This soup was inspired by a haul from my CSA and truly rocks my world. It may not seem fancy or unusual, but the addition of a goat milk béchamel to thicken the soup imparts the most divine flavor that feels at once healthy and luxurious. I’ve been sharing this recipe with vegetarian (non-vegan) friends who give it rave reviews.
Slow Cooker Cauliflower & Mushroom Soup
Ingredients for Soup Base
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into thin batons
- 1 whole cauliflower sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bunch of thyme springs (5-6 springs) tied with kitchen string
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
- 64 ounces of low sodium chicken stock (2 32-ounce cartons)
- 12 ounces of baby bella mushrooms, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
Ingredients for Béchamel Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup of goat milk (or cow milk)
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
In a slow cooker set to high, gently place the following ingredients – onion, carrots, garlic, ginger, cauliflower, bay leaves, thyme bunch, salt, pepper and chicken stock. Let the cooker work its magic for at least 4 hours.
At the 4-hour mark, add in the mushrooms into the slow cooker.
At the same time, make the béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour until dissolved and cook a couple of minutes until the mixture has turned a light beige in color. Whisk in the goat milk, cheese, nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Continue to stir for about 5 minutes while the mixture thickens.
Remove the thyme bunch and bay leaves from the soup. Stir the béchamel sauce into the soup. (At this point, I poured the contents of my slow cooker into a pot on the stove, set to medium heat, and stirred in the béchamel sauce. My slow cooker was too tiny to hold everything, but yours may be large enough for everything.)
Add the chopped parsley and taste to ensure the seasoning is to your taste. Add additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve in deep bowls with a little toasted bread and a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil.