Red Pepper Cauliflower Soup Recipe

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each week, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.

Today: You shouldn’t have to decide between creamy soup and chunky soup. Here’s your happy medium.

Chowder
Chowder

I am terrible at making decisions. I am the “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” queen of the universe, the girl in heated internal debate in a dressing room between the same shirt in two colors, going hungry rather than committing to either tacos or Thai. Last week, and I am not kidding you, I bought a pair of shoes, left the store with them, descended below ground to the subway platform, and decided upon seeing my train pull up that maybe what I needed was sneakers, not boots. I turned around and immediately exchanged them.  

For me, the answer to every judgment call-debacle is “both.” The answer is do both, get both, have both. Sometimes that is not feasible — you cannot live in two different cities at once unless you have magic powers, and unless everyone is totally on board, maybe stick with one girlfriend at a time. But there is the delightful and occasional situation in which “both” is possible, and you should not sleep on that. 

Exhibit A: this soup. Half creamy soup, half chunky soup, because who in the WORLD wants to pick between those two things? Not me, not ever, because I want to bathe in an ocean of cream soup for the rest of my days — but if I did, would my teeth fall out from lack of use? Give me something to chew on, soup! And so, then, this. It’s creamy from cauliflower and potatoes, but you don’t purée it all the way, so you’re still left with a few good chunks. Zero point zero percent chance of buyer’s remorse.

(Editor’s note: This soup might not look like it has chunks in it, but it does. We promise. And they are good.)

Chowder on Food52
Chowder on Food52

Red Pepper and Cauliflower Chowder

Serves 3

For the soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 red pepper, cored and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup milk (get some fat in there; I’m a staunch skim milker and even I sprung for 2%)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin

For serving:

Freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper, cooking down until the pepper is softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Add potato, cauliflower, stock, milk, bay leaf, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer, cooking for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potato and cauliflower are softened. Stir occasionally, and mash the chunks a little with the back of your wooden spoon.

  3. Ladle about 2/3 of the vegetable chunks and a little bit of broth into a blender and blend until smooth. Be careful! This is hot! Duh. Return the blended soup to the pot and stir into the mix until combined, heating through again if it needs it.

  4. Serve the soup with a hit of black pepper and a pinch of Parmesan on top.

Photos by Alpha Smoot