by Tanuja Kulkarni
I grew up loving cauliflower in my mother’s Indian cooking. To this day, my hands-down, all-time favorite dish is her Rasa bhaji. The house would fill with its aroma, as it stewed on the stove. It consists of potatoes, peas, and cauliflower in a tomato-onion gravy with turmeric, mustard seeds, garlic, ginger, coconut, cinnamon, and cloves…just to name a few spices. It’s a traditional home-cooked Maharashtrian dish eaten with pori (also known as roti). I’m sure this reads like an Indian restaurant menu, however, you won’t find that there.
Rasa bhaji has long been my go-to cauliflower recipe, but, while staring at the white curd (the white, edible portion of cauliflower) in my fridge, I decided to try something new. Here’s a recipe for a hearty, nutritious soup in all shades of white that proves you don’t always need to ‘eat the rainbow’.
White vegetables and legumes provide loads of beneficial nutrients. Onions are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Cannellini beans contain iron, calcium, thiamin, protein, potassium, carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Garlic contains phytonutrients. Last but not least, one cup of cauliflower contains 77% of your daily Vitamin C needs and 10% of daily fiber.)
1 large cauliflower, about 1.5 pounds, cut into florets
1 head of garlic
2 medium onions, halved
1 15-oz. can Cannellini beans, rinsed (or another white bean)
4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
For Grilled Cheese Dippers:
2 slices of your favorite bread
2 slices of your favorite cheese(s)
2 tsp butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Toss cauliflower and onion with 1½ Tbsp olive oil and place in a roasting pan.
- Trim the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves. Place whole head on small piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with ½ Tbsp olive oil. Wrap the foil around the head of garlic.
- Roast garlic, cauliflower, and onions for 40 minutes and rotate vegetables halfway through cooking for even browning.
- Unwrap foil from garlic and let cool. Once garlic has cooled, push cloves out of their papery layers.
- Combine roasted garlic with cauliflower, onions, Cannellini beans, and vegetable broth and blend using an immersion or standard blender until smooth.
- Transfer to a large pot, add salt and sugar, and bring to boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low for 20 minutes.
- Add pepper to taste and serve with Grilled Cheese Dippers.
For Grilled Cheese Dippers:
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat.
- Put slices of cheese between your favorite bread. (Want some zing? Add tomato slices and a few squirts of Sriracha hot sauce.) Butter the outside sides of each piece of bread.
- Place sandwich in preheated pan and press firmly until both sides are toasted and cheese has melted (about 2-3 minutes on each side).
- Slice the sandwich lengthwise to make long grilled cheese dippers for the soup.
- Dip and enjoy!
Keep it warm & toasty! Winter is coming…
Tanuja Kulkarni is a 2nd year MS/MPH student. In her spare time, she loves the challenge of pulling together recipes with whatever she has in the kitchen.