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Golden Cauliflower Soup

Posted Oct 24 2012 11:05am
Oct 24, 2012 Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in Blog, Recipes, Soups, Veggies | 26 comments

It’s not exactly soup weather in Austin yet. The temperature is still annoyingly hovering in the high 80s, and the stack of (super cute) sweaters I bought a few weeks ago sits on my shelf, mocking me and the life choices that brought me to the land of perpetual flip flops and the (questionable) glory of swimming holes.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t eat soup.

In fact, I’m eating my soup so defiantly, I’m eating it for breakfast. Soup in the a.m. is an easy, cheater way to get extra vegetables into my belly, and it’s a good stand-in for coffee or tea: it’s comforting, warm, cozy, and bonus! it gets eaten instead of drunk. (‘Cause being drunk that early in the morning would be a bad way to start the day.)

With this soup, cauliflower proves once again that it is the ultimate magical vegetable. This puréed soup is creamy, smooth, and fluffy — like pillows and happy clouds and Smudge. It’s great topped with herbs (dried or fresh chives, Penzeys Fox Point Seasoning, freshly chopped parsley), spices (cinnamon and nutmeg, Ras el Hanout, Penzeys Tsardust Memories), or luscious fat (a little melted ghee or extra-virgin olive oil, finely chopped nuts or pine nuts). Slurp!

Serves 4-6 | Prep 10 min | Cook 60 min

1 large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 large carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk


1. Wash and core the cauliflower, then coarsely chop. Set aside.

2. Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, carrots, and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped cauliflower and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the broth and water, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes.

4. Working in batches, carefully transfer the cauliflower and some of the broth to a blender or food processor. Cover the top with a dish towel to protect yourself from splatters, and purée the cauliflower until smooth, adding more broth as necessary.

5. Pour the purée back into the soup pot, then add the salt, pepper, and coconut milk. Stir to combine and cook over medium until heated through. Serve immediately with garnishes, or store covered in the refrigerator. To reheat, warm the soup gently over medium-low heat until bubbly.

I tried adding herbs and spices during cooking, but got the best results when I kept the soup plain and added seasonings at the end as garnishes as recommended above. I also experimented with chicken broth, beef broth, water, and different combos of all three for the base of this soup; the hands-down winner was beef broth. The versions made with chicken broth (and celery) ended up tasting too much like gravy. (If you’re looking for a healthy gravy you can ladle over chicken or turkey, cut this recipe in half, add a stalk of celery with the carrot/onion and use all chicken broth for the liquid.)

Gingery Pork & Bok Choy Soup
10-Minute Pizza Soup

  1. Lydia says:

    Yay! This is going in my AIP-okay recipe pile come January. Thank you!

  2. LMoll says:

    Is this Whole30 compliant? It looks like it, and looks delicious, so I hope it is!

    • Lauren says:

      It’s definitely Whole 30 compliant! Mel is doing the Whole 30 right now and all of those ingredients are allowed on the Whole 30.

      • Mel says:

        Thanks, Lauren!

        LMoll, almost all of my recipes are Whole30 compliant, and when they’re not, I clearly explain in the recipe that they’re “treats” or offer ingredient substitutions to make them Whole30 complian.

  3. kelly alice. says:

    these days i’m less interested in if something is “whole30 compliant” and more interested in the macronutrients. any thoughts about publishing that kind of info with your recipes?

    • Mel says:

      I don’t put my recipes through nutrition calculators because even though I track macronutrients, I don’t do it for individual recipes.

      This is almost ALL vegetables, so I figure a cup of soup is roughly equivalent to a cup of cauliflower. There’s 1/2 cup of coconut milk, so if you divided the soup into, say, 6 servings, that would be 1/6 of a 1/2 cup of coconut milk, which is pretty minimal fat… roughly 4 grams of fat.

      Anyway. That’s the scoop on this soup, but no, I won’t be included nutrition info with recipes.

  4. Anita says:

    You mentioned that you were working on this recipe a while back and I’ve been anxiously awaiting it’s appearance…and here it is on my birthday! Thanks!! :-)

  5. barb says:

    Cauliflower soup in virtually any form is amazing. I make one with home made chicken stock (bone broth) & bacon. I puree most of it but leave a few smallish chunks. It’s a dead ringer, flavor wise, for my old childhood favorite campbells bean & bacon soup. (except without all the toxic gick)

  6. Okay I totally made something just like this on accident a few months ago. Divine.

  7. Laurie says:

    Perfect! No dairy and it looks so wonderfully creamy and delicious. Will definitely try this!

  8. Kathy says:

    A question about cauliflower…..

    How do I avoid the sweet taste that I get whenever I use it? Is it a cooking method thing? Cooked too long? Not long enough? I’ve used frozen florets and fresh cauliflower – same result.

    I really want to love all things cauliflower, especially the basics like smashed cauliflower, cauli-rice and now this lovely soup, but the sweetness just doesn’t set right with me.

    • Mel says:

      Cauliflower is naturally pretty sweet — that’s why most people like it ;-)

      You might try sticking to recipes that use “darker” spices with some heat, like chili powder, for example. Roasting and caramelizing the cauliflower — like this recipe and my cocoa-toasted cauliflower in Well Fed — actually heighten the sweetness, so less cooking might work better for you.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks for the recipe! I now know what I am making with the head of cauliflower in the fridge. I recently got your new book and I have to say great recipes, great photo’s and great layout. I’ve really enjoyed reading it and making mayo, chocolate chili, creamy cucumber salad and more. I look forward to your next book!

  9. Therese says:

    Perfect timing!! The cold and rain continues here in the SF Bay Area and this soup looks warm and comforting as well as easy. Another Well Fed winner.

  10. AKM says:

    YAY! I can’t wait to make this. Thanks, nice lady!

  11. Kristen says:

    Thank you for this delicious recipe! I just whipped it up while prepping my food for the week. I had a bunch of broccoli stems so I threw them in for some extra veggie goodness and it is delicious :) Your cookbook is becoming my paleo bff!

  12. Alisha says:

    Sweet! I’ll be trying a cheater version of this tonight with frozen cauliflower

  13. Liz says:

    Yay! I’ve got cauliflower in the fridge I need to use!!

    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!!

  14. Teri Pittman says:

    In the interest of giving back, I actually made butternut squash soup today! I used chicken broth, the squash and a little coconut milk. I added about a tablespoon of sunbutter and seasoned with curry powder. It really turned out nice. It’s cool and wet here, so this will be the next soup I make!

  15. Cathy M says:

    Yay! Snow on the ground here in Denver, and a new, yummy soup recipe to make for dinner! Sounds like fate…

  16. Nae says:

    Wow I just made this soup and I’m in love!!! So comforting :)

  17. Claire Clark says:

    Looks lovely though as we are vegetarian will be using veg stock.. Will let you know..

    Snow on the ground here in NE Scotland too..

  18. 1. You crack me up
    2. Enjoy the weather, it’s snowing here -.-
    3. I always eat dinner for breakfast so this is right up my alley!

  19. Colleen says:

    Ran across this luscious little number this morning. I was already planning on making Diane Sanfilippo’s Quick & Easy Salmon Cakes for brunch. What an amazing pairing! Topped the soup with Penzey’s Tsar Dust, red hawaiian sea salt and fresh parsley. I swear my hubby and I were making little piggy noises while we were eating!

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