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Veg Box Challenge - Cauliflower!

spiced cauliflower soup @boostrapcook
Spiced Cauliflower, white bean, and almond soup by Jack Monroe

My second dish from our #vegboxchallenge uses the cauliflower. When I got the box the whole thing was screaming out soup to me - I love a good lentil soup and the makings of a generous pot are all there. But I wanted to do something a little bit different and was looking for something new to do with cauliflower beyond steamed/boiled florets as a side of veg. I found this recipe in Jack Monroe's book - those of you who follow her on Twitter will know her as @BootstrapCook and if you don't follow her, then you should. This is from Cooking on a Bootstrap - the sequel to her no. 1 bestseller A Girl Called Jack and winner of the Observer Food Monthly Best Food Blog. The main aim behind this book is to provide recipes that are both affordable and simple. This soup doesn't disappoint on either front.

This recipe serves four, is easily frozen and is easily made vegan by a simple switch of the stock. You simply chop your onion, garlic and cauliflower and chuck the lot into a large pan to fry on a medium heat, along with the turmeric, chilli, and cumin. The tumeric turns everything a beautiful golden colour as you cook. The recipe calls for a pinch of chilli and scant amounts of turmeric and cumin - I'm not fond of heat but even I felt you could bump up the spice on this. What I've got is a really lovely, delicate soup where you can taste the flavours - it's delicious - but it could stand some extra spice if you like it. I blitzed it into oblivion, adding freshly boiled water as I did so, because I'd left it to reduce quite far in order to get the beans to that soft, creamy stage. The only change I made is to use cannellini beans as that's what I had in the cupboard - this is absolutely fine as a swap, it's a white bean so no great change to the soup. It was really simple and I'd never used cauliflower in this way, so I hope you enjoy!


200g fresh or frozen cauliflower, diced (about half a head)

1 onion, finely sliced

2 fat garlic cloves finely sliced (I crushed 'em)

1 fresh chilli, sliced, or a pinch of chilli flakes

scant 1 tsp of cumin

scant ½ tsp tumeric

1 x 400g tin of white beans

4 tbsp ground almonds

1 chicken stock cube in 400ml boiling water

fresh coriander, to serve


1. Toss the cauliflower into a medium pan along with the onion and garlic. Add the oil, chilli, cumin, and turmeric and fry on medium heat till the onion is softened and the cauliflower is a nutty brown colour.

2. Drain and rinse the beans, tip into the pan, stir in the ground almonds and pour over the chicken stock (or water), and bring to the boil. Boil vigorously for a few minutes to heat through, then reduce to a simmer for around 20 minutes for small white beans, and 40 minutes for butter beans.

3. Blitz in the blender (I used my stick blender) until smooth and heat through to serve. Garnish with an extra shake of cumin and turmeric and a scattering of fresh coriander.

PS: if you have a wee slice of cauliflower left over and you want to be fancy (which I did and I did) then you can toast the thin slice in a dry pan and then serve on top of the soup.

Source: Jack Monroe, Cooking on a Bootstrap (Bluebird Books for Life, 2018) p.92

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