Clouds in the Sunset or Roasted Butternut and Cauliflower Soup

by on January 19, 2007
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When my daughter was younger, I started calling cauliflower “clouds” and broccoli “trees” in the hope that cute names would make eating her veggies more fun. I really didn’t need to bother because broccoli was always one of her favorite vegetables, and though less-loved, cauliflower was a vegetable she ate readily. Though E. has reached the ripe old age of 9 1/2 and probably doesn’t even remember them, the nicknames still live on in my mind, at least. Every time I cook cauliflower I think of clouds, so when I put together this bright orange soup, I couldn’t help thinking of the florets as clouds bathed in the orange glow of a sunset.
Roasted Butternut and Cauliflower Soup

Clouds in the Sunset or Roasted Butternut and Cauliflower Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Roasting the squash and cauliflower gives this soup a delightful sweetness, accentuated by a hint of freshly squeezed orange juice.
Serves: 4
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed or chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder (see note)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon sherry or vermouth (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • dash cayenne pepper (optional)
  • juice of one orange (or 1/2 cup orange juice)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut the butternut in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Spray or rub a rectangular baking dish with oil (lightly) and place the squash in it cut-side down. Put the squash into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the cauliflower florets into a small, oiled baking dish of their own. After the squash has cooked for 15 minutes, put the cauliflower in with it. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is beginning to brown and the squash can be pierced easily with a fork. (They will probably be finished at different times.) Remove from the oven and set the cauliflower aside.
  3. Allow the squash to cool until it’s easy to handle, and scrape the flesh out of the skin and into a bowl. Use a fork or masher to mash it a little.
  4. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in a little water until it is translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 3 more minutes, adding water as necessary. Add the squash to the pan along with the curry powder and the vegetable broth. Using a hand blender, blend the soup to a smooth puree. (Or, if you don’t have a hand blender, puree the soup in your blender in batches.) Reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the cauliflower to the soup. Taste for seasoning, and add sherry, salt, cayenne, and additional curry powder as needed. Cover and allow the soup to simmer until the cauliflower is tender. Add the orange juice, cook for 5 more minutes and serve.
Using good curry powder makes a huge amount of difference. If you like the curry powder you are using, that’s great, but if you often find that your curry dishes lack flavor or taste bitter or “off” in some way, it could be that your curry powder is old. Buying from spice stores, where the turnover is quick, or in small quantities from the bulk bins in natural food stores can help ensure that the curry powder you’re using isn’t months or even years old. My personal favorite mild curry powder is the Maharajah Curry from Penzey’s. It’s more expensive than most because it contains saffron, but every time I use it, I’m happy I ordered it. (No, they don’t pay me–darn it! I’m just a happy customer.)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/4 of recipe Calories: 234 Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 58g Sodium: 560mg Fiber: 9g Protein: 6g


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SusanV January 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Here are the comments that were posted before the blog was moved to Wordpress in 2010:

Blogger lindurek said…

YUM! I can’t wait to try it.

Wednesday evening I had a “squash’ananny” dinner party with your pinto bean and butternut squash soup recipe which has become a favorite in my house and a sweet and spicy squash recipe from Apartment therapy you might enjoy (i made it without butter ofcourse but otherwise it’s vegan).

I used the spicy for the appetizer with a salad and then the sweet for dinner with some whipping cream. It was a hit!

4:39 PM, January 19, 2007
Blogger lindurek said…

oops no your soup for dinner and the sweet for dessert. excuse the typo— it’s been a long week. have a lovely weekend!

4:40 PM, January 19, 2007
Blogger Alanna said…

What a vision, the clouds of cauliflower, I’ll never again look at cauliflower with the same eyes. Just lovely.

6:16 PM, January 19, 2007
Blogger Catherine said…

lovely looking soup, Susan!

9:47 PM, January 19, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

What a cute and clever name! The soup looks delicious.

10:44 PM, January 19, 2007
Anonymous laquetha said…

On Wed. I tried the Easy Bean and Vegetable Soup. It was so yummy and a hit with my roomies. I am starting to cook more of your recipes. I can wait to try the chili.

11:09 PM, January 19, 2007
Blogger cheryl said…

Your name for the soup and the cauliflower is excellent- very poetic! Sounds delish- I put it on my menu for next week. Thank you for a great blog!

