//serves 4

3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, ground
1 teaspoon fennel, ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 (14.5) ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium head cauliflower, broken up into florets
5 to 6 curry leaves
1 quart reduced sodium vegetable broth
1 cup almond milk or other plant based milk

5 to 6 cauliflower florets, halved
2 cloves garlic, sliced and toasted
6 to 8 curry leaves

Beer Bread//yield 1 loaf
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest

 3 cups flour
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
12 ounces of your favorite beer
½ teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, spices, salt and pepper stirring often.  When onion and garlic are soft, add beans, potatoes, cauliflower, vegetable stock and almond milk.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are tender.  Allow to cool.  Transfer mixture a blender or use a hand held blender to puree until smooth.  If the mixture is too thick, add more broth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

For the roasted cauliflower, preheat oven to 400’.  Cut cauliflower florets in half.  Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

For the curry leaves, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Add 6 to 8 curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds.  The leaves will quickly crisp up.  Remove the leaves and place on a paper towel to drain.  Using the oil to fry the curry leaves, toast the sliced garlic until golden brown.  Remove and transfer to paper towel to drain.

To assemble, ladle cauliflower white bean soup into bowls.  Add the roasted cauliflower, fried curry leaves and toasted garlic on top of the soup.  Serve immediately.

For the beer bread, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl. Pour in the beer and stir with a mixing spoon until just combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top of the bread is lightly browned and the middle is set.

 Note: You can use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind your spices.

Broccoli & White Bean Soup w/ Cashew Cream

Springtime is almost here!  So, to get a head start on it's impending arrival, I made this Broccoli & White Bean Soup w/ Cashew Cream courtesy of Donna Hay's Fresh + Light magazine.  I'm always looking for new soups to make especially soups that are heavily vegetable based with lots of protein. First off, I love broccoli and my little ones do too. In our home, we consume it at least 3-4 times in a week as it is quick to chop and quick to steam.  Second, the white beans and the cashew cream give it that protein kick I need to fuel me when I'm on the go.

This recipe is super easy and quick to make.  To start, you need broccoli florets, leeks, chicken stock (vegetable stock to make it vegan) and white beans. Cook just until the broccoli is tender and turns a bright green color. You want to maintain those nutrients.  Blend, drizzle cashew cream, chives and Voila!  Youve got yourself a super healthy filling lunch.  Oh, and don't forget some good Whole grain crusty bread.  Enjoy!


Adapted from Donna Hay’s Fresh + Light magazine, Issue 5

1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
4 cups broccoli, finely chopped
2 cups canned white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups hot vegetable stock
3 cups hot water
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
¼ cup chopped chives
¼ cup toasted cashews, roughly chopped

cashew cream
1-cup cashews
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup water
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Soak the cashews in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
While the cashews are soaking, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the garlic, leek and broccoli.  Cook and vegetables are slightly softened.  About 5 minutes.  Add the beans, stock, water, salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.  Cook for 15 minutes until the broccoli is tender.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Once cooled, place the broccoli and white bean mixture in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Place soup in bowls

Drain cashews and place in a blender along with the garlic, lemon juice, and water.  Blend until smooth.

To assemble, top with cashew cream, toasted cashews, chopped chives, and cracked black pepper.  Serve with crusty bread.


Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl w/ Roasted Vegetables, Crispy Chickpeas, Feta and Romesco Sauce

Let me just say I am thoroughly in love with bowl life.  A long time ago, a friend of mine once told me that her husband was such a sandwich lover, that he would turn most of his meals into a sandwich. Well, that’s kind of how I feel about food bowls.  I get it!  They’re a quick way for me to get all that’s good and good for me in one compact space.  Depending on your taste, a great bowl starts with a base (rice, grain, noodles), vegetables (this is the time to clean out your fridge), protein (chicken, tofu, meat, fish, beans) and some awesome toppings (nuts, seeds, herbs, sauces…).

This Mediterranean Bowl with Roasted Vegetables started with a craving for Romesco sauce.  Romesco is a Spanish sauce consisting of tomatoes, roasted red peppers, almonds and bread (I used a breadless recipe but traditionally bread is an ingredient).  Its flavor is rich; tangy with a smoky taste that pairs well with fish, chicken and as a dip for bread and vegetables.  You can purchase it already prepared, but if you have the time, I challenge you to go for it and make it yourself. You won’t be disappointed.  Let me preface by saying that this particular recipe is not quick.  So, if you get home from work by 6:00pm and start cooking straight away, you’re looking at a 7:00pm-ish dinnertime.

With the heartiness of the Romesco sauce, I wanted vegetables that could stand up to the flavor.  Enter eggplant, cauliflower, carrots and my protein….chickpeas.   I tossed the chickpeas in a bowl with olive oil, smoked paprika, and ground cumin and roasted in the oven at 400'.  I then roasted my vegetables until fork tender on 400'.  Once the vegetables and beans were done, I began layering: Quinoa, vegetables, chickpeas, Romesco sauce, feta, and cilantro (you can use parsley also). Done and done.  Enjoy!


roasted vegetables
½ head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 lb (6 or 7) carrots, peeled
1 medium sized eggplant, cut into cubes
olive oil

crispy chickpeas
1 15-oz can chickpeas
2 T olive oil
½ t. salt
1 to 2 tsp spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika)

romesco sauce (adapted from Bon Appetit)//Yields 1 1/2  cups servings
1 large roasted red bell pepper from a jar
1 garlic clove, mashed
½ cup raw almonds, toasted
¼ cup tomato puree
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
2 T sherry vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

Place the vegetables on a sheet pan, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast on 400' for 40 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and brown.

Place chickpeas in a bowl and season with cumin and smoked paprika, or your spice of choice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on a sheet pan and bake until crisp at 400' for 30 to 40 minutes.

For the romesco sauce, place first 8 ingredients in a food processor and pulse.  With the motor running, slowly add oil and process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the sauce in a container and refrigerate for up to a week.

For serving
Cooked quinoa
Feta cheese
Cilantro or parsley