Creamy cauliflower and almond soup with almond balls and dukkah, a delicious vegetarian starter for Christmas lunch or dinner.
In case you haven't yet started thinking about what you will cook for Christmas, now would be the time to start doing it. 🙂
Many of my friends already know what they will cook, especially the traditionalists like my mother-in-law, who tend to cook the same meal each Christmas, but there are still some who still don't have a clue and keep asking around: “And what will you cook for Christmas this year because I still have no idea?”.
The proposed menu includes today's cauliflower and almond soup with dukkah, an Oven Slow-Cooked Leg of Turkey with Brussels Sprouts with Potatoes.
As a vegetarian alternative to the turkey leg, I chose an amazing Stuffed Cabbage Cake, which can be served with a nice salad.
And for the sweet part: my favorite dessert ever the Yogurt Bomb with Berries. On top of that a delicious Walnut Buttercream Cake.
Table of contents
What do you need?
For the soup:
- Cauliflower (fresh or frozen), butter, olive oil, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, double/heavy cream, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and parsley.
For the almond balls:
- Ground almonds, dried breadcrumbs, eggs.
For the dukkah:
- Whole almonds, olive oil, whole coriander, cumin and fennel seeds.
How to make the soup?
- Divide the clean cauliflower into florets and chop the stem into small cubes.
- Finely chop the onions and the garlic cloves.
- In a large soup pot heat the oil and the butter. Cook the onions and garlic until translucent, add the cauliflower, stir well and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add stock, bring to a boil. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
- Puree the soup, stir in the cream.
- Adjust the taste generously with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice.
How to make almond balls?
- Mix together the breadcrumbs, ground almonds, the two whole eggs, salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk the remaining egg white and carefully fold into the breadcrumb mixture.
- Leave to rest for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Wet your hands and form the little balls, about 30-32.
- Add some salt to the cooking water and simmer the balls for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.
- Add the balls to the soup.
How to make dukkah?
- Toast the almonds in a frying pan without adding any fat, for a few minutes or until fragrant and golden. Transfer immediately from the pan.
- Toast the coriander seeds the same way but for a shorter time, until they are fragrant as well. Add them to the almonds
- Toast the cumin seeds, add them to the almonds as well.
- Toast the fennel seeds and add them to the other ingredients.
- Don't toast them all together, each sort requires another toasting time.
- Place all the spices in a small food processor or in a mortar with a pestle and grind them roughly.
- Add olive oil to form a rough paste, which can be swirled into the soup.
- Source for the dukkah: Orient Express by Silvena Rowe. (Amazon affiliate link)
Make in advance
The soup and the dukkah can be made a day in advance. Cook the almond balls as well and keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat well in the soup.
Other Christmas starter soup ideas
Cauliflower and Almond Soup
- Cauliflower soup:
- 2.2 lbs cauliflower 1 kg
- 1 medium onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 cups good-quality vegetable stock 1.2 liter
- ½ ml heavy cream 125 ml
- fine sea salt and pepper
- lemon juice
- Almond balls:
- ½ cup dried breadcrumbs 40 g
- ½ cup ground almonds 60 g
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg white
- ⅓ cup whole almonds 50 g
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
- ¼ tablespoon fennel seeds
- 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
- Prepare vegetables: Divide the clean cauliflower into florets and chop the stem into small cubes. Finely chop the onions and the garlic cloves.
- Saute: In a large soup pot, heat the oil and the butter. Cook the onions and garlic until translucent, add the cauliflower, stir well and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Simmer: Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Puree the soup, stir in the cream, and adjust the taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and some lemon juice.
- Mix: While the soup is cooking, make the almond balls. In a large bowl, mix breadcrumbs, ground almonds, the two whole eggs, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the remaining egg white and carefully fold into the breadcrumb mixture. Leave the mixture to rest for about 15 minutes.
- Form balls: In the meantime bring a pot of water to a boil. Wet your hands and form the little balls, I had 32 of them.
- Cook balls: Add some salt to the cooking water and simmer the balls for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Add the balls to the soup.
- Toast the almonds in a small frying pan without adding any fat for a few minutes or until fragrant and golden. Stay close all the time and stir or shake the pan very often. Remove the almonds from the pan.
- Toast the coriander seeds the same way but for a shorter time until they are fragrant. Add them to the almonds, then toast the cumin seeds, add them to the almonds as well, then toast the fennel seeds. Don't toast them all together; each sort requires another toasting time.
- Combine: Place all the spices in a small food processor or in a mortar with a pestle and grind them roughly. Add olive oil to form a rough paste, which can be swirled into the soup.
- Serve the soup with the balls, dukkah, and lots of parsley sprinkled on top.
Sounds great! I'm torn between something traditional-British or something completely different. My husband would like some Romanian dishes because he likes them, but I would rather try new things. We always have to think and talk about what should I (or we) prepare. 🙂
Chris Scheuer says
I think this would be delicious any day of the year, not just Christmas! I'm like you, I like variety.
Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen says
I guess I can't wait till Christmas to enjoy this creamy cauliflower soup, because this is making me drool, Adina. 🙂 And those almond balls and almond dukkah sound wonderful. I bet they all taste awesome together.
Angie@Angie's Recipes says
Looks creamy and delicious..love those almond balls.
I've made cauliflower soup, which I love, but never had almond balls. That is such a nice extra special touch.
Kim | Low Carb Maven says
I'm a fan of those delicious looking almond balls. I don't think I've ever had anything like them. I often make creamy cauliflower soup. I'm going to try this version for sure! Adina, since I don't eat bread, do you think a mild hard cheese would work as a binder in the meatballs? I understand that the texture and flavor will be different, but any bread that I would make would be made from almonds anyway, lol.
Cheese is worth a try but I haven't tried it myself. My grandma used to replace the breadcrumbs in regular meatballs with grated raw potatoes sometimes, also carbs, but better than bread I suppose. And I have used low-fat quark for regular meatballs as well a few times. Let me know if you succeed with the cheese.
Season of cauliflower and this soup is the perfect one...
Easy is the way to go when it comes to xmas dinners. Your menu sounds perfect!
Every year on Dec. 24th, my husband's family makes the same thing: roasted duck in Römertopf, Rotkohl and boiled potatoes with parsley on top. Just like you, I always make something different on Christmas day. Two years ago, I had planned an elaborate meal and bought all the ingredients that I needed on Dec. 23rd. That same evening, my B-I-L called saying that he picked up a 3 kg pork shoulder from a friend of his and he wanted to make it for xmas eve. I couldn't say no because he had to leave on the 25th. I tried salvaging whatever food I could, but then ended up throwing a lot of it away. The lesson that I learned is that I won't plan anything 'in advance' and wait till the last minute to make a simple meal for xmas. I leave the elaborate meals for Sundays.