Follow Us on Pinterest 

by meg

We were recently asked to cook a fundraiser dinner for 18 people. While that’s straightforward enough (no one’s calling it “easy,” but straightforward, yes), there were quite a few food allergies in the group, plus one vegan guest.

Living in Portland, accommodating folks with food allergies is really par for the course (cue the Portlandia “Allergy Parade” sketch). And really, it’s not a big deal. When you cook for people, you want to make them happy. Sometimes that means being creative and avoiding certain foods, which is really a great exercise for a cook.

How easy is it to make food taste good with loads of butter and cream and bacon? Pretty easy. But it’s a little more of a challenge to make delicious, satisfying, and elegant food without any of those traditional enrichments.

Thankfully, there’s cauliflower. Originally, I thought of making a cream of cauliflower soup. I figured the cauliflower would be pretty creamy when pureed, but that I might have to add a substitute for. But then I had a little brainwave (that happens all too seldom, unfortunately!). I decided to try making a cream of cauliflower soup without anything extra for creaminess—just a little olive oil, some leeks, cauliflower, and vegetable broth.

Wow. Just wow. This is one of those more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts recipes. The soup turned out creamy, rich-tasting, and pretty much perfect on the first try. That most certainly does not happen every day. After the first test, I tried roasting the cauliflower first, which turned out even better. It’s an extra step that you can totally skip if time is an issue. I think the roasting step really adds something special, but the soup is still excellent without it.

Other cauliflower recipes you might enjoy: Cauliflower With Capers and Pine Nuts, Mashed Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss together on a large sheet pan:
           1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets
           2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Roast until the edges of the florets are quite brown, about 30 minutes.
Heat in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat:
           2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Add and sauté until softened:
           1 large leek, trimmed, cleaned, and thinly sliced
Add the roasted cauliflower along with:
           4 cups vegetable broth*
Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Puree in a blender until velvety smooth. Return to the soup pot and season with salt to taste. Add more vegetable broth or water if needed to thin the soup to the desired consistency.
Stir together:
           3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
           2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Serve the soup drizzled with the paprika oil.

*Homemade vegetable broth is great if you have some around. If not, we like Better Than Bouillon. It has a better flavor than other store-bought vegetable broths we’ve tried. Be aware that it is salty, so you probably won’t need to add any extra salt to the soup.

Make it faster: You can skip the roasting step and simply simmer the cauliflower florets in the vegetable broth until very tender.

A non-vegan variation: While I don’t think this soup needs any dairy at all, it would be delicious garnished with smoked paprika brown butter instead of olive oil. Simply brown a little butter, then remove from the heat and stir in the smoked paprika.

Joy of Cooking App for iPad and iPhone

After three years of collaborative effort with our friends at Culinate and Scribner, it is our pleasure to introduce the Joy of Cooking for iPad and iPhone! Please check out this full-featured, digital version of the 2006 edition. In addition to the recipes and indispensable reference information our readers know and love, the app has many features that are brand new to JOY:

  • Built-in recipe timers (you can have multiple timers going simultaneously)
  • Search for and filter recipes by key word, ingredient, cuisine, season, technique, diet, and more
  • Create shopping lists from within the app
  • Convert any recipe to metric automatically
  • Give voice commands or have recipe steps spoken to you
  • Create menus in the app
  • Share recipes from within the app
  • Color photography

Truly a JOY for the 21st century! Download by directing your browser to Don't forget to review the app!

Welcome to the Joy Kitchen!

Welcome to our freshly-remodeled website! Here you will find our blog, where we frequently share recipes (new and classic), kitchen tips, cooking and storage techniques, as well as news and the occasional ode to our favorite tools and ingredients. You will find these organized into categories at the top of the page (above the filmstrip of our latest posts). In our All About JOY pages, you can learn more about the history of the Joy of Cooking and the Rombauer and Becker families. Please don't forget to share your feedback in the comments. Enjoy!

For a tour of the Joy Kitchen, click here.