the moveable feasts

Cauliflower Soup with Aged White Cheddar and Dijon Croutons

with 22 comments


The steady drizzle of rain that has been going on without end here today has ushered in the Season of Rain  (which happens to be one of only two seasons the Northwest offers, in case you didn’t know). But, surprisingly, I was kind of happy when I saw the rain from outside my kitchen window early this morning. All of a sudden, I welcomed the idea of walking to school in my boots, scarves, and sweaters, clinging to my umbrella.

Speaking of which, I have to confess: I have finally completely converted from a rain jacket-person to an umbrella-person. This is a big deal in the Northwest. As in, people in Seattle will scorn at you if you’re carrying around an umbrella, and even more so if that umbrella is one of those giant kinds. The people there and in the Northwest in general like their windbreakers, and they take pride in wearing them wherever they walk (or, more realistically, bike). And believe me, I have tried to make it work. It just wasn’t meant to be.


Anyway, when it’s chilly and pouring outside, the only thing I really want is a big bowl of soup with toast or croutons. You’d think the wetness outside would prompt me to crave something more dry, like I don’t know, chicken served over rice or a loaf of fresh bread, warm from the oven. Actually, now that I’m writing it out, that bread sounds pretty perfect right about now. But, perfect with soup, of course! Right? Whatever, this post is already unraveling right before my fingertips so I should just get a move on. Point is: rain outside, soup inside. Good things happen. Particularly with this kind of soup.

chop up into florets

The recipe comes from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook. I was drawn to the recipe not only because the photo displayed in the cookbook may have been the first one ever to make cauliflower soup look drop-dead, amazingly good-looking, but because the flavors profiled in the soup are some of my favorites: dijon and aged white sharp cheddar cheese.

cauliflower soup with homemade croutons

It’s a homely and light-looking little meal, pale and smooth, but don’t be misled by the heft of these croutons. Crunchy, salty, and deceivingly flavorful, they are nothing short of addicting. While I stored leftover soup in the fridge to eat for lunches throughout the week, I had no croutons to put away. Because I ate the entire batch of them in one night. All of them! Heidi suggests that if you want to make a meal of this, serve the soup over cubes of fried paneer cheese or poached eggs. But really, if you want to make a meal of this (the Amy way), serve yourself up a bowl, top with a big handful of croutons, make sure every spoonful of soup contains one, and replenish croutons as needed. Trust me, you will be full—and happy.

cauliflower soup with homemade croutons

One Year Ago: Asado’s Sweet and Spiced Lentils

Cauliflower Soup with Aged White Cheddar and Dijon Croutons
Adapted slightly from Super Natural Every Day
Serves 4 to 6

6 ounces (170 g) bread, torn and chunked into little pieces
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 big yellow onion, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
14 ounces cauliflower, cut into small florets
2.5 ounces (75 g) aged white sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

To prepare the croutons, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack centered in the middle of the oven. Scatter the torn bread over a baking sheet. In a small bowl (I just used the one I melted the butter with), whisk the melted butter, olive oil, mustard and salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread pieces, and toss well to coat. Bake, tossing the croutons once or twice along the way, for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown all around and crunchy. Set aside.

To make the soup, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and a big pinch of salt. Saute until the onions soften and are starting to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the potato, cover, and cook for about another 4 minutes, just long enough for the potato pieces to soften up a bit. Stir in the garlic, and after about 30 seconds or when it becomes fragrant, add in the broth. Bring to a boil, while allowing the potatoes to become tender. Once they are, add in the cauliflower pieces. Cook, covered, for an additional 4 or 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

Remove the pan from heat and puree the soups, in batches, in the blender, making sure to never fill the blender over half full. If you have one of those fancy immersion blenders, this would be the time to use it. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in about half the cheese, and the two teaspoons mustard. Add more broth if you want to thin the soup at all. Serve, sprinkling each bowl with more grated cheddar and a small handful (or  more, if you’re me) of the croutons

Written by Amy

October 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Soups

Tagged with , ,

22 Responses

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  1. Homey, pale, and smooth—love it! I can see why you wanted to make it after seeing a beautiful photo of it, I want to make (and eat) it now, too!

  2. I totally know what you mean about umbrellas vs rain jackets. Portland is no exception. It’s currently pouring. I try to rock the rain jacket as much as possible, but when I’m at the office, it’s umbrella 24/7. The idea of showing up looking like a drowned rat isn’t all that appealing. Rain boots are fun, though.

    This soup looks so delicious—smooth and creamy. Love the addition of dijon croutons!


    October 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    • Haha, yeah I think it’s the drowned rat thing that has turned me towards umbrellas. And thank you! The croutons are the best.


