Pureed Cauliflower Soup

only six ingredients

I’m back in the US of A! It’s certainly good to be home. Comforting, even. I’m excited to sleep in my own bed, drink strong American coffee and to catch up on hours of my favorite television shows. Having said that, I desperately miss Japan. I fell in love with it, as I was told I would and sort of thought I wouldn’t, because really, people seem to romanticize the hell out of Tokyo so I figured I’d like it well enough but not fall head over heels like I ended up doing. It’s just the best place in the world, I have to say. The people are amazing, the food is unspeakably good, and sweet lord the subways are so efficient and clean (so were Taipei’s, but that’s for another post). I. Love. Tokyo. I already want to go back, but not in the same way that you want to go back when you come home from most vacations. We weren’t really ~relaxing~ in Tokyo. It’s not that kind of a place, but that’s what I adored. It didn’t make me feel wishful, it just felt normal. That’s what’s so exciting about it. It seemed like a place I could actually live, not in a “I wish I were still on the beach” way, but in a way where you start to think about how much stuff of yours you could sell on Craigslist before you’d be able to move into a small Japanese apartment. It’s a little hectic, sure, but you do find moments of tranquility as you speed through the stalls in the markets and the hoards of people in the streets. There are places of refuge, like the temples on the outskirts of the cities, or the quiet restaurants where people slurp up his or her ramen quickly and disperse without uttering so many words. It’s much like New York in so many ways, and then again, it’s the complete opposite, despite being a bustling metropolitan city. I thought that I’d be overwhelmed with Tokyo. People kept telling me that it was “insane”, and not in a fun way, more in a chaotic way, but I didn’t find that at all. It reminded me a lot of home, but with a few differences that make it a city unlike any other. I felt totally comfortable and happy in Tokyo. Sure, it’s busy, but it didn’t feel any more busy than NYC, and hey, everyone there STANDS IN LINE for the (albeit incredibly crowded) subway, so there’s already one victory point checked in the Tokyo column in my brain. You can also get really good food in the subway, and did I mention that the stations are so. freaking. clean. Kramer and I were very subway-focused on this trip, probably just because we were absolutely amazed at its condition. New Yorkers, get your shit together. Visit Tokyo and see what your daily commute could be like if we all stopped eating on the subway and threw our trash away in the proper receptacles. It’s possible to not live like a bunch of dirt bags! Mine eyes hath been opened.

pureed cauliflower soup

Aside from the immaculate subway system (that, to New York’s credit, does not run 24 hours a day), Tokyo had a lot to offer. We arrived super late the first day, a little after midnight, so Kramer and I dropped off our stuff at our Airbnb in Shibuya, then immediately found a bar to grab a beer and some grilled meats in. Then a second bar, where we had offal skewers of liver, heart, chicken tail and more, alongside fried octopus balls (takoyaki), beer and sake. We slept in as best as we could the next morning, then grabbed some delicious, porky ramen, walked around the Akihabara neighborhood, then made our way to the Tokyo National Museum. We headed home for a quick nap, then met up with our friends will and Minaë, who took us to their friend’s amazing restaurant, where we feasted like locals. We had whole fresh scallop on shiso leaves, scallop tartar with nori that we ate like tacos, fluke sashimi, cod liver with pickled plum, grated yam with raw oyster and uni, seaweed shabu-shabu, then that same shabu-shabu broth served with egg and rice, plum sorbet and so much more that my jet-lagged brain cannot currently recall. It was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. and I am so grateful that they took us there. After a street beer (or streeties, as Will says he calls them, because you can just buy a beer at a deli and walk around with it in the street and subway – amazing), we stopped at Minaë’s friend’s bar, Bubbles, before calling it a night. The next day, we bravely woke up early to catch a train to Kyoto, grabbing bento boxes per Will and Minaë’s instructions to eat on the train. The shumai and rice really helped absorb the previous night’s alcohol, along with a little catnap. We got to Kyoto around 11am and just started wandering. We walked through the Kyoto Imperial Palace, then ate our way through Nishiki Market, where we had skewered smoked scallops, eel onigiri, scallion fish cakes and sausage wrapped in rice dough, and did a little shopping. Still hungry, we stopped at a casual sushi place for a little nigiri, then hopped on a bus to Kiyomizu-dera, a temple just outside of the main city. It started to rain just a little, but it lightened up and when the sun came out, it was absolutely beautiful. Kramer and I couldn’t believe that something so perfect was hidden so far up on the top of a mountain. As we explored, a group of school children stopped Kramer and wanted to interview him about why he was visiting Kyoto and where he was from, then they had their teacher take a photo of them with him. It was adorable. On our way back down the mountain, we stopped for some warm sake, then ate soba at Sobanomi Yoshimura, where we watched talented chefs make noodles right in front of us. Exhausted, we got back on the train and slept the whole way back to Tokyo, where plans to grab a nightcap faded as we could barely keep our eyes open after our long day. Not to worry – there’s always tomorrow!

