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December 30, 2022

by Alyssa

Cauliflower Soup

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This cauliflower soup is rich, comforting, and perfect for the holidays. It’s also a very healthy meal, and both vegan and gluten-free.

A bowl of cauliflower soup, topped with olive oil, pepper, pomegranate seeds, and pumpkin seeds, with another bowl in the background

As soon as the weather gets cold, soup becomes one of my favorite foods. There’s just nothing like a chilly day and a warm, cozy bowl of hearty soup. This vegan cauliflower soup is one of my favorite recipes, and it’s perfect for the holidays. It’s hearty and filling, but also rich and creamy. It tastes a little indulgent, but it’s vegan, gluten-free, and super healthy for you.

Instead of meat or dairy, this soup gets its richness from raw cashews and nutritional yeast. Cauliflower adds heartiness and helps thicken the soup, while strong flavors like garlic, leeks, and chili flakes shine through. White beans and nutmeg make the soup feel wintry, and all the ingredients come together to form something magical and comforting. I’ll eat this as a first course at Thanksgiving or Christmas … or simply while curled up on the couch on a cold winter evening. 

A bowl of caulilflower soup topped with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, pepper, and olive oil, surrounded by pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds

What You’ll Need

Here are all the ingredients you need for this warm and cozy vegan holiday soup. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article for the exact ingredient amounts. 

  • Olive oil
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Cauliflower 
  • Nutmeg – For best results, use freshly-grated nutmeg.
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper – Be sure to use freshly-ground black pepper.
  • White beans – Try to find organic white beans for this recipe, and make sure they’re drained and rinsed.
  • Vegetable broth
  • Water
  • Cashews – Use raw cashews, not toasted ones for this soup.
  • Nutritional yeast – This is optional, but really makes the soup taste a lot better. 
  • Pomegranate seeds – These are an optional garnish.
  • Pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin seeds are also an optional garnish. 

What Does Nutritional Yeast Taste Like?

Nutritional yeast is a common ingredient in vegan cooking, because it has a flavor that strongly resembles cheese. It’s a subtle flavor, but it really shines through in this cauliflower soup, and makes the dish taste a little cheesy, and even a little meaty. It adds a lot of depth and richness to the vegan soup. 

Beyond tasting good, nutritional yeast is really good for you, as it’s packed full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

A spoon taking a spoonful of cauliflower soup out of a bowl

How to Make Cauliflower Soup

Here’s how to make this decadent winter soup. It only takes 45 minutes from start to finish! 

  • Sauté the aromatics. Heat the olive oil in a pot or a dutch oven, then add the leeks and garlic. Cook until they’re soft, about 1-2 minutes. 
  • Cook the cauliflower. Add the cauliflower to the pot along with the nutmeg, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the broth. Pour the vegetable broth into the pot, along with the water and the white beans. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and put a lid on the pot. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes. 
  • Blend. Once the soup is done cooking, pour it in a blender and add the cashews. If the soup is too thick, add a little bit of water to thin it out. 
  • Season. Pour the soup back into the pot, and stir in the nutritional yeast if you’re using it. Taste the soup, and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, chili flakes, and nutmeg. 
  • Serve. Serve the soup while it’s still hot, and top with the garnishes of your choice. 
Cauliflower soup in a pot, being stirred by a rubber spatula

Tips for Success

Here are some tricks and tips for making the best vegan cauliflower soup. 

  • Use homemade broth. This hearty vegan soup will taste great with a store bought vegetable broth, but you can bump it up a notch by using homemade stock. I recommend using my instant pot mushroom vegan bone broth, which will make this soup very rich. 
  • Blend in batches. The soup probably won’t all fit in a blender. To make life easier, and to ensure that you get the smoothest soup, add it to the blender in batches. Taking a few extra minutes at this stage can make the soup a much nicer texture, and save you some mess. 
  • Have fun with the toppings. I love to top this soup with a nice glug of olive oil, some pomegranate seeds, and some pumpkin seeds. But you can have fun with the toppings, and add whatever you like. The soup would go great with some croutons, some fresh herbs, some vegan creme fraiche, or even a drizzle of a nice vinegar reduction. Customizing the toppings is a great way to make this soup really stand out, especially if you’re serving it on a holiday. 
Close up of a bowl of cauliflower soup with a spoon in it, topped with olive oil, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, and black pepper

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

This soup will last in the fridge for 5 days. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container. To reheat, heat the soup on the stove over low heat until warm, or microwave on medium heat in 30-second increments until heated. If the soup is too thick, add a little bit of water before or during the reheating. 

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

Absolutely! This is one of my favorite recipes to freeze, because it makes such an easy weekday dinner. Freeze the soup in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or defrost in the microwave before heating. 

Two bowls of cauliflower soup, topped with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and olive oil, with spoons in them, surrounded by pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds

More Vegan Soups to Make

If you loved this cauliflower soup, then check out some of my other favorite vegan soup recipes. 

Cauliflower Soup

This cauliflower soup is hearty, healthy, vegan, and gluten-free. Packed with flavors like cauliflower, nutmeg, cashews, and chili flakes, it's perfect for a holiday meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 202kcal
Author Alyssa
Print Pin
Holiday Cauliflower Soup for the Holidays
4.48 from 71 votes

Ingredients

to garnish:

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven. When hot, add the leeks and garlic, and saute until softened, about 1 – 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and spices and saute again for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Add the beans, broth, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let soup simmer on the stove for at least 30 minutes, longer if you have the time.
  • When done, transfer half the soup to a high powered blender. Add the cashews and puree until smooth. If too thick, add a little bit of water until desired consistency has been reached. Repeat with the other half of soup.
  • Transfer all soup back to the pot. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper. Sprinkle in more nutmeg/pepper flakes if desired. If using nutritional yeast, stir in here as well. 
  • Serve immediately, garnish with your desired toppings and enjoy the healing vibes this soup will bring!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1062mg | Potassium: 809mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 855IU | Vitamin C: 55.6mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 3.8mg

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. Made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! I should have bought two cauliflowers to make it to 6 cups, we were a little short and that thinned the soup a bit – a really lovely, filling recipe that feels comforting but is also really healthy – perfect in the midst of holiday indulging! Thank you!

