Make Ahead

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Soup with Cauliflower)

September 24, 2009
20 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

This is a riff on the classic Portuguese Caldo Verde, a deceptively simple soup of olive oil, potatoes, Linguica sausage, and kale. I got the idea to substitute cauliflower for the potatoes from a mashed-potato alternative of cauliflower, fennel seed, and white beans my father used to make. I roast the cauliflower with smoked paprika and cumin for added depth of flavor. —Chris Hagan

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Bogre is new to the cooking game. His style? Hitting the ground running.
WHAT: A deceptively creamy, comforting bowl of soup.
HOW: Roast cauliflower, purée with stock, and do the soup thing.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Where potatoes take up residence in the traditional version of this soup, Bogre ingeniously swaps in roasted -- then puréed -- cauliflower. What you get is a richness that's earthy without being heavy, or, the soup we'd be happy to eat every single day. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 pinches salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for roasting
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound smoked turkey kielbasa, sliced (Wellshire Farms brand is particularly good)
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss cauliflower florets with cumin, smoked paprika, and liberal amounts of salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer in a roasting pan or baking dish and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove florets and set aside. Deglaze the roasting pan with 1 cup of the chicken stock, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Mix in with the remaining stock.
  3. Sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-medium high heat until tender and translucent and beginning to brown. Add garlic and pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about an hour. Remove from heat and purée.
  4. Return the puréed soup to low heat. Add sausage and cook about 10 minutes. (You can brown the sausage beforehand if you like.) Add the mustard greens and parsley and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes until the greens soften a bit. Remove from heat. Stir in the cilantro and the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • h.wong
  • Sabine Gagnon
    Sabine Gagnon
  • Paulo Lemos
    Paulo Lemos
  • Suma Chandrasekaran
    Suma Chandrasekaran
  • Adrienne

69 Reviews

h.wong August 31, 2022
Absolutely loved making and eating this. It has all the depth of flavor of a meat stew but without the effort. The pureed cauliflower started off a bit thin but once I simmered it with the kielbasa it thickened up nicely. Subbed mustard greens for rainbow chard which wilted beautifully. Squeeze a fresh lime over your bowl and it'll add some nice acidity. Next time I'm going to toast some cumin and coriander with the onions (posole verde style) to get more flavor into the soup. I had the soup with brown rice and my husband had it with lentils. Really good either way. Adding this to our regular rotation with the colder weather coming soon!
ms June 27, 2022
ms June 27, 2022
Tardis February 14, 2020
This was okay, but a lot of work for not a lot of flavor payoff. The cauliflower roasted perfectly but I think all the umami got lost when it was blended into the soup. Even with a flavorful Portuguese sausage, it was fairly bland. Not worth the effort but not bad either, just kind of mediocre. If you like adventurous food and strong flavors, keep looking.
Leslie April 29, 2019
The perfect balance of rich and bright. I added sautéed shiitakes. The family loved it!
NatashaL January 12, 2019
Whole Foods has no mustard greens, so I opted for arugula, what do you think? making tomorrow. Same kind of bitter...
Chris H. January 16, 2019
Sorry, just seeing this did it turn out? I'm not sure if I'm still able to edit the recipe at this point, but any kind of sturdy, bitter(ish) winter green would work--kale would be the best bet, but I could see beet greens being good as well. Chard and arugula could also be good, although I would cook them for less time, as I would think they would wilt and take on a spinachy consistency.
Leslie April 29, 2019
I used shard. It was great!
Sabine G. October 26, 2018
Made this tonight and it was excellent! Loved how it was heavy on flavors but light ingredients! All around win!
Paulo L. October 18, 2017
Please don´t call it "caldo verde" since it has nothing to do with it. No cauliflower, cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, chicken stock, smoked turkey kielbasa, mustard greens, parsley, cilantro and lemon are present in the original receipt. From here just salt and onion. Add potatoes, water, cabbage and chouriço and you get it right.
Rita August 9, 2018
Agreed! I imagine this is a very nice soup, however, I learned to make caldo verde from my mother who was born in the Azores. She used potatoes, kale, and linguica along with diced onion and garlic. Sometime she used stew meat and sometimes no meat at all.
Chelsea S. November 23, 2018
Agreed, nothing about this recipe mirrors a true Caldo Verde. Ingredients do sound lovely though, so perhaps a different name!
Suma C. October 17, 2017
Loved this! Also did it with kale. If you needed a vegetarian option would still be a hearty soup if you omitted the kielbasa.
Adrienne March 29, 2017
This one was in my collections for a long time before I finally got around to making it and I'm so glad I finally did. For the first try, I followed the recipe exactly. It was amazing! A sublime mix of flavours and textures. I bet it will only get better over the next day or two.
Rachel March 16, 2017
Used this recipe as a jumping off point and everyone in my family, kids and all, loved it. Garlic broth instead of chicken broth, arugula for the greens, and fresh shrimp instead of sausage, no parsley or cilantro (ran our of time to prep them) . Outstanding!!!!
Lisa Y. March 6, 2016
This is a keeper, and seems pretty malleable. I added hedgehog mushrooms - -half went into the blender, and half got chopped and sauteed and tossed in with the mustard greens. And I used chicken/turkey andouille sausage.
aimee H. January 21, 2016
I am obsessed with this soup. My 4yr daughter loved it too. I used local pork and and beef kielbasa as many have mentioned and sub'd dino kale for the mustard greens. Also used half bone broth and half veggie broth because it was all I had on hand. I didn't have to cook my cauliflower the full time, but every oven is different. Definitely a keeper!! Thanks a million.
Meleyna N. November 19, 2015
Really excellent. I forgot to add the spice to the cauliflower, so I just added it while sautéing the onion. I also used kale because that's what I had on hand, and crisped chicken andouille (I don't much care for kielbasa).
Kinsey November 6, 2015
Kevyn - what you said and what the recipe says are not the same. Recipe specifies 1/4 of leaves, which are then chopped. Your formulation says chop 1st and then scoop up 1/4 cup (which is a lot more herbs in the dish)
kevyn November 5, 2015
I'm assuming that it's 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley and 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (and not as written - 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped and 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped). Correct?
Cowpscowper May 1, 2015
This recipe is fantastic! I made it as is, though used pork kielbasa (mm!) and found the flavors to be out of this world. Love the smoked paprika flavor. It's pretty low key too, not too much investment. Other than a bit of chopping, for the most part there is a lot of downtime. Makes it easy to take care of other things while cooking which I'm always a fan of. This recipe is a keeper! Thanks, Bogre!
cucina D. February 25, 2015
I adore this recipe but I am NOT a fan of Kielbasa (always very salty to me) so I also prefer to use homemade italian pork sausage or a delicious Spanish spicy chorizo. So yummy!
Sixblade K. February 25, 2015
Made this 2 nights ago. Was excellent and easy to make. Had never worked with mustard greens before and i overcooked them. The stem and leaf seem to cook at different speeds so i may separate them add in at different times next time. I also didnt like kielbasa, will try it with spicy sausage instead next time.
Azbarracuda February 2, 2015
I made this tonight. All the cauliflower in my garden came in about the same time. Finding new ways to use it up led me to this recipe. What a great find. Delicious. Thank you!