Roasted cauliflower & cheddar soup

Jesse Donaldson

This recipe is slightly adapted from the clever couple at two peas and their pod.

blog - cauliflower soup 2

I don’t really like soup. I never order it in a restaurant. I never find myself craving it. When I decide to make something special for dinner, it’s never soup. It’s just not that satisfying.

So here I am – my very first blog post – with  a soup recipe. How did that happen? I’ve come to realize the answer: I actually do like it. When I make it at home, whether it’s a fall squash soup, a broccoli and tahini soup, a carrot soup, or this roasted cauliflower soup, I always enjoy it. These are hearty, healthy and inexpensive, not jam-packed with salt or drowned in flavourless broth. These recipes also have something else in common – a vegetable purée base. I think this explains my self-perpetuated myth that soup is boring. Broth-based soups with a handful of lonely ingredients floating in the bowl are boring (we’ve all had one of these in a restaurant or at home from a can). That’s why I love recipes like this one. This soup features the roasted cauliflower in  a very simple way, yet it still feels like a complete and satisfying meal.

A few crib notes for this recipe. I loved the added flavour of roasting the cauliflower, and I’m rather disappointed I didn’t think to do this earlier. It could add a great flavour to almost all vegetable-based soups. Secondly, use whatever cheese you have on hand, but if it’s not sufficiently “punchy” it may just make the soup greasy without any value added. Aunt Sharon, I trust that you have a Vermont import that would be even nicer than the Balderson 3-year-old I used. Summer, you must find it impossible to get cheese in Switzerland (ha)!

…. I am awarding myself the “Always A Good Dinner: How many times can you use the word soup in one blog post” award! Stay tuned for my acceptance speech.

Blog - cauliflower soup

2 small heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large potato
2 cloves garlic
1 Spanish onion, diced
Enough vegetable broth to cover the cauliflower/potato… 3.5 cups-ish
Chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
Olive oil
Smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Toss the cauliflower florets in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until light brown. According the the original recipe, this will take 20-30 minutes. I inadvertently left mine in for longer, which didn’t seem to hinder the recipe. My garlic was rather… toasted… but it gave the soup a nice “rustic” flavour. 

2. Sweat onions in a stockpot. 

3. Add roasted cauliflower and garlic, thyme, diced potato, and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. This is where I become a useless food blogger; I don’t know the exact broth measurement, but I think this comes down to personal taste. I used just enough broth to cover the cauliflower/potato and the texture of the soup was perfect. If it’s too runny, add another potato, more vegetables, or even a bit of tahini to serve. 

4. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cauliflower and potato are soft, approximately 20-25 minutes. Use an immersion blender to zizz the soup.

5. Add smoked paprika, ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes to allow flavours to come together.

6. Stir in cheddar cheese and remove from heat.

7. Top with ground pepper, smoked paprika and fresh thyme!

Jesse is a twenty-something year old, living in Toronto, who would sooner sell her boyfriend’s possessions than cut the grocery budget.
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    After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

– Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance