FitFitBanner Images

Recipes Recipes

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream

Share on Tumblr

Recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Cauliflower has an enthusiastic following in France, where it is one of the staples of the winter market, its big, nubbled, snowy white heads standing out among the season’s mostly brown vegetables. The hefty heads, the majority of which come from Brittany and are beautiful enough to be centerpieces, often serve as the base for rich sauces and cheesy toppings. Cauliflower’s earthiness does lend itself well to cream and cheese, but the vegetable also has an elegant side, the one that shines in this light, smooth, pale soup, which has the look and texture of a velouté (cream soup) but not a drop of cream (there isn’t even a potato in it to thicken it). This is the soup I served to American friends in Paris in the hopes of making cauliflower converts of them — and it worked.

I served it generously peppered and plain, but it’s a soup that welcomes embellishments, simple or lavish. For simple, consider drizzling the soup with a little walnut oil or dusting it with grated Parmesan or Comté. If you want to go lavish, top the soup with crème fraîche or, better still, crème fraîche and caviar — the slight saltiness of caviar is perfection with cauliflower. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a truffle, shave it over the soup; cauliflower and black truffles are an inspired combination. To get every bit of pleasure out of the combo, you should bring the hot soup to the table and shave the truffle over each person’s bowl individually so that everyone can enjoy the fragrance that’s released when the truffle is cut and further intensified when it’s warmed by the soup.

For another elegant version of this soup, one that pairs it with a sister treasure from coastal Brittany, mussels, see Bonne Idée.

Makes 8 Servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 Vidalia, Spanish, or large yellow onions (about 3/4 pound), coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 thyme sprigs, leaves only Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, broken into florets (discard the tough core)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth

Optional Toppings

  • Extra-virgin olive oil or walnut oil
  • Grated cheese
  • Crushed toasted walnuts
  • Crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Caviar
  • Shaved truffles


    1. Put the olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot and warm over low heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions, garlic, celery, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of white pepper. Stir until all the ingredients glisten with oil and butter, then cover the pot and cook slowly, stirring often, for 20 minutes.
    2. Toss the cauliflower into the pot and pour in the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so that the broth simmers gently, and cook, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft.
    3. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor; or use an immersion blender. This soup is best when it is very smooth, so if you think it needs it, push it through a strainer. (If you’ve used a standard blender, this shouldn’t be necessary.) Taste for salt and pepper; I like to pepper the soup generously.
    4. Serve plain or garnished with the topping of your choice.

Because it is elegant, this soup seems more suited to shallow soup plates than big bowls, but nothing about the crockery is going to change the enjoyment it delivers. If you’d like, top the soup with a drizzle of oil (olive or walnut), some grated cheese, toasted nuts, crème fraîche (or sour cream), caviar, or truffles.

The soup can be kept covered in the refrigerator for 3 days or, packed airtight, in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Photo by Flicker user ghirson / CC BY-NC 2.0

Reminder: The ingredients in a recipe determine if it should be eaten every day, some days, or on special occasions. It's up to you and you doctor to determine what can be part of a healthy diet for you and any special needs you may have.

Comments are closed.

Photo by Flicker user mollycakes / CC BY-NC 2.0

Move Over, Kale Chips! Kale Buds Are Here

By Lari Robling - April 18th, 2012

High Tunnel farming caught my eye because its extended growing season adds to the amount of local produce we get. While farm manager Aviva Asher was tidying up the winter crop to make way for spring, I discovered another benefit of local growing: use what you’ve got.

December 2014
« Jun    

Got a question for Fit? Want to submit your own "fit and fresh" recipe? Have a good story idea for us?

Contact us at

Get Healthy Philly is part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative, a federal effort to: prevent and delay chronic disease, reduce risk factors, promote wellness in children and adults, and provide positive sustainable health change in our communities.

Food Fit Philly is part of Get Healthy Philly, a program that works to reduce and prevent obesity and related chronic diseases (like heart disease and diabetes) by increasing access to healthy foods that people can afford.

Your body needs help when it's time to quit. SmokeFree Philly is a program of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that offers support and tools to help smokers quit. The goal of SmokeFree Philly is to: help people to quit smoking, stop people from starting to use tobacco, and reduce heart disease, cancer and other illnesses caused by smoking.