Easy turmeric cauliflower soup: whole head roasted! Minimal chopping benefits with a resulting creamy soup with hints of herbs and hot red pepper.
We had our first snow here in Virginia over the weekend. It was the perfect kind of snow for us: 2-3 inches, fluffy, gorgeous and it didn't stick to the road. Oh, also, it was gone by Monday. So really it's as good as you can get for a place where we shut down schools for a couple inches. We try to pretend like we're good at winter, but really we just like a snow twice a season that doesn't block the roads to the wineries. Virginia likes decorative winter.
But with that first snow, comes soup. Yes, I officially started making soup back in October (make this potato apple soup while you're at it), but now that it's December, I'm wearing a turtleneck, so it just feels right to make more soup. While this recipe looks like it's a squash soup, it's not. At all. It's actually cauliflower. In fact, it's an entire cauliflower roasted whole in a skillet. It's the most minimal prep you could really do to a cauliflower with big flavor. Because it's roasted, if you're a super taster, you're not going to get some of that notorious sulfur and bitterness that some taste with cruciferous veggies (brussels sprouts, broccoli etc). And no, it's not a cauliflower soup with cheese either. Those seem to be popular in an effort to cover up cauliflower flavor.
That delightful faux-cheddar or butternut squash color? That's turmeric. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory benefits and is thought to serve up a slew of other health benefits. It was also used as a fabric dye, so maybe more importantly, be careful when you're cooking. Don't use a wood spoon. Be tidy. And if you're me, don't wear white.
I think where this soup really comes to life is the toppings pairing. The soup base itself is amazingly creamy and has a lovely roasted flavor. But the red pepper flakes? Need. The crispy croutons with oil and herbs? Double need. And the little Maldon salt flakes? Perfection.
People sometimes thing soup by itself isn't satisfying, and I think those are people who love texture. Toppings are the easiest way to make a big impact on flavor, visuals and making texture lovers happy.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower Turmeric Soup
/// Ingredients ///
- 1 3/4 pound (trimmed) head cauliflower- (about 3 cups after roasting)
- approx. 1/4 cup olive oil to coat cauliflower
- 2 Tablespoons kosher
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 Tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 cups chicken stock
- red pepper flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh thyme
- baguette or other bakery bread, cubed, tossed with oil and toasted
/// Directions ///
Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove leaves and inner core of cauliflower while keeping florets together in whole head shape. Rinse and pat dry. Coat all sides with olive oil and rub oil over all surfaces. Season all sides with kosher salt. Place in seasoned cast iron skillet with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and cover with tin foil.
Place in middle rack of oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil once 30 minutes have passed and continue cooking for an additional hour. Cauliflower is ready once golden brown and tender (test with knife). Remove from oven and cool while preparing soup base. Remove thyme.
In a large pot, add butter and olive oil with onion over medium heat. Cook 7-10 minutes until onions are fragrant and soft. Add garlic, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add flour and stir. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in milk while stirring.
Bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes minutes. Add turmeric and broth. Stir. Add cauliflower hand broken into pieces (easy to do straight from skillet to pot- it will be very soft, no knife needed!). Cover and cook on low about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is extra tender. Blend until smooth with blender or immersion blender.
Top with red pepper flakes, salt, freshly ground black pepper, extra fresh thyme and toasted bread with oil.
Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.