pureed cauliflower soup

As you can see, we did a lot of eating in Japan. Obviously. That’s half of the reason that we went! I’m not ready to fully get back into the swing of things quite yet (I still need pizza, after all), but when I am, this cauliflower soup is going to be back on our weekly menu. I love winter vegetable soups, but sometimes I do not feel like roasting them in the oven, then grabbing a bowl, pureeing everything, then heating it up – that’s two or three cooking vessels and a lot more dishes than I’m ready to handle right now. That’s why this soup from Clean Slate is so awesome – just simmer everything in a pot for around 20 minutes, puree and eat! For a little texture, you can certainly crisp up some cauliflower leaves, which I didn’t know was possible but plan to do again because it’s just so damn pretty, but that’s for those of you who have the time and energy. Otherwise, the soup will keep you plenty happy, especially when you consider that each serving only has 80 calories and 1 gram of fat, yet still packs in 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. That will definitely help make up for all of the takoyaki I ate in Japan. And while I was lucky enough to be gifted a set of these gorgeous Martha Stewart white dishes from Macy’s, you have the chance to get more recipes like these, as explained in my previous post, by winning a copy of Clean Slate! To enter, simply comment here and tell me about your upcoming travel plans for 2015, or Tweet or Instagram a photo of this soup or salmon with the hashtag #cleanslate! I’m extending the giveaway until Saturday, March 1st, so be sure to enter! I love this book and I know you will, too.

pureed cauliflower soupFirst order of business in Japan: get ramen. Dipping ramen, at that, called tsukemen, with lots of pork.

pureed cauliflower soupKramer being cute as we took a break walking around the Tokyo National Museum.

pureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower soupThe next day we went to Kyoto and wandered the grounds of the Imperial Palace.

pureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower soupThen we made our way to Nishiki Market.

pureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower soupAnd finally, to Kiyomizu-dera, a temple on the outskirts of Kyoto.

pureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower souppureed cauliflower soupIt was stunning, even despite a little rain.

pureed cauliflower soupWell, let’s get back to reality, shall we? A good place to start is with this cauliflower soup.

pureed cauliflower soupAll you have to do is pile your cauliflower florets, and maybe a little garlic, in a pot, add chicken stock, and simmer until tender.

pureed cauliflower soupBe sure to save some of the leaves from the head of cauliflower to roast for a crispy garnish.

pureed cauliflower soupGarnish with the crispy leaves after you puree the soup, and add a bit of freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

pureed cauliflower soup

Pureed Cauliflower Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Creamy cauliflower soup made with 6 ingredients total!
  • 2½ cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed (I used about ¾ cup additional stock in my soup)
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets, plus 8 small leaves for garnish, set aside
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium sized saucepan, combine the stock, cauliflower and garlic cloves, if using. Season everything with a pinch of salt and pepper, then bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Once tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth, or puree in batches in a food processor or blender, then return to your original pot, adding more stock as needed to reach the consistency you desire. Reheat the soup over medium-low heat, taste and then season with salt and pepper.
  3. While your soup cooks, toss your cauliflower leaves with a little oil, salt and pepper. Roast until browned, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Divide your soup into bowls and garnish with some of the cauliflower leaves, fresh pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Adapted From


26 Responses

    • sheri says:

      Went to Kyoto in the Spring of 1999 for a few days and it was beautiful. Visited many of the temples and the cherry blossoms were all in bloom. The past couple of years, have fallen in love with Turkey and plan to return for three weeks most likely in September. Will rent a car and drive down the western coast and also check out some of the islands. The food is fantastic and so much history.

