Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Chimichurri and Poblano Creme Fraiche

By • December 8, 2009 64 Comments

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Author Notes: I keep trying different variations of cauliflower soup since this is one of my favorite vegetables for a soup in the fall and winter. It so versatile and works well whether I pair it with chipolte peppers in adobo sauce and manchego cheese or just with cream and some parmesan. I usually simmer the cauliflower in chicken broth and vegetables before pureeing it, but wanted bring out the flavor of the cauliflower more for this one and chose to roast it instead. Since the resulting flavor was more pronounced, I had more leeway in stirring in a chimichurri without overpowering the cauliflower flavor and added a drizzle of creme fraiche incorporating a roasted pobano pepper and garlic. I served this as the first course at a dinner party last weekend with much success. One guest confessed that he had never cared for cauliflower but loved this soup. TheWimpyVegetarian

Food52 Review: ChezSuzanne's technique of roasting cauliflower before simmering it gives this soup a rich, caramel undertone, and the touch of cream and parmesan lend just the right amount of richness to the velvety cauliflower and leek purée. The chimichurri sauce and poblano creme fraiche require a bit of extra time (and blender cleanup), but it's worth the effort; this is a perfect weekend project for when you have an hour or two to lose yourself in a recipe. We recommend using a small head of cauliflower for the right texture. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6 first courses or 4 lunch entrees

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

  • 1 head cauliflower, sliced, including the core
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 leek, light green parts only, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the slices of cauliflower on a dry cookie sheet and roast until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a large heavy pot, heat the butter and oil until hot. Saute the onion, leek, garlic, and celery in the butter oil mixture until soft and very aromatic. Add the salt. Add the roasted cauliflower and toss with a large spoon until the cauliflower is completely covered with the onion mixture. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the broth and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Puree in a blender until fairly smooth. If you want it completely smooth, you'll need to use a food mill, but having some texture to it adds to the rustic nature of the roasted flavor. Pour back into the pot and reheat to a simmer. Add the parmesan cheese and cream. Stir in the chimichurri sauce until well incorporated. Serve hot in soup bowls. Drizzle some poblano creme fraiche over the soup.

Chimichurri Sauce and Poblano Creme Fraiche

  • 1 serrano chili, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped or smashed
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 poblano or pasilla pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • pinches sugar
  1. To make the chimichurri, place the first 7 ingredients in a blender and process until finely chopped. This is a very versatile chimichurri - I've used it on pork, in omelets with Manchego Spanish cheese, and in this soup.
  2. To make the poblano creme fraiche, combine the next seven ingredients starting wtih the roasted poblano or pasilla pepper in a blender and process until very smooth. Once smooth, I put it into a squirt bottle that allows for different pipe tips, and squeeze the creme fraiche on the soup. This creme fraiche also works well as a spread on sandwiches.

Topics: Soup

  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
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Comments (64) Questions (1)


4 months ago Heather

I completely see why this recipe is a winner. I got to do two new things; dry roast veggies (I've always splashed in oil....I enjoyed the effect...somehow toastier without the oil) and make a chimichurri. My husband enjoyed the soup sans chimichurri (I took some out knowing he is not fond of cilantro), but I really loved the freshness and bit of heat it brought, And the poblano cream....who couldn't love that. Thank you for the celebration of flavors in this dish.


10 months ago KitKat84

This was good! I added some extra onion and celery, extra veg broth (instead of chicken), some extra salt and pepper, then used coconut cream instead of dairy cream. I left out the sauce and crème fraiche, being short on ingredients. Next time I will try the crème fraiche. I plan to use coconut cream with that too.


11 months ago Sue Bee

Why is it that some vegetarians think that the inclusion of Chicken Broth is OK? That is NOT vegetarian by nearly anyone's definition. Why not simply cook this on a veggie broth? I'll be trying it that way.

11 months ago TheWimpyVegetarian

You're correct, but this isn't intended to be a vegetarian recipe. If you are vegetarian, by all means use vegetable broth, or even water. Both will work fine, although I think a vegetarian broth will provide more flavor than water.


