The Creamiest Vegan Soup (Cauliflower)

If you're looking to make a silky smooth, creamy vegan soup, today is your day. This gem caught my attention because it is quite different than most "creamy" vegan soups I come across. It uses a clever trick to achieve its signature texture.

The Creamiest Vegan Soup (Cauliflower)

If you're looking to make a silky smooth, creamy vegan soup, today is your day. This gem caught my attention because it is quite different than most "creamy" vegan soups I come across. It uses a clever trick to achieve its signature texture. And the resulting soup doesn't rely on heavy cream or lots of coconut milk. Bingo.
The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe
The lineage of this soup goes something like this. Genius recipe-spotter Kristen Miglore highlighted this Paul Bertolli recipe on Food52 back in 2011. The CAP Beauty ladies gave it a turmeric and mustard twist in their new book, and I went from there. Adding yellow split peas on top make it a one-bowl meal, nutritional yeast tees up some cheesy flavor notes. I also upped the quantity because, leftovers.

The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe

The Technique: Make a Vegan Soup Super Creamy

The base of this soup is cauliflower. I make cauliflower soup all the time. The thing that makes this recipe special is the cooking technique. You let the cauliflower steam, in the pot, for 15 minutes. You can do this with cauliflower and get tender delicious florets out of the process. When you do this with vegetables like asparagus you end up with sad, overcooked, off color asparagus. Long way of saying, cauliflower is a great ingredient for this technique. Carrot and sweet potato also love the steam approach. 

The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe

This is a vegan soup.  It is also gluten-free, boosted with turmeric, and relatively quick to make on a weeknight. Leftovers are great and endlessly adaptable.

Other Ideas

This version is spike with  turmeric and mustard. You can certainly explore other directions. Grated ginger would be a great addition. Or, if you have spices left over from chana masala, perfect! I even stir a cup of rice porridge into the leftovers, for an excellent rice soup.

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The Creamiest Vegan Soup

4.09 from 24 votes

Use a large 2 1/2 - 3 pound head of cauliflower here.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds (optional)
  • 7 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups yellow split peas, cooked
  • topping ideas: freshly squeezed lime, black pepper, crushed croutons, seeds, crumbled kale chips
  1. In a heavy-bottomed soup pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the turmeric and mustard seeds and cook for another couple of minutes. The mustard seeds might pop, but don’t let them burn.
  2. Next, add 2 cups of the water, bring to a simmer, and stir in the cauliflower. Cover and allow the cauliflower to steam for 10-15 minutes. Add the remaining water and nutritional yeast, and let simmer, uncovered, for another 5 minutes or so.
  3. Blend using a hand blender or high-powered blender. Thin with more water if needed. Taste and adjust with more salt and lots of black pepper, to taste. Serve topped with a big squeeze of lime, a big scoop of yellow split peas, and any other toppings you like.
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


We tried this the other night and were surprised how filling it was! So delicious! It's been added to our regular week nightly meals list! Thanks so much! x


The recipe look so yummy and tempting. Nice to see that it is both healthy and tasty. Looking forward to try this in my kitchen


Hi Heidi, Could i make this soup without the nutritional yeast. If so, will its taste or texture change substantially.


    No, absolutely go for it!

    Heidi Swanson

Looks beautiful. About the seeds... i’d prefer not to eat seeds would they be pulverized if I used my Vitamix or can I substitute jar mustard? Thanks Heidi. Love your creativity and generosity.


    Hi Elizabeth! Yes, you can omit them, or swap in mustard to taste...

    Heidi Swanson

This looks delicious! Would love to know how you made the toppings.. I'm dissecting the photo and think I can identify: the yellow split pea, crispy kale and looks like rye croutons and a seed? Do crisp them up in a pan for a crunchy topping?


This reminds me of a similar zucchini soup that comes from Grant Achatz. The story goes that this is one of their "kitchen recipes" that the Alinea staff make for their dinners. It's incredibly smooth and creamy -- hard to believe there isn't any cream! I can't wait to make this cauliflower version.


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