I made and photographed this soup a few weeks ago, when I was home sick with a virus and didn’t care that it was hot and summery outside: all I wanted was a meal of soup and something bready. I’ve been thinking about this thick and creamy cauliflower turmeric kale soup ever since, and I know it’s on its way to becoming a staple for me, whatever the season.
When I threw this soup together I had actually been planning on making, or tweaking, this recipe, but as I went along the meal took on a life of its own. I wanted to add turmeric for color and to offer my body an anti-inflammatory seasoning, and I realized before blending the soup up that I wanted it to be a lot thicker than the creamy, blended soup I was considering initially.
I’d say that the texture is someplace at the intersection of soup, stew, and curry: thick enough to scoop over rice, but still soupy enough to enjoy with a spoon. And you can adjust how soupy it is by adding more or less liquid along the way.
I gave my batch creamy texture with my all-purpose vegan cashew cream, which is my favorite means of adding richness to a recipe like this. If you’re in need of a shortcut, you could add full fat coconut milk instead. I tend to make cashew cream in double batches and store some in the freezer, since I use it so often—it’s easy enough to do, and I’m never sorry I did it!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil*
- 1 large white or yellow onion chopped
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus extra as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium/large head cauliflower thickest bottom stem removed, cut into florets and pieces (about 1 1/2 lbs after preparation)
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup all-purpose cashew cream or full fat coconut milk from the can
- 1 medium bunch curly kale stems removed and chopped (about 5-6 cups)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Pita naan, rice, or any other grain, for serving (optional)
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots. Sauté the vegetables for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is clear and soft and the carrots are becoming tender. Add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper. Sauté for one more minute, stirring constantly.
Add the cauliflower and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is completely tender.
Puree half of the soup in a standing blender or with an immersion blender, for texture that’s creamy but still textured. You can also blend all of the soup, so that the whole mixture is creamy. Once you’ve blended the soup partially or entirely, return it to the pot and stir in the cashew cream. Bring the soup back to a simmer, then add the kale in handfuls. Cover the soup and simmer for 8-10 more minutes, or until the kale is tender.
If the soup is too thick for your liking, add some extra water or cashew cream to loosen it up. Stir in the lime juice. Taste the soup and add extra salt, pepper, and lime as needed. Serve with pita, naan, rice, or any desired accompaniment.
Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, the soup will keep for up to five days. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.
I love scooping the soup up with whole wheat pita, but homemade naan or chapatis would also be wonderful. As I was enjoying the leftovers I also served it with brown basmati rice that I’d seasoned with lime juice and chopped cilantro, and I loved that, too. It was especially nice when perched next to a few bright flowers, which offered their own healing powers to the meal.
I hope that you’ll enjoy the soup in good health, but if you happen to catch a summer cold, I can attest to how comforting the dish is. Next time I might try it with chard or collards, and I’m guessing that zucchini would be a nice addition for summer, too.
A few weeks into a genuine effort to stay engaged with work while also resting, I’m having a hard time striking a balance that works. It’s a learning process, and each week teaches me something. I’ll stick with it between now and the weekend—and I’ll see you for the Sunday roundup.