12 months ago Änneken

I have just made this soup and it was incredible! Though I should add that I modified it a bit as wasn't in the mood for adding cheese and heavy cream (it is late night in Europe as I am typing). Instead of water I used my homemade vegetable stock. And what I can I say, wow, wow, wow! I have made similar soups before, i.e. roasting the veggies before they go into the soup and in my opinion that makes a big, big difference. Will definitely make this again!


about 1 year ago beccaoco

Way to much work for this soup. The color does not look like the photo after adding the chimichurri. the whole thing turned green. The taste is kind of off too. I'm wondering how this was the "contest winner"???


about 1 year ago beccaoco

I'm bummed I spent so much time on this. UGH.


over 1 year ago gillianknitsalot

I loved the base but I thought adding the entire amount of chimichurri was too much; I could no longer taste the cauliflower base. Next time I think I'll add the chimichurri slowly to taste & use the rest for a skirt steak to serve alongside. The poblano creme fraiche was AMAZING!


over 1 year ago candice

Made this tonight and it was really yummy! My Russian (meat and potatoes eating) husband loved it as it reminded him of potato soup. I had a Dr Evil laugh in my head as he was getting a hefty servings of organic cruciferous veggies! Will definitely make this again - thanks!

over 1 year ago TheWimpyVegetarian

hahaha! I have the exact same laugh when I successfully hide tofu in a casserole, and my husband Carnivorous Maximus raves about how good it is...LOL.


over 1 year ago Kelly

I made this last night and it was delicious! I skipped the step of making a separate chimichurri sauce and instead added chilis, cilantro, garlic, lemon and mint to the soup prior to blending. I did make the poblano crème fraiche which I stirred in when serving, yum!

over 1 year ago TheWimpyVegetarian

So glad you liked it!! Thanks for letting me know :-)


over 1 year ago Jennica

I served this at dinner with friends and it was a huge hit. It's not hard to make, just requires washing multiple dishes. I like that it can be make early in the day and assembled last-minute once the base soup is re-heated.

over 1 year ago TheWimpyVegetarian

So glad you and your friends liked it so well!


over 1 year ago Ariana

I have made it. I just thought it was a lot of work and would not do it again. I wouldn't have commented if I hadn't made it.


over 1 year ago Comment Queen

Why comment if you haven't MADE the RECIPE? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz


over 1 year ago Ariana

Good but not that good!


almost 2 years ago MarshaF

Super excited to make this soup after reading the reviews. Tastes weird, so not my favorite. This recipe is quite a bit of work and mine was really thick even after thinning it with water. The poblano/creme fresh combo is the same color as the soup so mine was not as pretty as the photo. Just kinda a mess I'm sorry to say.

almost 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I've made it dozens of times now, and really sorry it didn't work for you. Thanks for letting me know!


about 3 years ago vivzan

Wow, really delicious. This will definitely be a go-to recipe!

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much!!!


over 3 years ago Yossy Arefi

This soup is so fantastic. Someone served it to me at a dinner party and I practically jumped across the table to get the recipe from him, then made it myself the very next day. I subbed parsley for the cilantro in the chimichurri because I had it on hand and it was still delicious!

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Wow! Thank you so much!! What a wonderful way for me to start my day with your generous comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much!!!


over 3 years ago merrymaker

So so so good! Man. Delicious!

I used veggie broth and plain Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream and welll, it might just be my favorite soup ever.

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I'm making it with yogurt next time too! Thanks so much for your feedback - I'm so glad you liked it so much. You made my day!


over 3 years ago VanessaS

I made this the other night and loved it - who knew chimichurri would be so good with cauliflower! This is definetly going on the repeat list.

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

It IS surprising what a great match they are - I agree! For something simpler with this combination, try slicing the cauliflower in thick slabs and roasting it and then drizzle the chimichurri on it to serve. I'm so glad you loved this soup. Thanks for letting me know!


over 3 years ago malw


over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for letting me know!


almost 4 years ago tota

We loved this soup, but I only had a purple cauliflower at home (maybe it was broccoli romanesco? it came in my CSA box without a list last week) and I found: the color was a bit weird, to be expected, but also, the chimichurri was slightly overpowering. Anyone else have that? Could be,since there is no specific weight for cauliflower given, that mine was a bit light and I needed to ramp it up for more cauli flavor. It was still yummy, and I'll do it again. I,too,used veg. stock instead of chicken, but like the idea of light sour cream.


over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

Just seeing this for the first time now - just delicious. Will make soon!

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks healthierkitchen!! I'd love to hear what you think if you make it!


over 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

OMG! This is on the menu for my next dinner party.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Hey thanks HLA!! I really hope you like it! Let me know if you try it!!


over 4 years ago ChiFoodLover

Thank you very, very much for this absolutely DELICIOUS recipe! I made this last night and savored every spoonful. It's definitely a keeper and I can't wait to have another bowl tonight!

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Wow! Thanks so much - I'm so glad you liked it! You've made my day!

over 4 years ago McPoLanders

Wow! I made this for dinner tonight and it is absolutely amazing!! The only thing I changed was using veggie stock instead of water and chicken stock and for the creme fraiche (to make it a bit more healthy), I substituted light sour cream for the cream and creme fraiche. Thank you!

