This is a soup built on layers of sweetness: sharp-sweet onion, sugary-sweet apple, cabbagey-sweet cauliflower, and syrupy-sweet roasted garlic. The body of the soup comes from red lentils, and the smoky-earthy backbone from cumin and turmeric. I love sipping this soup from a mug in front of the TV; it's nourishing and comforting, just what I want at the end of a long day.
This soup freezes very well, so feel free to make a double batch if you want. It will separate a little if refrigerated or frozen; just give it a stir once it’s reheated, and it’ll be good as new. —ieatthepeach
heads of garlic
cauliflower (about half of a large head)
olive oil, plus more for drizzling
large yellow onion, chopped
medium apple (any variety), peeled, cored, and chopped
red lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones
Preheat oven to 350º F and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Cut the heads of garlic in half widthwise around the thickest part of the bulb. Lay a piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and place the cut garlic halves in the middle. Drizzle the garlic with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic to make a closed bundle, then put the baking sheet in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes, or until the garlic inside the foil is soft when pressed. Remove the garlic from the foil and let sit until it’s cool enough to handle.
While the garlic is roasting, cut or break the cauliflower florets into 2-inch pieces, and cut the stems into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
While the garlic is roasting, heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and a large pinch of salt, and sweat for 5 minutes; add apple and sweat for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the apple pieces are soft and the onion is translucent. Add lentils, cumin, turmeric, and red chili flakes, and saute for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Add water and bay leaf and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are starting to get tender. Add cauliflower pieces and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the lentils are falling apart. Remove the bay leaf.
Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add them to the pot. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth, or transfer the mixture to a bar blender and puree in batches. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, top each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, and serve warm.
Leftover soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for 3-4 months.