Soup For a Summer Evening: Grilled Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

When I first thought about making this soup, I felt that the season and the veggies didn’t go together. Broccoli and cauliflower are usually part of a rich creamy soup that in Mama D’s Kitchen has bacon and cheese as ¬†mandatory ingredients. It creates a soup that is perfect for crisp autumn days and cold winter nights. I love how the smokey salty flavor of the bacon brings out something special in the vegetables. Full flavored cheese has the same magical powers. We are in the hea(r)t of summer and as delicious as those flavors are, they are just too heavy when the thermometer is tickling the 90’s.

The question then becomes, can there be a summer weight broccoli and cauliflower soup? Why yes, yes, there can, and if I do say so myself, it’s very tasty and there isn’t a bit of bacon or cheese, or even cream for that matter. This could fit into a Vegan meal or star in a Meatless Monday one. I think it is also gluten-free, so whatever your dietary restrictions you can enjoy this soup.

It starts with vegetable stock. I always have bags of it in the freezer for just this kind of occasion. Obviously there was broccoli and cauliflower along with some onion, carrots and garlic. To create a more interesting texture I chopped up half of the broccoli and cauliflower including the stems and ends and let them sweat it out with the onion, carrots and garlic. I reserved the rest of the veggies to cut into bite size florets. More about them later.

I added the stock to the now sweaty veggies and allowed everything to come to a boil. I added a big bunch of lemon thyme as well as the peel of a lemon to the pot. I left the thyme sprigs whole and tied them to the handle of the pot. The leaves fall off during the cooking process and the stems get untied and put into the compost bin. I used a peeler to remove just the yellow part of the lemon peel. I kept it in one long piece that was easy to remove at the end of the simmer. I may have left a little in the pot, but it would soon become one with the soup.

The immersion blender did its magic and my soup base, beautifully thick, was ready. Salt, pepper and a touch of Worcestershire and hot sauce gave it a little more dimension. What to do with the remaining broccoli and cauliflower? Summer and the grill go hand in hand so I popped my reserved veggies in a grill basket along with some sweet onion and a drizzle of olive oil.

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I grilled them covered for maximum smokieness and in about 7 minutes they were ready to plunge into the soup base.

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The resulting soup was a perfect marriage of a hearty main dish soup with the smokey flavor of tender crisp veggies from the grill. We didn’t miss the bacon or the cheese. What could I add? Some sliced green onions were perfect, but a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream for the non-vegans would be nice as well.

DIGITAL CAMERAThis recipe would work beautifully with only one or the other of the cruciferous vegetables. As with most any soup, it freezes beautifully and is even tastier re-heated the next day.

Grilled Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Grilled Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Chop one of the onions. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the chopped onions, garlic and carrots to the pot and sweat over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes. The vegetables should be softened and fragrant.
  2. Add one cup of each the broccoli and cauliflower to the pot using as many of the stems as possible. Cook for 3 minutes or so.
  3. Pour the vegetable stock into the pot and increase the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Tie the bunch of thyme together with kitchen twine. Leave enough string to allow the thyme to be submerged in the soup and the twine to be tied to the pot handle.
  5. Using a potato peeler, cut the yellow skin off the lemon. You want the yellow part, not the white pith. Drop it into the pot.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot. Simmer for 45 minutes. The vegetables should be very soft, the leaves should be off of the thyme sprigs and everything should smell delicious.
  7. Remove the soup from the heat and remove the thyme bundle and the lemon peel.Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is almost smooth. Add the Worcestershire and hot sauces and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. While the soup is simmering, slice the remaining onion lengthwise into the strips. Toss with the rest of the broccoli and cauliflower. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and toss to combine.
  9. Coat a grill basket with cooking spray and heat on the grill. Add the broccoli/cauliflower/onion mixture to the pan. Put the lid down on the grill and cook the vegetables for 7 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Everything should be tender crisp and slightly browned.
  10. Add the grilled vegetables to the pureed soup and cook for a few minutes until everything is heated through.
  11. Ladle into bowls and top with a sprinkling of green onions.
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So another summertime soup is born. Give this a try. I think you’ll find the smokey taste delightful.

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