Curried coconut milk creates a rich, simmery broth for cauliflower and fennel. This light vegan soup that's the color of sunshine is a delightful transition to spring's lighter eating.
Did you know that cauliflower is both a fall and a spring crop? In regions where both seasons feature cool weather, cauliflower will grow happily twice per year (broccoli, too). That means this cauliflower fennel soup is fresh and in-season for spring.
It’s also the perky color of sunshine, thanks to turmeric, and its light and fresh flavors signal the transition to lighter eating. I can feel summer just over the horizon. I know it!
Fennel (or, anise, as it’s sometimes labeled at the grocery store) is an entirely under-appreciated vegetable. It adds a unique pop of flavor and blends well with herbs like tarragon and dill.
It pairs wonderfully with cauliflower, and when simmered the creamy coconut curry broth … veggie heaven.
This cheerful soup, I think, creates an opportunity to help the family grow into loving vegetables. Tell the kids they’re eating sunshine, or magic energy soup. Or a big bowl full of cauliflower and fennel. However you feel comfortable explaining the wonderfulness of vegetables. 😉
Sunshine Cauliflower Fennel Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup chopped onions (about 1/2 of medium onion)
- 1 small fennel bulb chopped or grated
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro stems (save the leaves below)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (powder)
- 1 teaspoon mild yellow curry powder
- 4 cups vegetable broth (homemade or low sodium)
- 12 to 16 ounces cauliflower core and leaves removed, roughly chopped (about one small/medium head)
- 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk well-shaken
- 2 tablespoons course or whole grain prepared mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 lemon half
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4-5 quart Dutch oven or stock pot over medium until shimmering. Add the onions and fennel and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Scootch the vegetables to the side, and add the remaining oil to the cleared spot. Spoon the cilantro stems, curry powder, turmeric, and a pinch of salt over the oil, and stir in place to create a fragrant paste.
- Add the vegetable broth and cauliflower, and bring the soup to a gentle bubbling boil over medium-high heat, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Test the cauliflower florets by slicing one with a knife: it should cut easily through. Stir the mustard into the soup.
- Puree the soup thoroughly: use an immersion blender directly in the pot to blend the soup smooth, or use a regular blender (you'll need to do it in batches), and return the soup to the pot.
- Add the coconut milk, cilantro leaves, dill, and tarragon. Stir thoroughly.
- Let the soup heat gently over medium-low for 10 minutes - if the soup begins to bubble at any point, reduce the heat a bit.
- Squeeze the lemon half over the soup, and add a pinch of salt with a few grinds of black pepper. Stir, and taste, adding more salt as needed.
- Serve immediately with a loaf of crusty bread. This soup can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Leftovers, if there are any, will taste great for lunch the next day.