6:54 AM, January 20, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Your food is always so innovative and pretty. i love stopping by to see what’s for dinner. For some reason, pumpkin and squash soups always seem a little frightening to me but yours looks very tasty so I may have to venture out from my food safety net and try it.

8:46 AM, January 20, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

How sweet…
I never thought of cauliflower as being like clouds, but I will now!

This soup looks very nice. I grew butternut squash in my front yard this year. I planted one little seedling and got 15 big squashes!! So, I’ve still got about 8 left to work on. This soup looks like a promising idea.

🙂 Amey

10:01 AM, January 20, 2007
Blogger Vegan Knitting said…

I got all excited about the hand blender but when I click on the link it says it’s $49.99, not $29.99. Boohoo!

11:19 AM, January 20, 2007
Anonymous Frances said…

I couldn’t find any decent cauliflower but I’m sure this will taste good with the butternut and broccoli I bought fresh yesterday..can’t wait 🙂 I want to serve with wholemeal apple muffins, I love looking forward to dinner!

Thanks for being so inspiring 🙂

5:44 PM, January 20, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Looks delicious, Susan. If you had a restaurant, I’d be there more than I ought to be. Lol! I’d definitely order this soup too!

9:36 PM, January 20, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

I love the name! It might actually get me to try cauliflower again. I’ll eat it, but it’s definitely never appealed to me.


9:43 PM, January 20, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Soup…Butternut…Cauliflower…roasted…yum…delightful! YAY!

2:04 AM, January 21, 2007
Anonymous Dree said…

The nicknames is a great idea – as a vegan chef I so try to bring the fun into kid’s food visually & tastefully during demo’s and classses – did not think of that yet! Thanks!

9:17 AM, January 21, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Mmmm, that soup looks inviting!

11:13 AM, January 21, 2007
Anonymous Lindy Loo said…

That is just the cutest damn name for a soup ever. (And it looks exactly like the name!) =)

3:45 PM, January 22, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…


8:52 PM, January 22, 2007
Blogger Melinda said…

We just had this for dinner. I used a garam masala instead of plain curry — the cardamon flavor was very nice. If I did it again I’d leave out the extra cayenne as the heat from the masala was enough. Very tasty!

6:11 PM, February 18, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

I just noticed that the blender is $29.99 again on my wishlist (actually even $5 less with the rebate through your site!).


10:06 PM, February 19, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Besides pureeing soups and making berry-less smoothies (or at least no frozen berries), what else do you use a hand blender for? Can you even use it directly in a pot that is non-stick since the blades are metal? I have a blender that works OK (I’ve been promised a Vitamix within the next 5 years) and a tiny food processor so I’m just wondering what this accomplishes that is different from one of those two other appliances. Also, are all the parts dishwasher-safe?

7:22 AM, February 20, 2007
Blogger SusanV said…

Anonymous, I do use mine in non-stick pots. I’m careful not to let it scrape against the bottom or sides too much, and so far, it hasn’t scratched it. (The blades don’t touch the pot, but the metal housing does sometimes.) The part that gets dirty is totally dishwasher safe–you just detach it and put it in the dishwasher.

I use it mostly for soups and sauces right in the pot–not having to transfer hot foods to the blender is to me is the main benefit of it. We used it for smoothies a little when we first got it (even with frozen berries), but now that we have a magic bullet blender, we use that for all smoothies.

10:49 AM, February 21, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…

I bought the hand blender from your website a few weeks ago and used it for the first time last night to puree vege soup with kale in the pot. I have a few questions:
1) How do you know what speed to use it on?
2) What do you use the accompanying beaker for? Thanks!

1:44 PM, April 13, 2007
Blogger SusanV said…

Hi Anonymous. I hope you enjoy the hand blender! As for your questions, mainly I start out on low and build up to high as needed. When in doubt, I just set it in the middle. If it’s something that might splash out of the pan, I definitely use low!

I haven’t used the beaker too often, but when I have it’s been for sauces or smoothies.

3:35 PM, April 13, 2007
Anonymous Cynthia Blue said…

This looks good on a nice fall day, gonna go buy the ingredients today.

2:55 PM, November 07, 2007


2 Heather December 9, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I tried this tonight and it was delish! I didn’t have enough vegetable stock on hand so filled in with coconut milk and it was great. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe!


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