  1. Ikhwan Khaliq says:

    Nice blog you have here. The pics are amazing!


  2. Marfigs says:

    Oh I hope this is open internationally? *fingers crossed* Beautiful photos as always – I need to show these to my husband because our holiday photos always look so blah in comparison :)

    Anyway! My upcoming travel plans for 2015 are to go to Morocco to visit my family when they get posted there on a diplomatic mission in June/July. After spending a lifetime travelling dutifully I took a stand and refused to renew my passport, but now it seems I’ll have to revise my position to be able to see my little siblings! Rather dastardly, but I’ve heard Morocco has lots of street cats and I am a cat lady 😀 Either way, that book and your soup looks so lovely that my dinner plans are now sorted – cauliflower soup it is!

  3. Jessica Walker says:

    Your trip looks amazing! My husband and I actually stopped in Tokyo after a month long trip in Vietnam last summer. We went to Shibuya for the day, but I wish we would have had more time! It’s hard coming home, and jet lag is certainly a drag.

    My travel plans this summer include: teaching in Indonesia for an extended period, followed by travel to Singapore, Cambodia, and back to Vietnam (I fell in love with Hanoi). Being a teacher has its perks!

  4. I’m not really into traveling, so I don’t have any plans. But your post is kind of changing my mind. Pureed cauliflower soup is one of my favorite things.

  5. Heather says:

    Hope, hope, hoping to take a short holiday following the completion of my husband’s deployment. Vermont or New Hampshire, perhaps?

  6. Alex says:

    This summer we will be traveling to Paris and doing a one day stopover in Iceland, which is possibly more exciting than anything else I’ve got going on this year!

  7. Colleen says:

    I’m headed to Savannah for the huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration. I am so excited, but really need to get my act together and do some research on the area, so that I can start to make plans. Ever been there? Any ideas?

  8. tworedbowls says:

    Oh MAN! We’re going to Japan later this year and I swear I’m bookmarking all of this for when we do — it all looks amazing. (And any travels with food as a priority are my kinda travels.) Speaking of amazing, this soup looks so, so good. Perfect for the weather.

  9. Itzia says:

    I’m planning on taking a trip to Mexico and NYC. I’d love to make it out of North America this year.

  10. christina says:

    I’m planning on going to Miami this summer!

  11. Lucy Kramer says:

    Headed to the Mall of America for some shopping.

  12. JanetM says:

    We went to Japan over 10 years ago and have really wanted to go back. It was definitely clean and everything is beautifully maintained. Also loved how everyone had a uniform. Whoever makes coveralls over there must make a fortune. The vending machine on the streets cracked me up. Want a beer or a snack – just walked right over there to that vending machine. And no one damages them – unbelievable! Can’t imagine that in NYC.

    There are so many other places to see though. We’re headed to Peru – Machu Picchu and the Amazon more specifically. Then in January it’s off to Antarctica. So Japan will have to wait…

  13. Jane M says:

    Going to Cali for a wedding and Palm Beach to see my Pappy! Looks like your trip was awesome!

  14. Erin says:

    The Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis! Heard it’s amazing to see.

  15. […] Speaking of comforting, purée cauliflower for this winter-friendly soup. (The Crepes of Wrath.) […]

  16. […] Pureed Cauliflower Soup from The Crepes of Wrath […]

  17. Naomi Teeter says:

    Such beautiful photos! I came here for the soup.. but got so much more! :)

  18. Vivian says:

    This was very good, surprisingly so for such a simple dish. My cauliflower didn’t have enough nice leaves, so I topped the soup with toasted pecan pieces, a drizzle of olive oil, and some chopped parsley. Very good. Thanks!

  19. Looks fabulous and simple! Your trip sounds amazing, Japan is on my list, hopefully one day we’ll make it. What made you choose Japan over all the other places in the world to visit?

  20. MD says:

    I’m thinking of making this for thanksgiving; do you think I can make it a day in advance, refrigerate it, and re-heat the next day? Thank you!

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