Curried Cauliflower Soup – with Coconut Milk.

Cauliflower is a big boring bland vegetable in my books. BUT roast that sucker, add in toasted curry & coconut milk and you have a flavourful wintery soup. It’s not boring. It’s badass.

I say that as the granddaughter of a Danish sailer who to the best of my knowledge never had scurvy and therefore was never confused with cauliflower soup.

I made this soup last week with the last of the cauliflower from my garden. It’s a sad time when the last of the vegetables are harvested and the garden goes to bed for the winter. Cleaning up the garden for winter is like having your therapist slam the door on you and saying their next available appointment is in 6 months. You can read about how gardening is therapy here.

I made it intending to freeze it for winter but ultimately leaned more towards eating it all then licking the pot.

I did reserve a bowl for Betty because I’m very, very nice and nothing scores points with Betty like food. Any food. Truthfully I could have won the exact same number of points by bringing her half a package of sightly dried out hotdogs.

I’m not a vegan or vegetarian by any stretch but for those of you who are, this recipe is entirely plant based and comes together in about 30 minutes. 40 if you’re being leisurely.

Like I said, on its own, cauliflower is an insipid little vegetable with the personality of a plastic spoon.

It’s the tofu of the vegetable world – horrifying on its own but if you give it a dance partner it’ll be tap dancing from your tongue to your tummy.

In this case your oven is an ideal dance partner for cauliflower.

How to Roast Cauliflower

Roasting will give any vegetable a nutty caramelly flavour. This is only a problem if you don’t happen to like nutty caramelly flavours. Weirdo.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut cauliflower florets into slices. Cutting slices as opposed to using full florets is how you get the maximum roasted flavour. Slices have much more surface area touching the baking sheet than florets do. That’s what gives you more roasty flavour.
  3. Place slices on a slightly oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with your favourite seasonings (in this case I used salt, pepper and curry) and bake for 20 minutes (or until golden on the bottom) in a 425 F oven. There’s no need to flip it.

I also roast my sweet potato fries, which with a bit of cornstarch before baking are guaranteed crispy. Get the recipe and method for my sweet potato fries here.

That caramelization is what gives cauliflower personality and better flavour. You don’t need to blacken the it but the more golden colour, the more flavour you’ll get.

Giving Cauliflower Soup Flavour

It can be bland but you’ll get a whole lot of flavour in cauliflower soup through the liquid base you use and the spices.

Coconut milk (which is often solid at the top of the can with liquid underneath so don’t forget to stir it up) gives this soup a creaminess without using milk, cream, cornstarch or anything like that.

Spices are the other thing that obviously give flavour, but this is especially true for cauliflower soup. Because cauliflower is so bland the spices are what you’re really going to notice in the soup so don’t go overboard. This vegetable doesn’t have the strength to fight back against bossy spices.

For this soup I’m using 3 ground spices that go perfectly with both coconut milk and cauliflower:

  • Curry
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon

Spice Tips

  • Fresh grind whole spices just before you cook if you can. The minute you crush or grind a spice they start to lose their aromatic oils. The fresher the grind the better the flavour/aromatics.
  • Throw out your old spices and replace them. Only buy enough ground spices to last you for a few months. Beyond that they’re really just slightly good smelling sawdust.
  • Cook your spices. Spices are raw and they’re meant to be cooked. Toasted preferably. Instead of just throwing your spices in a pot while you’re cooking, make a little space for them on the bottom of the pot and toast them for 45 seconds or until you can really start to smell them. Then mix them in. If toasting them in the pot isn’t possible, toast them in a pan first then add them to the recipe.

Those are the two main reasons this recipe works. Coconut milk and spices. Not really all that revolutionary is it?

Coconut milk and spices make everything better.

Once your cauliflower is roasted you really just add it to a pot with everything else (spices, water, coconut milk, onion … let it simmer and soften.

As aways, taste test whatever you’re cooking as you’re cooking it. If the flavours need adjustment, adjust them.

