Genius Cauliflower Soup

Our family has been on a quest to include more vegetables and whole grains in our diet. As we’ve gone down this path, I’ve realized that it helps to mix it up and go beyond our standby salads and steamed/stir fried vegetables. So we often have a simple pureed soup as a starter or side to our meal. What’s nice is that you can make a soup like this over the weekend or on an evening when you have a bit more time and you’ve got a readymade vegetable course for a busy night. Smooth, pureed soups are also baby-friendly which is another bonus.

Genius Cauliflower Soup

One of the pureed soups I make most often is this ingeniously simple cauliflower soup from one of my absolute favorite cookbooks “Cooking By Hand” by Paul Bertoli. Cauliflower is one of those things I’ve noticed a lot of people actively dislike, but stay with me here…. even if you’re not a fan, try this one! It might just change your mind. In the preface to this recipe, Paul Bertoli himself admits to not liking cauliflower, but enjoys this soup because it brings out the vegetable’s finest qualities. I agree. When prepared this way, cauliflower has an incredibly silky, velvety texture. You would swear that this soup was cream-based.

With only 2 ingredients (cauliflower and onion), it couldn’t be easier to make and or more versatile. It’s perfection as is, but you can also dress it up with condiments (crispy shallots, garlicky croutons, herbs, a drizzle of your finest olive oil, a pinch of spices), or use it as a sauce for a crispy fish or chicken fillet, even add it to other sauces where you want a little creaminess (mac and cheese). It’s a great dunk for a sandwich or a piece of garlic bread. So grab a head of cauliflower and an onion and give it a go!

Cauliflower Soup

(from “Cooking By Hand” by Paul Bertoli)

Ingredients: 1 Head of Cauliflower, 1 Onion, Water, Salt & Pepper

  1. Wash and trim one head of cauliflower and set aside.
  2. Saute one medium onion in a little olive oil in a large pot until translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the cauliflower to the pot along with 1/2 cup water. Cover tightly and let braise for 30 minutes (cauliflower should be tender by this point).
  4. Uncover the pot and add 4 1/2 cups water and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes. Let cool.
  5. When cool enough, puree in blender. Beware of hot foods in a blender — they can explode on you!
  6. When ready to serve, warm through and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil.

20 thoughts on “Genius Cauliflower Soup

  1. I love cauliflower soup! The version I’ve favored in my kitchen the past few winters add a couple of potatoes for thickening and also curry powder for flavor. Otherwise, it is as simple and delicious as the recipe above. YUM! And it tastes great hot or cold.

    • Lena – Yes, I know Simran wouldn’t be able to resist spicing hers up. There’s something about the simplicity of the basic version that really appeals to me, but curry would be a nice addition. I also have a fennel spice mix which is quite tasty sprinkled on top. So many options!

  2. Thanks little Yumminess! was thinking of trying some new soup….so excited to get it at the right time! sure looks good!!!
    can’t wait to try!

    • I hear you! I know when I was participating in a CSA I’d get veggies I wasn’t crazy about not crazy about and they’d just kind of sit there… sometimes you just need to find a preparation that works for you. I think cauliflower can be grainy when cooked other ways, but it’s so velvety when you make it this way. This recipe transformed me from “lukewarm” to a legitimate fan.

      • How funny that you mention CSA, because that is where the cauliflower came from! I really like the soup. I did use chicken broth instead of plain water and that gave it good flavor. I still like roasted cauliflower the best though.

  3. Let me know how you like it everyone! I’m always amazed at how cauliflower is transformed when you cook it this way… and if you haven’t checked out this cookbook, pick it up next time you see it at the library or the bookstore, it’s awesome.

    • Funny how people love it or hate it when it comes to cauliflower. It seems to conjure up some strong opinions. Definitely check out Paul Bertoli — the book is interesting it’s more like philosophical writing about food with recipes interspersed. A whole chapter on balsamic vinegar and another called “12 Ways of Looking at Tomatoes”, and even a chapter on using dessert as a starting point for thinking about a whole meal (gotta love that). I think you’ll love it.

  4. You know how much I trust you! I don’t simple “actively dislike” cauliflowers I really hate them but I am ready to give this soup a try. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • Good luck. My best friend really really really hates cauliflower — As an experiment, I’m going to see if I can get her to try this, too (she gets it in her CSA box and thinks, UGH!). I’m not sure whether people who dislike cauliflower object more to the flavor or the graininess. If the flavor bit is still an obstacle, you could probably try mixing this with another pureed soup you like.

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