Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Chimichurri and Poblano Creme Fraiche

December  8, 2009
9 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 6 first courses or 4 lunch entrees
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 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 cups water (up to 3 cups, as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 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 tablespoons olive oil (up to 6 tablespoons, as needed)
  • 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
  • 1 pinch sugar
  1. Roasted Cauliflower Soup
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the slices of cauliflower on a dry cookie sheet and roast until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  1. Chimichurri Sauce and Poblano Creme Fraiche
  2. 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.
  3. To make the poblano creme fraiche, combine the next seven ingredients starting with 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.
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74 Reviews

Molli D. March 30, 2023
Susan. Can’t wait to try this delicious sounding soup….cauliflower is one of Art’s favorites! Molli
Gele December 30, 2022
I have been making this soup for years, it's definitely one of my favorite.
Joel E. December 31, 2017
Strange that no one mentions that the poblano cream recipe can’t work because the cream turns into butter if you do it this way. I had to rescue the stuff. Not smart. You should test recipes before publishing.
Gele November 23, 2017
This soup is one of the favorite in our house. Everyone loves it. I modified the recipe; I make a larger portion, usually using two cauliflower heads, three leaks, onion and add more chicken broth less water, more cheese, no heavy cream. I don't bother with chimichurri, we use a drizzle of any hot sauce. The soup is excellent!
houlaNOLA January 12, 2017
Disappointing. Way too laborious for the end result. I made everything exactly as described and the results were visually unappetizing and pretty bland even with the chimichurri and poblano creme fraiche.
Susan P. January 12, 2017
I'm so sorry you were so disappointed! Food, as you know, is very subjective. What one person loves, another can't stand. Others have enjoyed this recipe, but I know not everyone will. It is, as you say, time consuming to make. Very sorry!
Laura B. October 29, 2015
I made this for dinner last night and was so underwhelmed. It was actually quite bland despite the chimichurri and poblano creme fraiche, and for the time I spent creating each, I was really disappointed. Not a keeper.
BlondeApple October 4, 2015
This soup was rustic and so tasty. Perfect for transitioning into cooler weather especially with all of the produce being in season in the northeast. So fresh with a subtle heat. Enjoyed by all including our picky 3 year old. Plenty of extra chimichurri to go around for later uses. We'll use it over roasted sweet potatoes later this week. Definitely a keeper--thanks for sharing.
Loretta F. August 19, 2015
I am going to make this tonight and have to ask: Do you mean that the cook should add the entire batch of chimichurri to the soup or just a few tablespoons? Thanks! I cannot wait to put my farmer's market cauliflower to good use!
Heather April 9, 2015
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.
KitKat84 September 22, 2014
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.
Sue B. September 16, 2014
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.
TheWimpyVegetarian September 16, 2014
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.
Änneken August 9, 2014
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!
beccaoco May 28, 2014
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"???
beccaoco May 28, 2014
I'm bummed I spent so much time on this. UGH.
gillianknitsalot February 14, 2014
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!
candice February 4, 2014
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!
TheWimpyVegetarian February 5, 2014
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.
Kelly February 4, 2014
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!
TheWimpyVegetarian February 4, 2014
So glad you liked it!! Thanks for letting me know :-)
Jennica January 6, 2014
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.
TheWimpyVegetarian January 7, 2014
So glad you and your friends liked it so well!
Ariana December 20, 2013
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.
Comment Q. December 19, 2013
Why comment if you haven't MADE the RECIPE? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz
Ariana December 18, 2013
Good but not that good!