A Hearty Cauliflower Soup for Whatever Ails You

December 8, 2016

This riff on the classic Turkish dish will give you a newfound love for cauliflower and cumin. Photo: Eva Kolenko

In the introduction to Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality (Ten Speed Press), best-selling cookbook author Rebecca Katz calls soup “magic.” Soups, according to Katz (and probably also your grandmother), have the power to heal. Nursing a cold? Slurp some soup. Have a friend recovering from a broken heart? Try soup. Want to do a detox diet? Soup.

But Katz, a lifelong soup maker and self-proclaimed “soup shaman,” knows there’s more to soup than chicken and noodles. In fact, Clean Soups features 60 recipes for inventive soups that don’t rely on cream, cheese, or simple carbs to fill you up. Taking influences from cuisines all over the globe, Katz’s soups instead feature healthful, fresh ingredients and plenty of healing spices.

This immune-boosting recipe for cauliflower korma soup skips the cream or yogurt normally found in korma—a traditional braised Turkish or Persian dish—but it’s so packed with flavor, you won’t miss a thing. The hearty cauliflower and sweet potatoes soak up a perfect mix of spices, including ginger, garlic, cumin, and turmeric—which are believed to be anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. “They happen to be good for digestion and good for your memory, too,” says Katz.

Beyond their health benefits, this combination of spices packs a punch familiar to anyone who frequents the Indian food buffet—incredibly bold, warming flavors that aren’t too fiery. As for the heat level of this soup, Katz says it’s a “one-alarmer” thanks to a pinch of red pepper flakes, but she gave spice seekers suggestions for kicking it up a little.

“Amp up the chili pepper flakes—I only call for an ⅛ of a teaspoon to give a hint of heat—you could go to a ½ teaspoon,” she tells me over email, warning me to build slowly and not add it all at once. “And if you want it hotter at the end, add a pinch or two of cayenne. You could also double the ginger.” If you’re nursing a cold, she suggests adding an extra clove or two of garlic.

In addition to spices, Katz is a firm believer in the distinct flavor and healing power of homemade broths, so most of the soups in the book are based one of her four foundational broths. This recipe calls for Magic Mineral Broth, her signature savory base made with carrots onions, leek, celery, and potatoes, plus herbs and spices. If you haven’t made that, Katz suggests substituting “an organic box stock, either low sodium veg or chicken from Imagine or Pacific.” She recommends adding the full 32-ounce box, plus two cups of water and about ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice “just to brighten it up.”

This recipe makes more than enough to share on a chilly night, but since it will keep in the fridge for up to five days, you might just find yourself eating it every day for lunch. Better yet, stick some in the freezer (it will keep there for up to three months) for the next time you feel a cold coming on. Your sick self will thank you later.

Makes 6 servings


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced small
Sea salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 (2-pound) head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size florets
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ heaping teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
6 cups Magic Mineral Broth (made from the book or use boxed low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, preferably by Imagine or Pacific Foods)
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent and slightly golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and cumin seeds and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the cauliflower, sweet potato, coriander, turmeric, ground cumin, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon salt, stirring until coated. Add the reserved tomato juice and ½ cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

2. Add the remaining 5½ cups of broth and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Serve garnished with the cilantro, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Excerpted from: Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright © 2016 by Eva Kolenko.

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Clean Soups

From bestselling author Rebecca Katz comes this collection of 60 recipes for pure, cleansing soups intended to renew and restore.Soup has a unique ability… Read more »

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