  2. Just make the cauliflower leek soup It’s delicious. The leeks give soup a bit of a green tinge so if you don’t want that, simply use just the white part or use white onion. I think nutritional yeast is a must (but confess I did not try it without). I was skeptical of the nutmeg because it’s not my favorite spice, but it worked out just great. Later I’ll try recipe with gram masala as I think that profile would be delicious too.

  3. Love this soup! It freezes well too! I add two carrots to it. Did it by mistake the last time and it was great.

  4. I’m going to make 12servings of this, so I know I have to double the amount of the ingredients. Is there any in particular I should be caution about when doubling? Like the red pepper flakes? The people I’m serving too can’t handle chilli very well, they’re sensitive and can only handle a little to none. Personally though I can handle a lot chilly (but I can always add that in separately when I serve for myself). How much red pepper flakes should I add? And can chilli powder work instead as a replacement?
    Also, my leeks are quite small, how much small should I add or 3 is still fine?
    Lastly, I only gave Pre-minced garlic, how many tbsps should I use?

    • I definitely would cut back on the chili, but I think otherwise you should be fine. For leeks, I’d do 4 if yours are small. And for the garlic, I’d say start with 1 tablespoon. You can always add more, but can’t take it away 😉

  5. Wonderful texture. I little too spicy for me. I should have gone with my gut and reduced the red pepper flakes and black pepper. I will definitely make again, though.

  6. Can you freeze this soup??
    I am the only one in my house that likes soup. But I dont think I can eat this in one sitting by myself lol

  7. I’m getting ready to start making this soup and am wondering if the cashews have to soak before adding? And do you think an immersion blender will work as opposed to transferring to a blender or food processor? Thanks! It looks delish and I can’t wait to try it.

    • I don’t think you’ll be able to use an immersion blender and have the cashews! If you don’t have time to soak the cashews, I usually add them into the cooking process for about 30 minutes so they soften up a little bit 🙂

  8. I loved this soup so much! I like that it’s spicy, it makes it more satisfying. However, I didn’t really get “holiday” vibes from it (maybe because I omitted the pomegranate seeds). I only used 2 garlic cloves (because mine were massive) and only two leeks (I’ve never cooked with leeks before so I thought they were also pretty big) and I liked the way it turned out a lot. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  9. I love everything about this recipe! However, next time I will omit the red pepper flakes, as I feel it doesn’t “go” with the rest of the ingredients and adds a strange taste to an otherwise delicious soup. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly and enjoyed the result!

  10. […] Healing Cauliflower Holiday Soup […]

  11. […] Healing Cauliflower Holiday Soup […]

  12. […] Healing Cauliflower Holiday Soup […]

  13. This looks great but it says it had quinoa in it as you read your blog part but the recipe had no listing for it in ingredients. Am I missing something?

    • I removed the quinoa from the original recipe because I didn’t feel like it added much (and forgot to update that part of the text). It’s all set now!

  14. In the introduction to the recipe, you mention it contains quinoa but quinoa is not listed in the ingredients. Was this an oversight? I want to try the recipe. It sounds delicious but I don’t want to miss an ingredient.

    • I removed the quinoa from the original recipe because I didn’t feel like it added much (and forgot to update that part of the text). It’s all set now!

    • I removed the quinoa from the original recipe because I didn’t feel like it added much (and forgot to update that part of the text). It’s all set now!

  15. Ummm delicious. Made it tonight and it was super easy (minus my stupid mistake of over filling the blender and having to clean up that mess) and really good. I made it just the way it was written and it turned out perfect. Enjoying it right now with a glass of red wine. Perfect end to a beautiful day. Thanks for the recipe. I will be looking through your website to find more wonderful recipes.

  16. This soup is amazing!! I used 1 large onion instead of leeks, soaked the cashews for about 1 hr. before blending into soup & seasoned with 1 tspn. pink salt, a bit of freshly ground black pepper and topped with a dash or 2 of nutmeg! Served with really good bread. Highly recommend!!

  17. Sounds amazing! I´ve been looking some quinoa recipes for sometime..and also wheat free meals and some without meat. Thank you, I allready love what Ihave seen.:)

  18. Hi Alyssa,
    I make cauliflower soup, and love it, haven’t tried it with cashews, I think they might be a bit too much for diabetics
    Good luck with your new business venture, and have a very Happy, Peaceful, and Blessed Christmas.
    Cheers, Pauline (Down Under)

  19. oh congrats on the big next step!! Love your blog and everything quinoa! The leeks and cauliflower paired with cashews sounds like the perfect start to any meal! What a great soup recipe to add have during the holidays

  20. OMG this soup looks so creamy and what a great idea to sneak in some quinoa! I love having soups during the winter time!

    And congratulations on your new chapter, I’m so excited for you girl! Best of luck – You will do great! 🙂

  21. Alyssa, This soup looks so delicious and soooo pleasing to the eye! I just can’t wait to try it–YUM!!! Thanks for sharing this! Happy Holidays to you 🙂

  22. Congratulations and thanks for providing easy, great tasting, nutritional information — happy holidays. Stay in touch.!

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