Pardon me, but is that Cauliflower soup in your lasagna?
Cauliflower soup is one of the easiest soups to make, and the pureed effect gives the soup a creamy taste and texture without actually having to use heavy cream. It’s also a good way to sneak in some extra calcium to your diet. It’s super-mild as far as flavor goes, but you can elevate this unassuming potage in any number of ways with your garnishes.
It was after an overzealous cauliflower soup-making session that I discovered another reason to love my humble cauliflower soup leftovers: they made a healthy substitute for bechamel (white) sauce to make a creamy, luxurious but still low-fat white lasagna. Most white lasagna recipes call for a sauce made with milk, flour and a non-trivial amount of butter. By using pureed cauliflower soup instead of traditional bechamel, this white lasagna can be made lower fat AND gluten-free. As a bonus, the creamy texture of the soup-turned-sauce eliminates the need to put ricotta cheese in every layer, which lightens up the recipe substantially. And since making sauces from scratch can be the most time-consuming part of cooking, recycling your leftover cauliflower soup will shorten the prep time for the lasagna.
Here’s how to do it:
Cauliflower soup (serves 4… but if you’re making it with the express purpose of having leftovers, consider making a double batch)
1 large head cauliflower, roughly chopped into florets
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable, preferably low-sodium)
2 cup low fat or skim milk (or rice milk for a dairy-free version)
1) In a stockpot, add cauliflower, onion and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
2) Add milk and use immersion blender to puree the mixture in the pot. Or, transfer to a blender in batches and puree. (Remember what I told you abut investing in an immersion blender?)
3) Return the pureed soup back to the heat and allow soup to simmer uncovered until some excess liquid cooks off and soup reaches a slightly thicker texture, about 10 minutes (it shouldn’t be watery). Salt to taste if necessary.
4) To serve, garnish individual soup servings with one or more of the following:
- A few drops of truffle oil (or other flavored oil)
- A few drops of herb-infused oil, like sage or basil (take a handful of fresh herb leaves and blend with 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender; strain through cheesecloth.)
- Toasted almond slivers
- Fresh thyme leaves
- A sprinkle of freshly-grated parmesean cheese
Note: Because this soup contains liquid cow’s milk, it’s only recommended for babies age 12 months or older. If you’re making it specifically for a baby/toddler over the age of 12 months, use whole milk instead of skim and don’t add in the extra salt.
Spinach and Mushroom White Lasagna
You’ll need about 1.5 cups of leftover soup for this recipe, assuming you’re using an 8×8 baking dish. (The recipe quantities below will make lasagna for 4 in an 8×8 baking dish.) For a 9×13 size pan, just double the recipe, and consider making extra soup the day before to accommodate your leftover needs!
~1.5 cups leftover cauliflower soup,
1/2 lb no-boil lasagna (any variety; or for a gluten-free version, try DeBoles rice lasagna)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
~1 lb fresh spinach, chopped
10 oz mushrooms (cremini, baby bella or white button), washed and sliced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
8 oz grated part-skim mozzarella (You can also supplement the mozzarella with a little sprinkle of parmesean for a slightly sharper flavor.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To start, prep the vegetables as follows:
- Saute the sliced onion in 1 tsp of olive oil until soft and translucent. Set aside.
- Saute the mushrooms with 1 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp of oregano and 1/4 tsp salt until just cooked but not overly shrunken. Set aside.
- Saute the spinach in 1 tsp olive oil. As it softens, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp nutmeg and stir until just cooked. Set aside.
Spoon 1/4 of the cold cauliflower soup into the baking dish until bottom is just covered with a thin layer.
Place one layer of dry lasagna noodles into the dish to cover the bottom.
Spoon 1/2 of the onions, mushrooms and spinach, respectively, onto the noodles and spread so that they are evenly distributed. Spread another 1/4 of the cauliflower soup atop the vegetables and sprinkle half of the cheese on top.
Place another layer of dry lasagna noodles atop the vegetables and spread the remaining vegetables and another 1/4 of the soup.
Cover the vegetables with one last layer of dry lasagna noodles. Spread the remaining 1/4 of cold cauliflower soup atop the noodles. Sprinkle the second half of the shredded mozzarella atop the sauce.
Cover loosely (to avoid the cheese sticking) with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then remove foil and cook for 15 minutes more. After removing from oven, let the lasagna sit for 10 minutes before cutting.
Now, if someone can figure out a way to recycle the leftover lasagna, we can keep this cauliflower soup alive forever!Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.