Inspired by the Barefoot Contessa, this creamy Ina Garten cauliflower soup is a great way to add some veggies to your diet. The cauliflower and celery boost the vitamin content and give this comforting soup an earthy flavor.
But don’t worry — this cauliflower soup is really hearty and savory with the butter and sour cream. And the bacon bits on top add both crunch and a pop of flavor.
If you like to experiment with different ingredients, try substituting leeks for the onions. Or add a dash of hot pepper for a bit of spicy warmth.
And don’t forget to serve with some crusty bread and maybe a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Inspired By Ina Garten Cauliflower Soup
This dish is based on the Ina Garten cauliflower celery root soup recipe from Barefoot Contessa. But I’ve reworked the recipe a bit to suit my own tastes.
Instead of using fennel and fresh chives, I added mushrooms and basil. I enhanced also this cauliflower soup recipe with butter and garlic cloves. And I skipped the croutons for bacon bits.
Easy Tips for the Best Ina Garten Cauliflower Soup
Start with a flavorful stock
This is a great way to use up vegetable scraps and meat bones that you would otherwise throw away.
If you like to experiment, you can make your own stock with whatever vegetable peelings you have lying around. (Although you should stay away from brassicas because they have a very strong taste.)
For example, carrots, onions, and celery make a great stock. Then add some meat bones and simmer away for the day.
You can also make a plain vegetable stock or plain meat version.
If you choose meat, chicken stock is a great option because it has a relatively mild flavor. If you opt for beef or pork bones, your stock will be much stronger than chicken broth.
And always make sure to strain the stock well! Even though this is a blender puree soup, you want it to be as smooth as possible.
Make your own croutons!
This is also a great way to use up stale bread.
- First, cut your bread into ¾-inch cubes.
- Then toss them with a little olive oil and salt.
- Finally, bake them at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes until crispy. And don’t forget to turn them over once while they’re baking so they cook evenly.
To make things even quicker, you can do this while your Ina Garten soup is cooking!
How to Thicken Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Soup
If your cauliflower soup is a little too thin for your taste, there are a number of different ways to thicken it up.
Cornstarch or Flour
First, you could add a powdered thickener, such as cornstarch, potato starch, or flour. These will react with the water in the cauliflower soup to give it more body.
To use these, whisk a few tablespoons of the starch or flour into cold water, and then drizzle it slowly into the cauliflower soup. And make sure you’re stirring or whisking the soup as you add the water.
Also, make sure that you dissolve the powder in cold water before adding it to hot soup, or you’ll get clumps. As well, make sure that the cauliflower soup comes to a boil to cook the starch after you add it.
Finally, keep in mind that cornstarch is about twice as strong a thickener as flour, so adjust your quantities accordingly.
As an alternative to flour, you could add ground nuts. In fact, this was one of the first ways that people around the world thickened soup.
For this option, grind some nuts in the blender or food processor until they are extremely fine but have not yet turned into butter. Then, mix the nuts with some broth, and stir it into the cauliflower soup.
It’s also useful to soak the nuts overnight at room temperature or in hot water for 15 minutes before grinding. Alternatively, you could use a spoonful of nut butter.
There are lots of different options for nuts depending on what flavor you want, but cashews are a pretty neutral nut. In general, stay away from peanuts unless you want that very strong taste!
As a third option, you could try the French beurre manié. In this case, it’s similar to making a roux to thicken a white sauce.
First, measure out equal amounts of flour and butter, and knead them together into a paste. Then add your beurre manié while whisking the cauliflower soup so that it doesn’t clump.
Finally, stir so that the paste dissolves. In addition, make sure that the soup is hot enough to cook the raw flour.
My Version of Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Soup
- Prep Time20 min
- Cook Time55 min
- Total Time1 hr 15 min
- Servings5 to 6
There are just a few pantry ingredients and pieces of equipment you’ll need for cooking this Ina Garten cauliflower soup.
- Prepare the Vegetables
Melt the butter in your pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
Add onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. If you use garlic powder, add it in step 5 with the chicken stock instead.
Next, add the celery and mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes. Then, add cauliflower florets and cover the pot.
Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking cauliflower and other veggies for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Simmer And Puree
Add chicken broth and basil, and bring the roasted cauliflower mixture to a simmer. Then simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally.
Next, puree the cauliflower soup in batches until it’s very smooth. Since blending hot liquids can be dangerous, make sure you don’t overfill the blender.
Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender and blend the soup directly in the pot.
Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and put it back on the stove. Then add the sour cream and salt (adjusting the salt levels according to your tastes and the saltiness of your chicken stock).
- Preheat Oven
Gently reheat the soup over medium low heat. When hot, ladle the cauliflower soup into a tureen or individual bowls.
Finally, top the soup with drizzled olive oil, ground pepper, and bacon bits. Enjoy!
- If it’s the main dish, serve it with croutons, toast, or a side salad for a filling meal.
- Also, try pairing it with grilled cheese, roast chicken, or oven-baked salmon.
Delicious Ways to Adapt This Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Soup Recipe
Cauliflower soup is a very versatile dish, so feel free to experiment in the kitchen.
- Herbs: to eat cauliflower soup, you can use different herbs to change the flavor. So instead of basil, try using fresh thyme, or sprinkle chopped fresh chives on at the end – just like Ina Garten does. Or, add a bay leaf or two at the beginning when you saute the vegetables. But remember to discard the leaves before serving. When playing with herbs, try using just one at a time because the flavors can get muddled if you add too many.
- Fennel: Another addition you can try is chopped fennel. This is exactly what Ina Garten proposes. So for this, you can either replace the mushrooms with an equal amount of fennel, or you can just add extra veggies. Keep in mind that fennel does have an anise flavor – this is delicious for some people, but others hate it.
- Vegetarian or vegan: Also, it’s easy to make this Ina Garten cauliflower soup vegetarian! All you have to do is swap vegetable broth for the chicken stock. Also, omit the bacon bits. And if you want to make it vegan, use coconut cream instead of sour cream.
- Cheese: But if you really like your dairy, you can also add cheese. For example, parmesan or cheddar would taste delicious in this soup.
- Texture: In addition, you can add some texture. So try keeping a few small cauliflower florets aside while you blend, and put them back in afterward.
More Easy Soup Recipes You’ll Love
- Ina Garten Potato Leek Soup
- Ina Garten Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe
- Easy Crockpot Taco Soup Recipe
- Trader Joe’s French Onion Soup
How to Store and Freeze Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Soup
It’s easy to store leftovers, so make a big batch!
If you’re going to eat your soup in the next couple of days, then the refrigerator is your best option.
For this, simply let your soup cool to room temperature, and then pour it into a storage container with a lid that seals well. If possible, do this within 2 hours of finishing cooking so that it doesn’t sit out for too long.
After that, eat your leftover cauliflower soup within about 3 days.
If you want to save your Ina Garten soup for the future, you can put it in the freezer. This way it will last for about 6 months without losing quality.
However, if you want to keep your soup tasting as good as possible, keep these things in mind.
First, if you’re making a chunky soup, undercook the vegetables a little bit. That way, when you defrost and reheat the soup, the cauliflower pieces won’t be overcooked.
Second, if you’re making this ahead of time in order to freeze it, don’t add the sour cream. Since freezing dairy products can sometimes curdle them, adding cream when you reheat the soup is a better idea.
- 9.2g Fat
- 14.3g Carbs