Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup


09 Oct Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup


Just as this blog has turned me into a food snob, it has also made me think more about the whole process of creating a dish. Used to be if I start out making cinnamon buns, that’s what I’d end up with. But now? I never know what will appear. I often find myself heading confidently in one direction and part way through feeling pulled toward another. Last month, my fried green tomatoes morphed into a Parmesan, and last night? A stir-fry transformed into soup.

And no. It wasn’t an attempt to salvage another kitchen disaster.

Lorraine of Copywriters’ Kitchen recently left a comment about how the  No-Butter Butter Chicken was a hit with her family. This reminded me I still had some homemade garam masala twiddling its metaphorical thumbs in my cupboard. I set out to make a side dish, but the rainy autumn chill and warming aromas steered me toward soup.

Pushed me there is more like it. I felt I had no choice.

This soup is inspired by Bal Arneson’s Cauliflower with Yams from Everyday Indian (Whitecap, 2009). I substituted sweet potatoes, which are not the same as yams, used her spicing and then let the pot dictate the results. My non-tasting husband found it mild, but I wouldn’t dare to serve it to my super-taster sister. The ginger alone would kill her. Being smack-dab in the middle, I’m perfectly happy with the spicing as it is. Feel free to fiddle to suit your palate.

Am I the only one who lets the ingredients boss her about? Or have I summoned the Muse of Vegetables without knowing it?

Anyway, here’s the recipe.

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 6 to 8


  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala (recipe follows No-Butter Butter Chicken recipe)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups stock, chicken or vegetable
  • 1 large cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk, regular or light
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper


  1. Heat a Dutch oven with a heavy bottom over medium-high heat. Add the oil and saute the onions for a few minutes or until the begin to get soft.
  2. Add ginger, cumin seeds, garam masala, and turmeric. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes. Stir to coat.
  4. Add the stock, bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add cauliflower and simmer covered until both the cauliflower and sweet potatoes are tender (about another 10 minutes).
  6. Add the coconut milk and puree until smooth. I used an immersion blender, but you can do it with a blender in batches.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Related Post

No Comments
  • Cheryl
    Posted at 14:49h, 09 October Reply

    Pretty soup, and cauliflower can often be visually uninspiring so pairing it with sweet potatoes was a great aesthetic (not to mention flavor) choice.

    I once made a cucumber and watermelon salad, and it morphed into a gazpacho by accident (, Sometimes the ingredients really are smarter than the cook. Not that you’re not smart (you know what I mean)…

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:53h, 09 October Reply

      Cheryl, I know what you mean. Thanks for sharing your gazpacho story. I feel better now.

      I swear the ingredients are beginning to get a mind of their own. Now if I can only get my sweet potatoes to do my bookkeeping for me…

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 19:28h, 09 October Reply

    Hey Sis,
    I was all for it when I read the title, but you are right, I would change the seasoning! I love the idea of marrying cauliflower and sweet potato and may just try it to use up some left over of each I have.
    Yum yum.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:48h, 10 October Reply

      I knew it would be too spicy for you, but if you try it, please, please, please, don’t use plain old curry powder. Your food snob sister couldn’t take it. I have some curry plant you can try.

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 20:35h, 09 October Reply

    Totally was going to say what Cheryl said – super smart combo! Love the colour combo in your photo, too.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:51h, 10 October Reply

      Thanks Dana. I’m surprised I’ve never tried the cauliflower and sweet potato combo before. Now I’m hooked.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 02:05h, 10 October Reply

    Ginger is tough for a super taster? Having just failed/passed the super taster test (Oh, I SO am) I wonder if this is why I’m not a huge ginger fan. I’m waiting for some extra strips and will be testing the rest of the family as soon as I get them.

    PS I have that book now and am still overwhelmed by Indian cooking. Soon, soon.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:02h, 10 October Reply

      Cheryl, it’s not so cut and dried, but ginger has heat and is a strong flavour. Super-tasters tend to like delicate flavours and are far more sensitive to spicy-hot foods. It’s a scale and no two people have the same palate, but it’s likely you dislike ginger for the very reasons I embrace it.

      You don’t need strips to test what type of taster you are. In five questions it was clear Andrew’s a non-taster (which is a horrid term and inaccurate), I’m a medium-taster and half my family are non-tasters. Try to plan a gathering around THAT? Anyway, here is a quiz that can give you a pretty good idea of what type of taster you are in a few minutes:

  • Sophie
    Posted at 18:22h, 10 October Reply

    What a lovely & Indian inspired soup this!! Healthy as a bonus!!


    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:57h, 12 October Reply

      Sophie, if you try this, I’d love to hear what you think. I loved it with a bit of cilantro sprinkled on top.

  • Sabrina Quaraishi
    Posted at 21:38h, 13 October Reply

    It’s suddenly gotten cold in the East Coast and tried to make this soup tonight. Turned out lovely! I sprinkled some freshly ground pepper and cumin right before serving to give it a little ummphh :-) Loved the color, the warmth and the flavor. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Sabrina

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:31h, 14 October Reply

      Thanks so much for getting back to me on this, Sabrina. The dash of pepper and cumin sound delicious. I gave mine a generous sprinkling of cilantro. And you’re right. It’s perfect for cold weather.

  • Kaitlin
    Posted at 19:54h, 04 April Reply

    This sounds incredible. I like the colors in your photo, too :)
    .-= Kaitlin´s last blog ..Spent =-.

  • Jaime
    Posted at 19:05h, 15 January Reply

    I really enjoyed this soup and so did my 16 month old! He won’t eat cauliflower by itself, but he ate a whole bowl of this. I did omit the garam masala because I didn’t have any and I used coriander, extra cumin and a little cayenne pepper instead. I added some whole milk yogurt to cool it down and it added a nice creaminess!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:02h, 17 January Reply

      @Jaime, I love it when people take a recipe and make it their own. Your alterations sound perfect.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to post your results. I’m thrilled to know a toddler liked the soup. There is no higher praise!

Post A Reply to Sabrina Quaraishi Cancel Reply

Subscribe to my newsletter.

It’s easy. It’s free. It’s informative.


Receive weekly tips, recipes and advanced notice of upcoming events.

Yes, please!