This easy and delicious cauliflower soup uses roasted cauliflower, tomatoes and Indian spices, for a hearty and healthy-ish cauliflower soup.
If you're looking for a cauliflower soup that isn't creamy, this one is for you. If you made my Cauliflower Cheese and now you're looking for a little balance, this one's for you :) If you're a fan of Indian dishes (like in Chicken Tikka Masala) this one is especially for you!
This easy tomato cauliflower soup features a lovely blend of Indian spices. The cauliflower itself gets a quick roasting in the oven, to really bring out the flavour and to make the assembly of this soup very quick. You can easily roast the cauliflower ahead and add to the soup pot later, too.
Roasted cauliflower combines with tomatoes and Indian-spices for a hearty, healthier, non-creamy cauliflower soup.
This soup is definitely hearty enough for a dinner soup, but also a great soup for cooking up a pot and enjoying from the fridge for lunches.
Canned Tomatoes: The recipe specifies whole tomatoes, but if you only have diced canned tomatoes on hand, go ahead and use those. Crushed tomatoes would work, though the soup would be more smooth than chunky.
Tomato Paste: The tomato paste add a nice bit of tomato flavour and makes a great vehicle for cooking the spice mix before adding the liquids to the pan. I love those tubes of tomato paste and always have some in my fridge. It saves having to open a can of tomato paste for a small amount.
Indian Spices: The recipe uses a dried spice mix which you can use if you have all those spices on hand. You could also use any Indian-spiced paste mix you might have around, such as Madras or Masala curry paste.
Cayenne: This is the "heat" element of the soup. Omit if you don't want any heat or add as much as you think you'd like. If you happen to have Kashmiri Chili powder around, use that instead, for the most authentic flavours.
Cilantro: If you aren't a cilantro lover, simply substitute plain-leaf parsley for some flavour and colour.
Yogurt: A plain yogurt is a nice topping, though you could also just use a drizzle of heavy cream in place of the yogurt. You can also omit, if you prefer.
This soup can easily be made vegetarian, by swapping out the chicken broth for vegetable broth or vegan, by also skipping the yogurt topping.
If you happen to have fenugreek around, it would be a great addition to this soup! I didn't list it in the ingredients, as it's a touch obscure and not really necessary to still have a great soup. It just adds an additional flavour note, if you have it and enjoy it.
As a little aside, I was shopping at one of my local (small-town) grocery stores this past week and found frozen "Methi" leaves in the frozen food section. Methi is just another name for Fenugreek leaves. I snapped them up and now have a ready supply of frozen fenugreek ready to use. (for Canadian friends, found at Food Basics). You can also use dried fenugreek leaves or the powdered version, known as "kasuri methi"
Wondering why the cauliflower looks yellow? No, it's not some new, fancy coloured cauliflower. There is turmeric in the soup and it's yellow colouring gets soaked up by the porous cauliflower.
You can easily make this soup even heartier by stirring in some rotisserie or leftover cooked chicken, if you like. (In fact, if you are not a cauliflower lover, you could just skip the cauliflower and use just the chicken :)
I forgot the Naan! I had some lovely Naan bread standing by to include in the photographs of this soup and completely forgot to add it to the picture. I hope you don't forget, as warm garlic Naan is the perfect accompaniment for this soup :)
Top Tip! Don't be shy with salting your soup. I like to save most of the salt until the end of cooking, at which time I taste and add, as needed. If you taste your soup and think "it needs something", it's probably salt!
Storage, Freezing and Making Ahead
This soup keeps really well in the fridge for several days. Unlike some soups, it doesn't get thicker as it sits, so the last bowl should be just as good as the first one :)
This soup should also freeze well.
You can make the soup ahead and re-heat later. Refrigerate until ready to eat. You can also just do the roasting of the cauliflower ahead (in the morning, for example), cool then refrigerate, then simply assemble the soup quickly at dinner time using the cauliflower you roasted earlier.
How to cut up a Cauliflower
Turn the cauliflower head upside-down on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut through each of the green leaf stems next to the main core, to remove. Cut the cauliflower head into quarters. Take one of the quarters and lay it on it's side on a cutting board, with the core-end facing you. Use a sharp knife to make a diagonal cut from the top of the core area down to and including the bottom of the core, to remove. Repeat with the remaining quarters. Once the core has been removed, you can go ahead and break apart the florets.
Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Soup
For roasted cauliflower:
- 1 head cauliflower
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup onion (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger (grated, or about 1 Tbsp of ginger paste)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne (or Kashmiri chili powder, optional, to taste*)
- 28 oz canned whole plum tomatoes (with liquid)
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar (optional if you'd prefer to omit)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (roughly chopped)
- Additional chopped fresh cilantro
- Plain yogurt (or a drizzle of cream)
- Sliced jalapeno (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Remove the leaves and core the cauliflower. Break or cut into bite-sized florets. Scatter onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir or toss to coat the cauliflower in oil. Roast in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender (test it with a knife) and golden in spots. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While cauliflower is roasting, melt butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat on the stove-top. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until softened, but not browned. While the onion is cooking, measure out all the spices and stir together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, about 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and spices and cook, stirring, another minute. Add the canned tomatoes, with their juices, the brown sugar, if using and the chicken broth. Use the edge of a spoon to break up the tomatoes in the pot. Stir to combine. Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow so gently simmer for 10-15 minutes, to allow the flavours to blend. (Remember, the cauliflower is already cooked, so you don't need to simmer long).
- At this point, I like to give my soup 2 or 3 pulses with an immersion blender. Not too much, as I like to keep some of the cauliflower chunky. If you don't have an immersion blender, a potato masher would probably work, too. Totally optional though, as you like.
- Taste soup and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed. (Salt generously, to really bring out all the great flavours). Stir in the 1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro. Serve warm topped with a dollop of plain yogurt and more chopped cilantro. Add some jalapeno slices if you'd like a pop of heat. Nice served with warm Naan bread.