This is a Variation on a Root Formula, a simplified recipe that shows which ingredients
are core and which can be changed to create different flavor combinations or use what you
have on hand. See our other variations at the bottom of the Root Formula page.
There’s more than one way to make pureed vegetable soup. I learned early on to cook the vegetables so that they retain every ounce of flavor. How do you do this? It depends on how much soup you want to make, and how quickly you need to get it on the table.
Click here to jump to our Smaller, Stove-Top Method Jump to Recipe
Click here to jump to our Larger, Oven Method Jump to Recipe
The Oven Method
If you have time to make a big batch or you’re cooking for a crowd, roasting the vegetables in a hot oven is the way to go. For this method, heat the oven while you prepare the vegetables. By the time the vegetables are ready for the oven, the oven is ready for them.
Because you roast the vegetables at such a high temperature—500 degrees compared with the more common 400/425—they’re done in about twenty-five minutes. This is a big leg up on the usual forty minutes, and their flavor intensifies as they quickly dehydrate and brown.
The vegetables are fully cooked when the come out of the oven. All they need is a quick blend with broth, followed by a coconut milk enrichment. With this method, you get three generous quarts; what a gift to have containers of flavorful soup tucked away for when you need lunch or dinner pronto.
The Stovetop Method for Quick Soup
Though it only makes half the quantity, the stovetop method is faster. A flash steam/sauté quickly tenderizes the vegetable and preserves its flavor and color. Once the vegetable is cooked, the blending step is identical to the roasted vegetable method.
The garnishes are just suggestions, but they do offer great texture and color contrast to these silky, creamy soups.
Quick Soup Variations
In addition to this Smoky Cauliflower Soup, we have also created a Broccoli “Cheddar” and a Curried Butternut Squash. Use the Root Formula to create your own Variations.
So whether you’re looking to make a vat of creamy soup for an elegant holiday first course, or a quick weeknight supper on the fly, we’ve got a soup method for you.
Quick, Smoky Cauliflower Soup (Stove-Top)
- 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into medium florets
- 6 cloves garlic, halved if small, quartered if large
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups broth, your choice
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro
- 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
- Place cauliflower, garlic, oil, pepper flakes, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, paprika, cumin, and 1 cup of broth in a large (12-inch) skillet. Cover and turn burner on high and cook until broth has evaporated and vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer vegetable mixture to a blender; add remaining 2 cups of broth and cilantro and puree until very smooth, 30 seconds to a minute. Turn puree into a large saucepan; add coconut milk so that soup is thin enough to be soup, yet thick enough to float a garnish. Heat through, adjusting flavors, including additional salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, *garnish if you like, and serve.
Smoky Cauliflower Soup (Oven Method)
- 3 pounds cauliflower, cut into medium-large florets
- 2 large onions, cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 quart broth, your choice
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro
- 2 cans (13.5 oz each) coconut milk
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss cauliflower and onions with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Turn onto a large (18- by 12-inch rimmed baking sheet. Roast vegetables until tender and spotty brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and cumin.
- Working in 2 batches, transfer vegetable mixture to a blender; add 2 cups of broth and half the cilantro and puree until very smooth, 30 seconds to a minute. Turn puree into a large pot; add coconut milk so that soup is thin enough to be soup, yet thick enough to float a garnish. Heat through, adjusting flavors, including additional salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, garnish if you like*, and serve.