As of today, there are twenty-two days until Easter, which means we’re just past the midpoint of the season of Lent. As I’ve mentioned before, our family is Catholic, so we observe the three traditions of the Church for this progression toward Easter: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. For me, prayer and almsgiving are the easy ones….it’s fasting that really gets my goat. I’ve been known to give up some pretty lame stuff for Lent (like this year’s texting and driving, which, duh, I shouldn’t be doing anyway) as well as fail miserably (like the year I “gave up” wine, ha). What can I say? Deprivation is intrinsically difficult. Thankfully we have a forgiving God!
The one aspect of Lenten fasting that comes naturally for our family is the practice of going meatless on Fridays. We’re already about halfway vegetarian. I like to think of us as one of those mixed breed dogs with silly names, like “Labradoodle” or “Bullnese.” We would be “Vegemeaters,” as in “meat-eater-vegetarian mix.” Westminster Dog Show, here we come! (But not to eat the dogs–we’re not that kind of meat eaters.)
Although doing without meat is something our family has grown accustomed to, it never fails that on Fridays during Lent, the one day my mind and spirit are saying no to meat, my body starts screaming, “BAAAAACOOOONNNN!!! FOOOOTLONG HOT DOG!! IN-N-OUT BURRRRRRGERRR!!!” I of course have to quell these protests by reminding myself that I choose to go without meat on Fridays for a very good reason. (Remembering Christ’s suffering in the flesh on Good Friday.) But it also helps a whole lot to plan a vegetarian meal I’ll really look forward to.
Like this Roasted Cauliflower Soup.
While it may not look like the most appealing vegetarian entree–in fact, it basically looks like oatmeal–the taste is phenomenal. The toasty caramel veneer of roasted cauliflower, a hint of nutmeg, a kick of black pepper–make it with homemade chicken broth and you’ll really knock it out of the park. If I were going to open a Wildflower Bread-esque soup-and-salad restaurant, this soup would be in the regular rotation. Thinking about it throughout the day is enough to smack the hot dog screams into submission…until next week.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)
2 lb. head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. milk
4 c. chicken broth
1. Preheat oven to 425. In a small bowl, mix nutmeg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Spread cauliflower florets on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with oil and season with spice mixture; toss to coat.
2. Roast cauliflower in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring once. When it comes out of the oven, mash lightly with a potato masher.
3. Melt the butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook and stir until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
4. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to coat. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and milk and stir with a whisk until the flour is dissolved. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened, then reduce heat to low. Stir in the semi-mashed cauliflower.
Serves 4 as a main course.