When daytime temperatures dip into the 40’s, I want soup. Every day. For every meal. Suddenly, eating a lunchtime salad has all the appeal of chewing ice, so at the beginning of each week, I make a big pot of vegetable-filled soup and portion it out into glass containers to be reheated for lunches throughout the week. At night, I tend to favor soups that “get it all in”–veggies, starch, and beans–because when I’m in hibernation mode, I don’t want to worry about main dishes and side dishes and all that nonsense. I want my whole meal in a nice, steaming bowl of soup.
Of course, I still make sure my family eats their fresh, leafy greens. Somehow, a salad’s more palatable when it’s on a plate next to a bowl of soup and we can alternate bites of homegrown spinach and oak-leaf lettuce salad with spoonfuls of hot soup. I’d guess about 75% of the dinners I serve my family in the colder months consist of soup, salad, and often some kind of bread. The kind of soup depends on what vegetables we have in the refrigerator and what flavors we’re craving.
For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, cauliflower reminds me of curry, so when my husband came home from the grocery store with a huge head of cauliflower, I immediately envisioned it dyed bright yellow by turmeric and fragrant with cardamom and cumin. I’m comfortable with creating my own spice blends, but for time’s sake I decided to use a family-favorite short cut: Maharajah blend curry powder. I’ve been using this style of curry powder for years, and I truly believe I could use it to season an old shoe (non-leather, of course) and my family would devour it.
I won’t be performing that experiment just yet (shoes are expensive), but I have tried it on vegetables my daughter usually dislikes, such as eggplant, and had her coming back for seconds. This fragrant soup was no exception. Though she doesn’t usually like sweet potatoes in savory dishes, E pronounced this soup a winner. I made it on the mild side, but you can make it as spicy as you like by using hotter peppers or more ground red pepper.
Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste or minced ginger root
- 1 small chile pepper such as jalapeño or serrano, seeded and minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups vegetable broth or water plus bouillon cubes
- 1 pound sweet potatoes about 1 large, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon mild curry powder divided
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large head cauliflower separated into bite-sized flowerets
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 15- ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2-4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
Heat a large non-stick pot (4 quarts or larger). Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, ginger, chile pepper, and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, for another 30 seconds.
Stir in the broth, sweet potatoes, 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook over low heat until sweet potato softens, about 20 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, and tomatoes to the pot. Add just enough water to almost cover the cauliflower, probably about 3 cups. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of curry powder, and add salt and cayenne pepper (more if you like things hot, less or none at all if you prefer it not spicy). Cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter and serve hot.
Instant Pot or Other Electric Pressure Cooker Instructions:
Follow the instructions in Step 1 using the Saute or Brown setting on your electric pressure cooker. In Step 2, instead of bringing to a boil, close the lid, lock it and make sure the release valve is set to pressure. Use the manual or high pressure setting and set the time for 4 minutes. After the time is up, turn the cooker off and carefully turn the release valve to quick release the pressure. Follow Step 3 using the saute setting on low or medium heat. (You may also try returning the cooker to high pressure for 1 minute and then turning it off and letting the pressure come down naturally.) Stir in peanut butter just before serving.
Nutrition Note: The peanut butter adds a gram of fat per serving but gives the soup a richness you won’t want to miss. If necessary, you can leave it out or substitute with cashew butter or another nut butter.
Cauliflower Loves Curry in These Recipes, Too:
- Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran on this blog
- Chickpeas, Potatoes, and Green Beans in Cauliflower Sauce on this blog
- Curried Split Pea Soup with Cauliflower on this blog
- Vegan Mulligatawny Detox Soup by Karina at Gluten-Free Goddess
- Roasted Curried Cauliflower with Lemon and Cumin by Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Curried Quinoa with Cauliflower by Cathy at What Would Cathy Eat
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