Soup is the tasty way to get in your daily vegetables
I was recently reminded that we're supposed to eat 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day to maintain a healthy diet.
Gosh, that's a lot of green stuff -- and that's coming from a vegetarian who consumes more than her fair share of produce.
The Mayo Clinic offers a 1-2-3 approach: One serving for breakfast, two for lunch and three for dinner. This approach is a good way to keep track, but this still requires quite a bit of planning.
Of course, soup is one good way to add veggies to your diet, and this Creamy Cauliflower recipe is just the ticket. It's silky, smooth and satisfying, but, surprisingly, there's no added dairy. The richness comes from flavored olive oil that you make by heating fresh rosemary in the oil for about five minutes.
Just blend the oil with the cauliflower, garlic and onion. The soup requires a little adjusting on the fly -- it thickens as it cools, so you may need to add more broth.
Serve it with a sprinkle of grated lemon peel and croutons, which you can easily make using the leftover rosemary oil. Add a salad to the meal, and you've ticked off two vegetable servings you need for the day.
Now, just three more helpings to go.
• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's vice president of sales and marketing and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com/.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Rosemary Oil
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 4-inch rosemary sprigs
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, chopped, about 1 cup
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 head cauliflower, cored and broken down into 2-inch pieces
kosher salt, as desired
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
Place a small saucepan over medium-low heat with ¾ cup olive oil and rosemary sprigs. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, adjusting heat as needed. You do not want to fry the rosemary! Remove from heat and allow the rosemary to cool in the oil.
In a large pot over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add stock, cauliflower, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is fork-tender, about 10 minutes.
Strain the rosemary-infused oil and discard the rosemary.
Working in batches, add the vegetables, stock and ¼ cup of the oil to the blender and blend until creamy. (You can also use an immersion blender for this). Add more oil to taste. If the soup seems thin, let it simmer longer. Remember, the soup will thicken as it cools.
Serve hot with a swirl of rosemary oil, a sprinkle of lemon zest and croutons. When reheating, you might want to add more stock.
* To make your own croutons, take 3 cups of diced country bread and cook them in a tablespoon of the rosemary oil until browned all over. Season with salt and pepper.
M. Eileen Brown