How to add flavor and texture? Cream of Cauliflower Soup, too spicy but flat in other flavors?

The orginal recipe called for 1/2 tsp cayenne which gives the soup quite a back bite, but otherwise the soup is lacking in flavor. Any suggestions? Would it work to add a topping of roasted carrots?

  • Posted by: ADM
  • February 11, 2015


Nancy February 12, 2015
You''ve already had recommend actions for some warm but not too peppery spice blends, garam Masala and zaatar. Another few to consider: Yemenite hawaidj (various spelling), north African ras al hanout, middle eastern berbere (Jordan, etc different versions). Also various amercan steak rubs or blends for grilling give surprising depths to vegetable soups. A starchy veetable like potato, sweet potato and/or parsnip will give thickness, sweetness and different flavor. Also, did you have (enough) butter in the soup? Like salt, it's a great flavor booster.
Kristen W. February 12, 2015
Your soup could also be flat tasting if you used a a weak-tasting stock. In that case you can add a little bit of Better Than Bouillion as a little cheat to boost the flavor (though not the cauliflower flavor). It also happens to be pretty salty, which can boost the flavor as well.
Stephanie February 11, 2015
What about adding a chimichurri sauce - parsley and oregano, garlic, olive oil and white wine vinegar...thinking that would be good and you could still add in some of the other ideas mentioned (nuts, roasted carrots, even roasted cauliflower)
ChefJune February 11, 2015
There are a lot of things you can do to lift the flavor of the soup. first of all, did you add any salt? Salt added early in th cooking process lifts all the other flavors and allows them to pop. You don't have to use much, but you do need a good quality salt. I usually prefer coarse sea salt. I love curries, but I also like the taste of cauliflower, and when you introduce a dominating flavor like curry, you rather lose the flavor of the primary ingredient. Just another aspect to consider. In the matter of texture, how about not pureeing all the cauliflower? If you chop some of it up, you will add texture. I like to crumble crisp bacon on top for flavor and texture. or some pancetta -- whatever is handy. Chopped toasted walnuts have a complimentary flavor to cauliflower as well.
ADM February 11, 2015
Really like the idea of adding walnuts for crunch. Thank you! I did add Salt and Pepper. I also love the idea of crunchy bacon but this batch is for a vegan friend so the nuts sound great. Too late not to puree the cauliflower. Do you think Pine nuts would work with lime?
amysarah February 11, 2015
When something tastes flat, I also find that what it usually needs is a splash of some sort of acid - lemon or lime juice or some sort of vinegar. I'd do lemon here, or maybe cider vinegar to build on the apple already in the soup. Also, never underestimate the power of salt to bring flavor to life.
ADM February 11, 2015
Thank you! Yes, I was moving toward acid as suggested- Lemon juice goes well with cauliflower, cider vinegar with apple, hmmmm...
hardlikearmour February 11, 2015
Cauliflower + curry = yum. Toast some sweet curry powder or garam masala in a dry skillet and whisk it into the soup. Consider extra salt and some acid to help punch up the flavor a bit, too.
ADM February 11, 2015
This is great! Thanks - we would love this at our house, but I am making it for a friend who does not like spicy, so I have to come up with a way to tone down cayenne and add a yummy flavor.
ADM February 11, 2015
What do you think would be a good acid?
Stephanie February 11, 2015
Totally! And, to piggy back, garam masala is not a spicy curry - more earthy/seedy even your friend might like it. My two cents would be a dollop of sour cream when serving would both add a tang and tone down the cayenne.
keg72 February 11, 2015
What were the other ingredients in the soup? I personally would not be inclined to add carrots, but there's no reason you couldn't!
ADM February 11, 2015
Thanks! The recipe called for cashew, onion and apple. Spices were cinnamom, cardamon and cayenne.
keg72 February 11, 2015
Hmmm. I was going to suggest sautéing some onion and adding that. For starters, you could do that. You also could roast some more cauliflower and then pulse it in the food processor a few times without totally pureeing it -- that'll bump up the cauliflower flavor, temper the spice and give you some nice texture. I also think you should add some salt and black pepper (I'm not a huge pepper fan, but I so like it with cauliflower). Finally, I think curry should work but za'atar would work well, too, and is a nice alternative if you aren't a curry person.
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