Here is a tasty something that I made with the masala paste from my last recipe post. Roasting the cauliflower adds a depth of flavor that makes it seem like you spent hours making the soup, but once the masala paste is made, the soup comes together in a snap; most of the time is spend waiting for the cauliflower to roast and the lentils to become tender. (If you don’t want to make a big batch of masala paste, I’ve included instructions for making just enough for this recipe at the end.)
|Roasted cauli sort of looks like burned popcorn. It tastes much better, though!|
Roasted Cauliflower and Red Lentil Soup
1 large cauliflower, about 2-1/4 pounds
2-1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 stalk celery, diced small
1 carrot, diced small
1/3 cup All-Purpose Masala Paste (see note below)
1/3 cup red lentils
5 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
Chopped cilantro and roasted cashews for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F and oil a large baking pan. Cut cauliflower into pieces small enough to fit on a spoon. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes until cauliflower is just starting to brown.
Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large pot. Sauté celery and carrot until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in masala paste and heat through. Add lentils, vegetable broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a low boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. As soon as you take the roasted cauliflower out of the oven, add it to the soup.
Transfer a couple of cups of soup to a blender and puree until creamy; leave the center of the lid off and cover with a dish towel to prevent the steam from pushing the lid off as you blend. Add the pureed soup back to the pot and stir. You can also use a stick blender to partially blend the soup. Add more salt if desired.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro and cashews.
Serves about 5.
Note: if you don’t have masala paste already made, you’ll need:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup onion, finely diced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Heat the canola oil in a pot. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes until tender. Add the carrot and celery from above (without adding extra oil) and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and jalapeños and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, salt, garam masala, cayenne, and cilantro and cook for a minute. Proceed with the rest of the soup recipe.