Make Ahead

Roasted Cauliflower and Harissa Soup

January 30, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 2 - 3
Author Notes

I love the flavor of roasted cauliflower and cumin, but the harissa mixed into it takes it to a whole new level. This North-African chile paste is seriously hot, and using half a teaspoon in this soup had me wiping my brow halfway through. It’s the kind of heat that lurks in the background, and by the time you’ve made your way to the bottom of the bowl, you’re sure to hear your internal furnace roar to life. My word of advice would be to use sparingly at first and taste and add more as you go along. This soup leaves a lot of wiggle room to easily tweak as you go. —Kirthana | Theblurrylime

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Kirthana is the Chennai, India-based blogger behind
WHAT: A fiery, creamy (without cream!) cauliflower soup spiked with harissa.
HOW: Roast cauliflower with spices and harissa until brown, simmer until tender, and blend until super smooth.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love cauliflower. We love harissa. And we love that this soup doesn’t shy away from bold spices and heady heat. Of course, you can adjust the amount of harissa to your preferences—even 1/4 teaspoon be plenty hot for some. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 500 grams cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa paste (or more, to taste)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  1. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Toss the cauliflower with 2 tablepsoons olive oil, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and harissa until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer and bake at 180°C/360°F for 45 to 50 mins, or until they’ve browned. Remove and set aside. Taste and check the fieriness of the harissa at this stage; add more if you'd like and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the roasted cauliflower along with any of the remaining cumin on the foil to the pot, and pour in 2 cups of water. Season with pepper and salt. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the florets and tender. Take off the heat and let it cool slightly.
  3. Once cooled, add to a blender/use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Check seasoning and add milk and more water to get the right consistency. Return the soup to a clean pot and gently reheat. Best served hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
    Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
  • Panfusine
  • Kirthana | Theblurrylime
    Kirthana | Theblurrylime
  • blackolive29

16 Reviews

MilletteofSd January 8, 2023
Thank you for a fantastic Cauliflower Soup recipe. I was able to find harissa for my first attempt and now will use the powdered Harissa. The seasoning was GREAT. Best regards, Millette
Myra October 19, 2019
I have made this recipe several times and it is a winner! I tweaked it a little by using chicken broth and triple the amount of spices used. I like spicy food so increasing the amount harissa paste was a must. I also serve it with a spoonful of sour cream and chopped cilantro to garnish. This is a great recipe for a cozy night in!
Brsboarder October 26, 2016
Are you using whole milk? 2%? thoughts on 1%?
Mambi October 14, 2016
Made this tonight, was delicious!
Kirthana |. October 14, 2016
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Mambi! So glad you liked it,
Mambi January 25, 2023
6 years later and still making this one! A regular on our Winter table :)
Jennine October 12, 2016
Can't wait to try this tonight! Congratulations on winning the contest. I don't have any whole cumin seeds on hand. Can I substitute ground? And if so, how much would you suggest? Thanks!
Kirthana |. October 12, 2016
Hi Jennine! Thank you! :) and yes, you could absolutely use ground cumin. I would suggest 1/2 a tsp for this amount.
blackolive29 September 16, 2020
Did not mean to flag you🙄 im new here and making this soup
Joy H. October 7, 2016
Congratulations on being chosen as a Finalist! I will definitely be on the lookout for harissa so I can try this recipe!
Kirthana |. October 12, 2016
Thank you! I love the sound of your kaddo too and already have it bookmarked to try!
Panfusine September 23, 2016
Can I substitute powdered Harissa for the paste (or make a paste my whisking the powder with olive oil & water)?
Kirthana |. September 23, 2016
Hi! I've never used powdered harissa ( or heard about it until now :), but I would definitely add it to a little olive oil until it resembles a thick ointment and use that to coat the cauliflower.
Panfusine September 24, 2016
I get my stock of Powdered Harissa from Kalustyans, its a staple spice in my kitchen, since good quality Harissa paste isn't always available at local groceries.
Kirthana |. October 12, 2016
I don't get harissa in Chennai where I live, so usually end up stocking up when someone from abroad comes to visit. Coincidentally the brand of harissa that I buy is the same one food52 has used in this recipe!
MilletteofSd January 8, 2023
Hello. Thank you fir this suggestion of dry harissa powder. I love this Cauliflower Soup, so can I ask what are your (dry spice) measurements? Thanks in advance.