Spiced Cauliflower Soup

January/February 2014

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The toasted spices in this creamy cauliflower soup recipe make this dish warm, rich and flavorful. You can deepen the color further by making it with a head of orange cauliflower, sometimes labeled “Cheddar.”

Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Makes: 6 servings, 1 cup each

Serving Size: 1 cup

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced or finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and broken into florets
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk, as needed
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or cilantro


  1. Combine cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast, shaking the pan frequently, until fragrant and beginning to darken, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the ground spices, garlic, ginger, salt and cayenne. Stir to combine. Stir in cauliflower and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a gentle simmer. Partially cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove about 1 cup of the cauliflower. Let cool slightly. Chop into small florets.
  4. Working in batches, puree the rest of the soup in a blender and return it to the pot or puree in the pot with an immersion blender. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Gently heat over medium-low heat, stirring in as much milk as needed to adjust the consistency. Add a squeeze of lime juice to taste. Serve garnished with the reserved florets, almonds and chives (or cilantro).

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: For the best flavor, toast chopped nuts or seeds. Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts or seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.


Per serving: 103 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 1 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g total sugars; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber; 321 mg sodium; 307 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (56% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 1 /2 vegetable, 1 fat

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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
More than 1 hour
Main Ingredient
Vegetarian, other
Preparation/ Technique
Type of Dish
January/February 2014
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