If you are in need of a warm, soul-nourishing food, and happen to have a supply of squash and cauliflower hanging about, then you’re in luck! This easy peasy cauliflower squash soup recipe (uh…method) will have a bowl or cup of soup warming your hands in a jiffy.
If you’re the type who needs a hard and fast recipe with exact quantities in order to feel confident making something then I respectfully suggest you skip this one, or, be brave and give it a go. This is one of those recipes that is super flexible and no two batches are identical, and yet each one is simple and delicious and full of harvest goodness.
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into chunks (the smaller you cut it the quicker it will cook)
- 2 medium winter squash of whatever type you like the texture of – I prefer butternut, or butternut and acorn (cooked to soft, but we’ll get to how to do that)
- 2 Tbsp butter (swap with olive oil to make it vegan)
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp cumin (curry powder would also be tasty)
- 4 cups (approximately) chicken or vegetable stock, plus extra stock or water to smooth out the soup
- ½ – 1 tsp salt, to taste
- Sprinkling of cayenne pepper, to taste
- A sprig of parsley or swirl of cream or dash of paprika if you’re feeling fancy (I’m hardly ever feeling this way)
Cooking the squash:
Decide how you’re going to cook your squash. You can do this in a few different ways, depending on what equipment you have, and how much time you have, and if you are also cooking squash for any other purpose (I’m a fan of doubling up on cooking tasks to save time at future meals).
Baking in the oven. Cut your squash in half lengthwise (very carefully!), scoop out the seeds, and rest skin-down on a cookie sheet or baking tray. Brush with olive oil, perhaps some salt and pepper, and bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is soft when you poke it with a fork. Let it cool enough to handle without burning your fingers (or be impatient and swear a lot while you work it) and then scoop out the innards with a spoon.
Cook in an Instant Pot. Peel your squash – this works well for the smooth skin of butternut, not so much for the ribbed skin of acorn. Cut into cubes. Layer on trivet in pot, add 1 cup water, lock on lid, and cook for 8 minutes on high pressure. Quick or natural pressure release, and save the squash water for your soup pot later for extra liquid if needed.
Cook in your soup pot. Peel your squash – this works well for the smooth skin of butternut, not so much for the ribbed skin of acorn. Cut into small cubes. Add to the pot at the same time you add the cauliflower (yes I know, I haven’t described when to do that yet! Patience grasshopper).
Cauliflower Squash Soup Directions:
Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Sauté onions and garlic, stirring as needed, until they start to stick. Sprinkle in cumin, and if you like your soup with a kick, a little cayenne, but I prefer to save this until the soup is in my bowl and spice up just my serving.
Stir thoroughly, and then add soup stock and cauliflower, and if you’re also cooking your squash right in the pot, add that in too. Stir to combine.
Turn the heat up to medium, and when it starts to simmer, put the lid on and turn the head down to medium-low or low again. Check it periodically, give it a stir, and when the cauliflower seems to be softening, give it a poke with a fork to make sure.
The end result of this soup is a velvety smooth purée and so it is very important that the cauliflower is cooked through (and, if the squash went in raw, it too). Once the soup comes to a simmer it should take about ten minutes with the lid on to get to this point.
If your squash was cooked in the oven or the Instant Pot, add it to the soup pot now.
What you do next depends on your equipment. Remove the soup from the heat and let it sit on a cooling rack, lid off, for a wee bit. If you have an immersion blender now’s the time to bust it out. Don’t burn yourself, so watch for splatter. It’s a big pot of soup, and as you blend you might feel that it’s a bit too thick to get a good blending current going. Now’s the time to add that squash water if you used an Instant Pot, or extra water or soup stock to thin it. Blend, blend, blend some more, until it’s smooth, adding liquid until you’re happy with the consistency. We want mouth-pleasing soup here, not baby food.
If you don’t have an immersion blender then a regular blender works too, but it creates far more dishes and takes longer. Let the soup cool enough so that you don’t burn yourself, or break your blender. If your blender is glass you can probably do it quicker than if it is plastic, but do something else productive while it cools, like…folding laundry or vacuuming. Ha! Did you laugh there? Me too, totally checking social media and eating nachos.
Back to the soup. Now it’s velvety smooth, has cooled somewhat, probably you wiped up any blendering-splatters as they happened so that you don’t have to try to chisel them off later with a sharp instrument when you notice the afternoon sun shining on them on your walls…
Still thicker than you’d like? Add more liquid. Taste it – does it need salt? Add some! But slowly, because you can always add more later. Soup purists may demand that if you also add pepper you use the white variety for aesthetics, but to that I say pffft. Add whatever you like to please your taste buds. I like to buy dry chiles and have them in a grinder, and I put it on almost everything!
And that is it. Give some to friends, serve it for lunch with a satisfyingly crusty loaf of bread, heat it in a mug and enjoy the last rays of fall sunshine outside. It will freeze well too, either in jars or containers with adequate head space (expansion room as it freezes), or wait until it’s quite cool and ladle it into Ziploc bags that you can freeze flat for space saving.