We’re very ready for spring and all of its tender, green produce, but unfortunately it’s still very much soup weather around here. I think that soups are such lifesavers for busy people. They’re simple to make, hard to mess up, and can be customized millions of ways. You can make a giant soup for the week and have warming, wholesome meals right at your fingertips when you don’t have the energy to cook. They’re easy to bring to go in a mason jar or thermos. It’s also great to freeze some soup, which will always be appreciated later, in the midst hangry emergencies.
We had two goals for this chowder – we wanted it to be creamy, filling, and comforting, but also light and a bit different from the squash and root vegetable soups that are always around in the winter. Just a little nod to spring :)
The creaminess in this chowder comes from blended roasted cauliflower, mushrooms, and chickpeas. There’s no cashews or any nut-based products, since we wanted to go for a lighter soup. I think that cauliflower works so well in creating both a chowder-like consistency and flavor here, while the roasted mushrooms bring an extra depth of flavor. There are also green peas for more springy vibes, along with a base of mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery), and smoked paprika.
When it comes to creamy soups, we still love having some chunky texture present, so we leave some of the cauliflower, mushrooms, and chickpeas whole here. The chowder just tastes more like a meal this way, but it could definitely also serve as a side in smaller portions. We’ll be showing the step-by-step process for preparing this chowder on our Instagram Stories later today, and we’ll also save it in our Highlights. Hope you try this one and have a great weekend :)
- olive oil
- toasted sesame oil (optional)
- 1 yellow onion - chopped
- 1 medium carrot - cubed
- 1 stick of celery - sliced
- sea salt
- 3 cloves of garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- ¾ cup dried chickpeas - soaked overnight or up to 24 hours
- 8 cups purified water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large head of cauliflower - cut into bite-sized florets
- 10 oz crimini mushrooms - cut into quarters or eighths for bigger mushrooms
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- juice from 1 lemon
- fresh herbs - for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Warm a soup pot over medium heat. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and sesame oil, if using. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pot, along with a pinch of salt. Cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, and nutritional yeast, if using, and stir around for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Drain and thoroughly rinse the chickpeas and add them to the pot, stirring to coat. Add the water and bay leaves, bring the liquid up to a simmer and cook, with the pot lid askew, for 30 minutes. Taste a few chickpeas after the 30 minutes, they should be cooked and creamy inside. If the chickpeas are not yet done, cook them longer. This process can take up to an hour or even longer with some older chickpeas. Generously salt the chickpea broth towards the end of the chickpea cooking time.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare two rimmed, parchment paper-covered baking trays. Place the cauliflower on one of the trays and the mushrooms - on the other one. Drizzle both the cauliflower and mushrooms with olive oil (or other roasting oil of choice), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir. Place both trays in the preheated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway, until the cauliflower is soft and caramelized. The mushrooms will release water while roasting, so that's why using a rimmed baking tray helps.
- Once the chickpeas are cooked and the vegetables are roasted, add the cauliflower and mushrooms to the pot with the chickpeas, stirring to combine. Add about half of the soup to an upright blender, making sure to catch plenty of chickpeas, cauliflower, and mushrooms for creaminess. Blend until smooth and return the blended liquid to the soup pot, mixing everything together. Bring the soup back up to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes for the flavors to merge. Turn off the heat and stir in the peas, which will thaw immediately in the hot soup. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed. Serve the chowder, garnished with fresh herbs, a drizzle of sesame oil or olive oil, and with a side of toasted sourdough bread or croutons. Enjoy!