• Suzanne Yearley

Curried Cauliflower Soup: A Quick Fix

October 17, 2018

Suzanne Yearley

After weeks and weeks of warm weather, the sudden drop in temperature took me by surprise. In my defense, it did seem that summer would last forever; that we had suddenly all picked up and moved to a temperate climate and just didn’t know it yet. Regardless of how or why, I was ill-prepared. I had no fall foods in the house: no squash, no sage, no cabbage, no brussel sprouts. Instead I was still cooking with late summer favorites: tomatoes, basil, corn and eggplant. I certainly had no soup in the freezer ready to go for that first day with a chill in the air when only a hot lunch will do. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, do not fret. This soup is the ideal solution, one that will be ready with minimal effort and ingredients that you can get at any grocery store. Although stock always adds delicious flavor, in a pinch, it can even be made with water. It is adapted from a Martha Rose Shulman recipe that appeared in the New York Times. While I like the original soup, roasting the cauliflower adds a silkiness, depth, and body not evident in the original.  This version is heartier and better ammunition against a cold day. Add an autumnal salad with apples, pears and/or cranberries, some nuts, and a protein of choice to make it a meal. Baby, it’s cold out there…stay warm!

Great Garnishes for Soup: 

Chopped fresh herbs or vegetables; fresh greens cut into thin ribbons; croutons; pasta; grains; sour cream or yogurt; extra virgin olive oil; fried herbs or shallots; a few drops of vinegar or lemon; or grated cheese.

Secrets For Success For Soup Making:

  • A wide pot is better than a tall one. The vegetables need plenty of surface area to brown rather than steam.

  • For the best flavor, make your own stock and store in the freezer for ease of use.  Click here for more on this...

  • Be careful not to burn the cauliflower or your soup will have a bitter flavor.

  • Cauliflower can be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.

  • Refrigerate, for up to 3 days, or freeze leftover soup, for up to 6 months.

  • Soup thickens as it sits. Don’t be afraid to add water to bring it back to the desired consistency.

  • Thin soup can always be boiled to concentrate flavors and thicken as long as it doesn’t contain milk, cream or eggs.

Cauliflower Soup

Adapted from the New York Times


1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

11/2 tablespoons olive oil plus an additional 1 tablespoon 

1 onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 of a large russet (Idaho) potato, peeled and diced

8 cups vegetable stock, water or chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450° F. On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower with 11/2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread out and roast until the florets are brown and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool, reserving a few tiny pieces of the crispy cauliflower to use as garnish.

When the cauliflower is ready, in a large, heavy soup pot heat the remaining oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the cauliflower, potato, stock or water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes until the potato is quite soft.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and purée (or you can use an immersion blender) until it is very smooth. If serving right away, return to the pot, heat through, add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and more stock or water if the soup is too thick. Serve, garnished with the crispy cauliflower.

Alternately, cool the soup and refrigerate fro up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Serves 6-8.

Basic Vegetable Stock

Adapted from Deborah Madison

Important note: if using this stock for the above recipe, just add water to equal 8 cups.


1 large onion

4 small carrots

2 celery ribs, including a few leaves

1 bunch scallions, including half of the greens

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

8 parsley branches

6 thyme sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried

2 bay leaves


Scrub the vegetables and chop them roughly into 1-inch chunks. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the vegetables, garlic, and herbs, and cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The more color that the vegetables get, the richer the flavor of the stock. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 2 quarts cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain.

Makes 6-7 cups.





make ahead


good for leftovers




farmer's market




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