Creamy Winter White Cauliflower Soup with Masala-Charred Florets
Cold weather I can do. Cold weather partnered with an unrelenting dampness — this pervasive chill that creeps in through thin walls and windows of a home not designed to withstand it, bee-lining its way to the very core of my bones — leaves me helpless. And I’ve shivered every minute of it.
Not that I’m being dramatic, but it is still winter, and this business of really warming one’s self is a job for soup.
Like this creamy cauliflower number topped with oven-charred masala-spiced florets.
For only a handful each of main ingredients and aromatic spices, the flavor and nutrition are up there. Roasting the cauliflower with the spices brings out the natural sweetness (even sweeter this time of year, being a cold-season veg) + imparts a subtle smokiness. The mild taste + almost custardlike texture of silken tofu is perfect to further “creamify” the soup without the literal use of cream. It also provides a filling source of protein, balancing the meal-in-a-bowl.
What’s in it for me?
At only about 27 calories per 1 cup (raw), cauliflower provides roughly 2 g protein, 2 g fiber + only 5 g total carbohydrate. This serving also provides a small amount of potassium, is a good source of vitamin B6 + folate, and offers about 20% + 80% of your daily needs for vitamin K + the antioxidant vitamin C, respectively. Composed of roughly 92% water, cauliflower is a hydrating addition to the diet for to help keep lips, skin + hair healthy during the dry winter months.
Cauliflower + other cruciferous veg (like cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts + radishes) are excellent sources of a group of phytochemicals called glucosinolates that produce isothiocyanate compounds with anti-carcinogenic properties. Another compound known as DIM (3,3′-Diindolylmethane) may mediate the harmful effects to blood cells + tissues from radiation therapy. Additionally, decades of research consistently links regular consumption of these crucifers to decreased risk of infections + inflammation.
For less than 100 calories + 0 mg cholesterol per 3-ounce serving, tofu is a complete protein offering 6 to 10 g per serving. Rich in calcium, antioxidant selenium + manganese, tofu is a good source of iron, magnesium + zinc, plus mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. Tofu also provides the B-vitamin folate + choline — two nutrients that offer some protection from development of birth defects of in a developing fetus. (Learn more about tofu nutrition.)
Homemade stock is low in calories, fat + sodium, is another good source of the B vitamin niacin, and offers small amounts of phosphorous, potassium, and copper. Stock is also naturally hydrating and can help replenish depleted stores of electrolytes. Furthermore, research suggests that it may serve as a mild anti-inflammatory.
Learn about the nutritional benefits of warming + wildly aromatic garam masala spice blend.
Soothingly warm + exotic, creamy cauliflower soup with masala-charred florets is a healthy, easy recipe to add to the lunch + supper rotations when the winter chill is biting.
Tell me… What other soups do you like to cozy up with when it’s cold?
- 1 large head cauliflower (about 2 1/4 lbs or 1 kg), core trimmed out and cut into small florets (to yield approximately 6 cups)
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp garam masala (see HGN Notes), plus more as desired
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, divided
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the back of your knife or hand
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 8 oz soft or silken tofu (half of a typical-sized package), cut into cubes
- 4 cups low- or no-sodium added veg or chicken stock (see HGN Notes), or water
- 1 cup water
- A few leaves fresh parsley, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 450° F with a rack placed in the lower third.
- On a large rimmed baking tray (or 2 smaller trays), toss to combine the cauliflower florets with the 1 Tbsp olive oil, garam masala, turmeric, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer and roast in the preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until charred and tender, stirring once. Remove the tray from oven, and transfer all but 1 cup of the cauliflower to a large bowl. Turn the oven to its "warm/hold" setting (or to the lowest temperature -- ours is 170° F), and return the tray with that reserved 1 cup to the oven to stay warm and crisp up even a bit more.
- While the cauliflower roasts, heat the remaining 1 tsp oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, the remaining 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes more, or until the spices are fragrant.
- Stir in the cauliflower you set aside in the bowl, as well as the tofu, stock and water; cover, and bring just to a gentle boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the soup to a large high-powered blender (or use an immersion/hand/stick blender) and puree until smooth, adding additional stock or water if too thick. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to process the soup in two batches. Return the soup to the saucepan over low heat for another 3 to 5 minutes to reheat through. Taste, and season as needed with more salt, pepper and/or garam masala.
- When ready to serve, remove the tray with the reserved 1 cup charred cauliflower from the oven. Divide the soup among 4 serving bowls, and top each with 1/4 of the cauliflower florets, a few parsley leaves, and another sprinkle of garam masala if desired. Serve immediately while hot.
HGN recipe for homemade bone (chicken or other) stock + variation for veg stock: http://buff.ly/2n1C8gN.
+ Swap parsley for cilantro, mint or basil.
+ Replace 1/2 to 1 cup of the stock with unsweetened coconut milk for an even creamier, richer soup.
+ Finish with a dollop of plain yogurt.
+ Try other toppings, like roasted chopped nuts or seeds, toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, or some of my Almond-Coconut Dukkah: https://buff.ly/2EomZid.
+ Serve like a dal over rice, other whole grains or cooked vegetables; use it as a sauce for proteins like fish, meat or more tofu; or cook it down a bit to create a dip for bread, naan or fresh veg.
An HGN original recipe.
+ + + +
p.s. I love hearing from you! Check back if you ask a question, because I’ll answer it here.
And if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing. Thanks!