      October 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

  3. This looks beautiful! :)


    October 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm

  4. Thanks so much for highlighting this recipe – I agree, the combination of flavors just makes sense! I’ll have to give this a try.


    October 13, 2012 at 12:33 am

    • Please do! The flavors can’t be beat. Let me know if you try it out!


      October 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm

  5. I’m not a big soup fan but those mustardy cheddar croutons sound absolutely divine. And Heidi’s recipes are fab so even I might be tempted to try the soup too!


    October 13, 2012 at 2:14 am

    • Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Heidi Swanson recipe and been disappointed. If you do turn on to soups on day, I’d give this one a try. :)


      October 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm

  6. Ah, I’m such a soup fan! I just walked my dog in the bitter cold with hats and gloves on. Is it strange I want to eat this for breakfast? This recipe is great, isn’t it? I’ve never gone wrong with any of her recipes. And congrats, you’ve successfully made cauliflower soup look appealing!


    October 13, 2012 at 4:50 am

    • Haha thanks Stephanie. I loved your post on your soup and the struggles of photographing something so colorless and texture-less. Oh well, at least in the end we know these soups taste good. ;)


      October 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm

  7. That soup looks like the perfect meal on a chilly day. :) I love the croutons–they look so rustic and crunchy and amazing.

  8. I love this soup–I made it so many times last winter. Time to break it out again! Your mouthwatering photos remind me how great it is. :)


    October 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

    • I hope this is a recipe I’ll be keeping close all winter. I’m glad I got to remind you of it!


      October 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm

  9. This sounds just like what Im craving right now Amy amy!! Its also super rainy here in the Uk (surprise!!!) and I was actually just contemplating soup. The problem is we have like no cookware – i mean NONE – so its probably going to have to be shop bought.. and none of the shops near here have soup nearly as exciting. Boo. Anyways – I also wanted to say Im sorry I havent been commenting as much as usual – I still heart your blog big time and Im REALLY looking forward to getting back on track reading wise and cooking some more yummy recipes that kale quinoa fritata has been on my mind recently :). I just need to get properly settled in. oh AND I am totally a raincoat person.. much to Louis dismay as they umbrellas are so much more sophisticated. But dont you get bored with carrying it around!??! Take care love!

    Em (Wine and Butter)

    October 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

    • Em, so nice to hear from you. What a sweet comment, but don’t feel guilty at all for not being around lately. I’ve been missing you though! Sounds like you’re a bit busy and unsettled at the moment – I hope that all calms down for you soon enough (or at least soon enough for you to start visiting and cooking more)!


      October 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm

  10. Mmm I love cauliflower soup! Especially with some good croutons!


    October 17, 2012 at 4:05 am

  11. After getting home from my vacations, all I craved was soup. We went from really hot to rainy and cold in such a short time. No time to adapt to the cold properly. Its only natural I wanted to eat soup all day, right?
    I never made a cauliflower soup before, I think, but I wanted to try for quite some time, and this recipe sounds like a winner to me. The dijon croutons sound amazing.
    And I just wanted to say that I really looked forward to reading your blog again now that I am back home. I love your writing.


    October 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

    • Ah, thanks so much Lena for the compliment. Your comments are always so thoughtful.

      And soup is the perfect way to adapt to abrupt changes in the weather! And whether you make this soup or another recipe, please do make the croutons! They’re perfect with the cauliflower I think.


      October 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

  12. Thanks for posting this recipe and your beautiful photos. I made it today – followed the recipe exactly, except didn’t puree all the cauliflower so there were pieces of it in the soup. It was absolutely AMAZING! So flavorful and hearty, even with light ingredients (and no cream :)). Your brother almost ate all the croutons (and I doubled the batch)! YUM.


    October 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

  13. I’m TOTALLY an umbrella person. Rain jacket’s are just so noisy and stiff and blah. I’m also a cauliflower soup person. What’s funny is that when you posted this I had a pot of cauliflower soup on the stove too. The recipe I used was from Zuppe, a cookbook from the American Academy in Rome, and it was delish. It was fun to think that we were both eating cauliflower soup at the same time and it made me think…how far away are we…thanks to google I now know that we are 5251 miles – as the crow flies – away from each other.

    ….can you see I’m on a comment binge right now? ha!


    October 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    • Oh this comment made me so happy! I love thinking of that type of thing, how around the world people have similar things bubbling away on the stovetop or in the oven. I hope you post that soup recipe on your blog– now that I’ve been introduced to cauliflower soup I’m wanting to see what else is out there for it. And hoorah for comment binges! :>


      October 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm

  14. […] Inspiration: The Moveable Feasts […]

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