Once the cauliflower has softened you blend until silky smooth and start serving. You can use an immersion blender or a regular old blender. I swear by my Vitamix (which would make a great Christmas present for anyone who loves to cook by the way)

Colourful cauliflower soup in an ironstone bowl topped with sliced roasted cauliflower, coriander and a swirl of yogurt.

Curried Cauliflower Soup - with Coconut Milk.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Curried cauliflower soup takes flavours its flavours from Thailand with curry and coconut milk. A delicious flavourful soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large head cauliflower, florets cut into slices
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder*
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Roast sliced cauliflower at 425F for around 20 minutes, or until golden bits appear on the bottom. There's no need to flip them.
  2. While cauliflower is roasting, heat olive oil in a large pot and sauté onions until golden.
  3. Add spices (curry powder, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon) to the bottom of the pot and toast until they smell delicious. 45 seconds or so.
  4. Add the coconut milk, sugar** and roasted cauliflower to the pot. Reserve several slices for garnish. Add enough water to cover all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer until the cauliflower is very tender 10-15 minutes.
  5. Blend with immersion blender or conventional blender.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and greek yogurt or sour cream.

Notes

* This is obvious, but in case you need encouragement you can add however much curry you like. If you like a mild curry cut the amount in half to 1 Tbsp. Do it to your taste. It's O.K. I won't judge.

** Ditto for sugar. I actually usually double the amount of sugar because I like quite a bit of sweetness in this soup. Not candy-like, just a hint of sweet.

As with all good soups you need to commit to delicious garnishes. So drop a few of the roasted cauliflower slices, some cilantro and Greek Yogurt on top to really take this from grade 5 dance recital to Beyoncé at the Superbowl.

What to serve this with?

Betty would say a hot dog.

I say homemade crusty bread (or a reasonable facsimile because not everyone is a breadhead) and a salad.

Or eat the soup as a starter and have Italian sausage, kale salad and winter squash for the entree.

Or eat it like I did. With the pot and a spoon.

Curried Cauliflower Soup - with Coconut Milk.

15 Comments

  1. Amy says:

    YUM. I’m going to make this for my “just meat & potatoes” men that I live with and see if it’ll fly. I’m betting it will. I won’t tell them what’s in it, and I agree that grilled cheese sammages would not go amiss.

    Thanks for another winner (fingers crossed) and if you have Danish sailors in your lineage, we may be related. My fam descends from Vikings.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Crikey! He liked it. Wants the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I loved it too. Thank you Karen. 😍

  3. Kat - the other 1 says:

    Toasted hotdogs, sliced, really do enhance the flavor of cauliflower. ;)

    Some violife vegan cheddar shreds and or nutritional yeast would go well too… mmm!

  4. Pauline Smit says:

    I’d love to hear more about the Danish sailors in your life! Did you take after your father seeing as you are so handy? Or did you just inherit his hands? Maybe you could write about Danish traditions for Christmas. Such an interesting, humorous blog – thank you!

  5. Sharon says:

    Hi Karen, this sounds great! Can the soup be frozen? Not sure about freezing something containing coconut milk. Thanks!

  6. jan says:

    Our family is making an effort to eat a few meatless meals every week. I think I just found tonights dinner.

  7. Katie says:

    This. Looks. Incredible. And I love that it’s vegan.

  8. Melissa says:

    Sounds good… but what the heck is evaporated cane sugar?? I’m hoping it is a typo and you meant … well … normal sugar?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Melissa! You often see it in a smaller bag at the grocery store. It’s an amber colour and has bigger sugar crystals. It’s less processed than regular sugar, but you’re right. A lot of people won’t have it or know what it is so I’ve adjusted to recipe to regular sugar. :) ~ karen!

      • june says:

        Regarding evaporated cane sugar-

        For those in the states you may be more familiar with the term turbinado sugar. One popular brand is Sugar In The Raw.

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