Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower is not one of my favorite vegetables. I will eat it raw, if I feel obligated, but never on my own accord. I tolerate it steamed or boiled, think it is actually pretty good when roasted with some good flavors  but thought it made a great soup.

Throughout the internet, there happens to be quite the controversy about cauliflower soup. There are the purists, who think you should leave the cauliflower unadulterated, the only flavor star of the show...with very little backup. Then there are others who would add all sorts of cream and butter and put in cauliflower just to make themselves feel good that they ate a vegetable. I tried several versions in between and actually came out with a surprising conclusion... the simplest version, with the least ingredients came out just as good, if not better than the one that was helped along with milk and butter. The trick, my friends, is cooking it slow and low.

Time helps develop the subtle flavor that cauliflower usually has and bring out a hint of sweetness. It doesn't need a lot else, well, maybe an onion. Remember this when you cringe at the fact that you use water... yes, water as the base. Resist the very strong temptation to add things (until the end), like all good recipe-tweakers like myself feel like they have to do. Give chef Paul Bertolli (who was the originator of this recipe) a little credit and allow yourself to taste cauliflower at it's best. I added only one thing at the end... the bit of nutmeg. It rounds off the flavors nicely bringing in that bit of depth I felt it needed, without destroying the creamy cauliflower goodness. Other people suggested tarragon, green onions, lemon, parsley, celery seed, etc. as garnishes. Knock yourself out with that. Nutmeg and pepper were just right for me.

Bonus: This is also one of the most allergy-friendly recipes you can find. 

Cauliflower Soup
3 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 pinch salt
6 cups water
fresh ground pepper
fresh ground nutmeg

  • Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Sweat the onions in the pan for about 15 min. on LOW heat (you don't want them to brown). 
  • Add the cauliflower, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and steam it for 15 min on MEDIUM LOW heat. 
  • Add 4 1/2 cups more water and bring to a low simmer for 20 more minutes, uncovered. 
  • Put into blender (in batches, if needed) and blend to a smooth, creamy consistency. I tried it with an immersion blender and couldn't get as great of a consistency. Use a blender.
  • Let it sit overnight. (if you can't do that, let it sit at least 20 min.)
  • Reheat soup and thin with 1 cup of water or to desired thickness. 
  • Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, cracked pepper, pinch of nutmeg, and a little extra salt if needed.


  1. So, this was DELICIOUS! I was a bit skeptical but I had some cauliflower that needed to be used and so I made soup out of it. I loved the nutmeg on top. Yummy!

  2. Tried it another time using leftover steamed cauliflower and it made it much faster. topped with a little cheese for something different and was very good. Now I’m thinking if I added some garlic, it would make a good dairy-free Alfredo sauce...trying that soon