the secret to simple cauliflower soup

the secret to simple cauliflower soup |

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from this whole house-move, it’s that I am in dire need of a paper shredder.

The amount of documents, scraps, and Bed & Bath coupons that I have accumulated over the years is just ridiculous. The cats have somehow claimed these piles (why do they do that?) and if anyone were to ever see this mess, one of those reality shows would probably bust down my door. I can just see it now, The Clever Carrot: Secret Hoarders of the Blogsphere.

And, I think creatures might live in there. 

the secret to simple cauliflower soup |

In honor of simplicity, today’s recipe is an easy cauliflower soup. I saw this on America’s Test Kitchen and they did something really cool with their preparation; they cooked the cauliflower in batches. Why bother? Can’t you just throw it all in at once and be done with it? Apparently, this adds depth of flavor. First, you cook 3/4’s of the cauliflower for about 30 minutes to develop a deep, nutty sweetness. If you’ve ever had roasted cauliflower before, you already know how yummy and sweet they get. Then, the remaining cauliflower goes in for only 15 minutes, which lends a ‘bright & grassy’ note according to the chef.

The big cauliflower stem, sliced thin, is also used to add creaminess to the soup.

the secret to simple cauliflower soup |

 In addition to this unique cooking preparation, water is used instead of stock. I barely ever use water in my soups because I think of it as bland and boring (well, because it is). But in doing so, you can really taste the cauliflower without it being lost and muddled amongst the other ingredients.

I also add toasted panko breadcrumbs and pretty purple chive flowers from the garden.

the secret to simple cauliflower soup |

As I gaze up at these photos, it will never cease to amaze me how simple dishes can seem so baffling. Really? Just cauliflower and water? Cooking in batches? What? I’ve learned that it takes some serious constraint to do simple food, because overdone recipes tend to be more ‘impressive’. But to me, less is more. Always.

So now if you’ll excuse me, I have some cats to displace and a mountain of junk to go shred…

the secret to creamy cauliflower soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 leek, white + light green part only
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • water
  • salt + pepper
  • ½ c. panko breadcrumbs
  • fresh chives
  1. In a small saute pan, gently toast the breadcrumbs with a little olive oil until golden. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a large, heavy bottom pot warm the butter and olive oil over moderate heat.
  3. Remove the large stem from the cauliflower, and thinly slice into rounds. Cut the rest into florets and toss together to combine.
  4. Thinly slice the leek and onion, and add to the pot. Saute for about 3-5 minutes or until soft.
  5. Add ¾'s of the cauliflower, reserving some to add towards the end of cooking. Season with salt + pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add enough water to cover (about 4 cups) and place the lid on the pot. Bring to a gentle boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 45 minutes.
  7. Add the reserved cauliflower and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until tender.
  8. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender). Add more water if it's too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls and snip fresh chives over the top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  10. Serve warm.


  1. says

    Delicious Emilie. The simple approach is always the best. I can’t wait to try this soup, perfect timing as it is winter here in Sydney and there are lovely snowy white cauliflowers in season xx

  2. says

    Really good cauliflower soup doesn’t need more ingredients, but that two step cooking trick is genius! Thanks Em! Good luck with the paper management! :)

    • Emilie says

      Welcome Rae! This is a wonderful, simple soup filled with healthy nutrients. The addition of panko breadcrumbs gives the silky texture a nice crunch. I hope you like it! :)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Pamela! This is excellent for a low-carb diet. Plus, it has a lovely creamy texture without the fat. In addition to being low-carb, cauliflower is exceptionally good for you. It’s a superfood! Make a big batch to freeze so you’ll always have dinner (or lunch) ready to go. That’s what I do. Enjoy!

  3. Marlene says

    Hi, making creamy cauliflower soup today. When it comes to cauliflower, I’ve never found any with long stems or much of a stem at all. Will the lack of stem make a big difference in this soup? Thanks M

  4. Jessica says

    I made this for Thanksgiving a few years ago and it was a HUGE hit. I’m about to start a batch for this year’s Thanksgiving and plan to freeze it to take a few to dos off my list the week of. Hopefully it’s just as delicious after being frozen!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Jessica! That’s fantastic! I’m so glad the recipe was a hit. You know, the holidays are all about getting ahead and mastering that to-do list, right? Regarding freezing the soup, it should work well. It’s not like a pureed potato soup where the texture tends to change after freezing. Hope this helps! Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>