Cauliflower Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Cauliflower Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

You know how, as a kid, there was that one vegetable you either hated or didn’t care much for? But then one day something flipped a switch inside you and you woke up liking or, maybe even, loving it? That was cauliflower for me. I didn’t loathe it; I tolerated it. And now I can’t get enough of it.

I usually eat it sauteed with cumin spiced potatoes (gobi alu), enveloped in homemade Indian breads (gobi parantha), or nestled among a medley of roasted vegetables. But, since it’s winter and I tend to gravitate towards cooking soups, I wanted to try something new. That’s when I came up with the recipe for this cauliflower soup garnished with spiced pumpkin seeds, which I can’t stop eating.

Cauliflower, Garlic, Leeks

Cauliflower is at its best during the winter months when it’s tender and has a nutty and mildly sweet flavor. Being a cruciferous vegetable, it is packed with lots of healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidant phytonutrients. Unfortunately, these same phytonutrients are the cause of the unpleasant smell that comes from cooking cauliflower for a long time.

I hadn’t realized just how smelly cooked cauliflower can be until, many years ago, my roommate frantically ran into our apartment yelling her cat’s name. She ran right passed me in the kitchen where I was sauteing some cauliflower. As she anxiously searched for her cat, I realized what she later admitted: she had mistaken the smell from the cauliflower for the smell of, what she thought was, her dead cat. Ever since then, I’ve made sure to add bay leaves and sometimes lemon juice to most of my cauliflower recipes, including this soup, giving them a much more pleasant aroma.

Cauliflower Soup with Pumpkin Seeds

With bay leaves and lemon in hand, I gathered the rest of the ingredients for the soup. I knew I wanted it to be light but sumptuous, mildly spicy, somewhat crunchy and definitely quick and simple. I decided to keep it vegan, unlike most other cauliflower soups I had tasted, by not adding any cream. I roasted a  head of garlic to give it a smokey flavor and because… who doesn’t like roasted garlic? I used leeks to give it a wintery vegetable taste. And, since I love to garnish my food with condiments, I cooked up a handful of pumpkin seeds with my favorite spices in a little bit of oil.

If you didn’t like cauliflower before, I’m confident that you’ll like it after sipping this soup. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’d also love to hear about any ingredients that made you cringe as kid but now you really enjoy.

Slurp away!

A printable list of ingredients and directions are at the end of this post,
along with an image of this Perfect Morsel.

Raw Garlic

Preheat the oven to 400F. Peel off the loose outer layers of the garlic bulb, leaving the skin on the cloves intact. Slice off a 1/4 inch off of the top of the cloves with a knife. Place the bulb on a small sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over the bulb, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic to make a packet and place in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes.

Roasted Garlic

Remove and set aside to cool. The pulp should be soft and have a drool worthy smell. Note: To save time, you can cook the garlic in the oven while you make the rest of the soup

Chopped Cauliflower

Cut off and discard the green stems from the cauliflower and roughly chop the rest into 1 inch square pieces. Rinse under water to remove any dirt.

Cauliflower Rice in Food Processor

Add the cauliflower to a food processor and, using the pulse setting, chop until it has the texture of rice. If you do not have a food processor, simply use a cheese grater to grate the cauliflower. Set aside.

Leeks Cut Lengthwise

Cut off and discard the tough dark-green tops and the root end of the leeks. Halve and then quarter the leeks lengthwise.

Washing Leeks

Since the inner layers tend to trap dirt, wash them well under some running water.

Thinly Sliced Leeks

Thinly slice the white and light green parts of the leeks.

Sauteing Leeks

Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until they soften. About 5  minutes.

Cauliflower with Leeks

Transfer the cauliflower from the food processor to the saucepan and stir till well coated. About 2 minutes.

Roasted Garlic Pulp

Squeeze the roasted garlic from their individual pods and add to pot.

Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower, Leeks

Using the back of your ladle, mash the garlic pieces into the cauliflower and leeks Stir for about 1 minute.

Bay Leaves in Soup

Stir in the vegetable broth, salt, pepper, bay leaves and lemon juice. If you’re using an organic lemon, feel free to toss in the piece of lemon after squeezing out its juice. Bring the soup to a gentle boil on a medium heat for 35 minutes.

Bay Leaves and Lemon

After the 35 minutes, remove the bay leaves and the lemon rind from the soup.

Immersion Blender in Cauliflower Soup

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup for about 1 minute to make sure all the ingredients are blended together. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender.  Just make sure (i) to let the soup cool down before you transfer it to the blender and puree, and (ii) to transfer the soup back to the pot and heat.

Sauteing Pumpkin Seeds

Next up, the pumpkin seed garnish. Heat 4 tablespoon olive oil in a small frying or cast-iron pan on a medium heat. Add in the pumpkin seeds and stir until they start to turn color. Keep an eye on this as you want to be careful not to burn it.

Pumpkin Seeds with Spices

Add the cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric and chilli. Stir for about 1-2 minutes till the spices begin to release a roasted aroma.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Transfer the seeds into a bowl. I usually keep this close to me while eating since I tend to want more.

Cauliflower Soup

Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with the spiced pumpkin seeds and sprinkle with chopped parsley. I often serve this with some toasted gluten-free bread for dipping.

Perfect Morsel: Cauliflower Soup

Here’s a spoonful of the velvety cauliflower soup with the mildly spicy and crunchy pumpkin seeds.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>