Curried Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup

Posted on March 4, 2013


Local peach and pear fruit salad with almonds, yogurt, and honey

I’m terrible at following recipes. Or rather, I’m seemingly incapable of taking the time to seek out recipes and then prepare dishes accordingly. I don’t know what it is- my oft-hectic, job-to-job schedule, the fact that I’ve been working at a restaurant for over a half-decade, my taste for improv (thank you, Maura Morrison; EVERYONE should take your class), my lack of patience, or a combination of these factors. Whatever the reason, I am far more inclined to look in the fridge and cupboard, pull out some items, and whip up a dish or meal “on the fly,” as us restauranteers like to say.

Sauteed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots with garlic

I don’t think this is such a bad thing. Recipes and tutorials are great! Especially for new cooks, which I do still consider myself to be. But having watched professional cooks for over five years and working at local farms for the past three (going on four), I am much more confident in my ability to make do with what I already have at home. And make do I did with this fabulous and healthy curried soup.

A pint of curried cauliflower and parsnip soup

If you’ve been following my posts or simply gone as far as read my blog name, you KNOW I have a thing for cruciferous veggies. These nutrient-dense, disease-fighting plants are excellent in salads, pickled / fermented, stir-fried, oven-roasted, or souped-up. Crucifers like kale, broccoli, and cabbage seem to get the lion’s share of publicity, but cauliflower deserves a time to shine, too. In my attempt to best-maintain its phytochemical content, I chose to add the prepped cauliflower florets at the end of cooking, when the soup was still VERY hot but removed from flame. This way, the cauliflower cooked without over-softening and absorbed all those delicious soup flavors as the soup itself cooled down, to then be stored in the fridge.

Curried cauliflower and parsnip soup with fresh cilantro

Curried Cauliflower

and Parsnip Soup

Makes about 2 quarts


  • 2 – 3 tbsp oil (I used walnut oil)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 cup celery, finely-chopped
  • 2 – 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely-grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered poultry seasoning (I used Szeged’s chicken rub)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely-chopped
  • 2 cups parsnips, sliced into thin rounds
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped into small florets / pieces
  • a shake or two of hot red pepper flake
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish


In a large pot over low flame, gently sweat your mirepoix ingredients (in this case, oil, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery) for about 5 minutes or until shiny and slightly softened. Add the ginger, spices (cumin, turmeric, curry, chicken seasoning), and cilantro, and gently cook another 2 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium-high and throw in the parsnips, followed with the water, vinegar, and hot red pepper flake; stir to combine, cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat a bit and continue to simmer the soup until the parsnips are fork-tender. Check the soup for adequate salt and pepper and add more, if needed. Turn off the heat, add the cauliflower, and stir to combine. Allow the soup to cool at least 10 minutes before transferring to quart or pint jars (pints make for a perfect addition to your lunch pail). Consume within 5 – 7 days.

If you are eating the soup immediately, I would continue cooking the soup over medium-low heat until the cauliflower is fork-tender, which only takes a few minutes. Garnish with fresh whole-leaf or chopped cilantro. For a boost of protein, feel free to add a scoop of precooked quinoa or brown lentils!