The scene: a solstice party. A guest interrogates the host about the soup.

“I love this soup! What’s in it?”

“Cauliflower, mostly.”

“And potatoes?”

“No, just cauliflower, broth, garlic, olive oil, rice, and some spices.”

“And cream?”

“No, no cream, it’s actually vegan.”

“Are you sure there’s no potato in there?”

It took some time, but I finally convinced my guest that the soup had very few simple ingredients, and in fact was also simple to prepare. You know I’m not very orthodox about following or recording recipes, but here it is.

Suspiciously Simple Creamy Cauliflower Soup


  • 1 cauliflower, chopped into 1″ chunks
  • 2-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup short grain white rice
  • Olive oil
  • Cuimin
  • Coriander
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garnishes, if you’re feeling fancy: 3 brussels sprouts and/or a handful of walnut halves


  1. Gather all your ingredients and equipment; chill the white wine.
  2. Put some olive oil in a soup pot and heat it while you do the next step.
  3. Remove any leaves from the cauliflower and chop it into chunks. Don’t get hung up on the size, and don’t worry about all the little bits, we’ll use those too. Chop the garlic fine but not too fine.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower and let it brown a bit. You may need to toss it around to get all the chunks exposed to the oil.
  5. Add the garlic and generous helpings of salt, pepper, coriander and cumin.  You can substitute other spices here depending on what you have in mind.  Stir some more. Doesn’t it smell good?
  6. Add the broth to just about cover the cauliflower. If you don’t have enough, add some water.
  7. Add the rice and stir. Cover the pot.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a while, probably 15-30 minutes. Drink the white wine, but don’t forget to check on the cauliflower and give it a stir periodically.
  9. When the cauliflower is soft enough to be mashed with a fork, remove the soup from the heat and let it cool down.
  10. Blend the soup to a smooth consistency. I recommend a handheld immersion blender, but you can also ladle it into a regular blender or food processor. If, like me, you have not waited long enough and the soup is still hot, be very careful when you blend it.  If necessary, add water to achieve desired thickness.
  11. Reheat or serve at room temperature.  Optionally, garnish with fried chopped brussels sprouts and fresh-ground pepper, or a toasted walnut half and a drizzle of olive oil, or both. It’s your soup, after all.