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Hey thanks McPoLanders!! I'm really happy you liked it so much! And I really appreciate the feedback. I'm thinking of making a pot of it tomorrow - I always love to have soup when it's cold and rainy outside :-)


over 4 years ago csheago

Made a variation of this the other night with what I had on hand. Awesome. Had to use Pecorino rinds in the broth, and used a homemade veg stock and sweated everything in bacon fat but the proportions and compliments to this recipe were PERFECT. Roasting is key and the cheese is not an overpowering addition. Such a good guide. It was wonderful.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much for the feedback! I'm so glad you liked it so much and really glad the directions worked so well for you!


almost 5 years ago Elizabeth2

Loved the cauliflower soup !

almost 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Hey thanks! I'm really glad it worked for you!


over 5 years ago phyllis

Wow. This soup sounds amazing. I often cook Daniel Boulud's Cauliflower with Apples and curry soup, but this one is so different I can't wait to try it. Thank you.

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much. I hope you like it!


over 5 years ago maryvelasquez

This was my super bowl pick. I am a sucker for chimichurri sauce and spicy food and I loved the layers of flavor in this soup. It really opens up so many possibilities for adding zip to other mild soups. Thanks!

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Me too! I love spicy food. I'm so glad you enjoyed it - thanks for the comments!


over 5 years ago amelinda

Oh my goodness, this sounds heavenly. Do you think you could use a soaked dried poblano if you don't have fresh on hand?

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Great question! I'm lucky enough to live where we get these peppers fresh year-round, so I'm honestly not sure if the dried would have a more intense flavor that would overwhelm the roasted cauliflower flavor or not. You could go with dried, which would be ancho chilies I believe, and just use half of it to test the flavor. And then add more into the blender until you get the flavor and spice balance you prefer. Or you could substitute Anaheim peppers - just make sure to roast, seed and skin them as they have a tough skin.


over 5 years ago wanderash

I have all of these ingredients in my fridge; I am going to make this tonight- it looks divine! Congrats! I make a very similar pablano crema sauce that I serve as a condiment to taco- so good!

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Hope you enjoyed it last night!! And I agree, I keep the poblano crema sauce in a squirt container in the frig and put it on all kinds of things to add a little softened heat.


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Okay, ChefSuzanne, here is a small challenge . . . . if you wanted to serve this soup to someone who could not, for health reasons, eat chilis or peppers, what would you use to flavor the Creme Fraiche? The soup alone looks heavenly, but a squirt of something flavorful in a creme fraiche base would make it even more divine. Any ideas (anyone)??

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Off the top of my head, I would consider melting cheese and whisking the creme fraiche into it - like manchego cheese, Gruyere. The roasted flavors would go well with a cheddar too, but it wouldn't mix well with the chimichurri. So if you went with cheddar I'd nix the chimichurri (which also has serrano peppers in it). If you nix the chimichurri, you could flavor the creme fraiche with curry. That would go great with the roasted cauliflower flavor. I'm sure there are other ideas, and am interested in hearing what other people think.


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

These are terrific ideas! I'll look forward to seeing what others come up with, too. The variations are what make a dish like this so wonderful. You start with something fundamentally delicious, and just make it better in a lot of different ways. With all the brilliant minds here, this is going to be good!

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I've not been able to go on this site much the last few weeks as we were out of town in the mountains for the holidays, had houseguests, and then I was getting ready for my first catering event and cooking class which all took place yesterday. What a wonderful surprise this was when I went online and visited this site after a looooong day. Thanks Amanda and Merrill for selecting this recipe of mine!!


over 5 years ago ENunn

Two words: Oh. Baby.

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian



over 5 years ago melissav

Can't wait to try this as roasted cauliflower is a favorite of mine. Thanks for the recipe.

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it!


over 5 years ago Alfonso Cevola

I wonder if one could substitute the Creme Fraiche wiith a non fat yogurt, like Faje?

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I haven't tried it, but on the surface of it I can't see a reason it wouldn't work well. Yogurt has more "tangyness" than creme fraiche, so the flavor will be slightly affected, but it's always fun to try different versions with various substitutions. Sometimes that's how you come up with something even better!


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

As a committed lover of all things cauliflower, I can't wait to try this one . . . . I've never roasted a cauliflower before, and was just thinking, yesterday, that I need to try it, having had such amazing success with the roasted Brusslies, using Tad's method. Thank you, Chez Suzanne, for posting this!

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much! I've always simmered cauliflower in some kind of broth mixture, but found that the delicate flavor of cauliflower prepared this way could easily be overpowered by later additions to the dish like cheese or peppers. This was my first attempt at roasting the cauliflower to bring up the flavor more. Hope you enjoy it too!


over 5 years ago theicp

Loving your recipes - this looks fantastic. Could be great with the Southwestern Christmas dinner I'm going to make this year!

over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much! I love southwestern cooking. I do a Southwestern Thanksgiving and like your idea of a Southwestern Christmas dinner. Enjoy!