Eat Well: Split Pea Cauliflower Soup

The following post was written by my mom who is adorable. Thanks, mom!
I have a confession to make. When my kids were young I didn’t always correct them when they mispronounced or confused things. I realize now that probably wasn’t a good idea (Rachel to this day confuses a lot of words—she was the youngest and it was SO CUTE!!)

I don’t know why Rebecca started calling this week’s soup Split Pea. It isn’t green and doesn’t have anything resembling a pea in it. But I never corrected her, probably because at the time, I wasn’t making split pea soup anyway, and she liked thinking she was eating split pea….and…it was CUTE!! Anyway, until I started making my vegetarian split pea, Moosewood’s cauliflower cheese soup was split pea soup in our house. This was Rebecca’s favorite soup growing up…it might have been her favorite food I cooked. David and Rachel also liked it. The great thing was, none of the kids knew how much cauliflower was in it (they would never eat cauliflower if it was placed on their plates). It has a lot of dairy products in it -- milk, buttermilk, and cheese. Now I use goat milk and goat cheddar (rennetless):
ED: If you're vegan, you can use soy or almond milk and try adding hummus to the soup instead of the cheese. It thickens up the soup and adds a lot of flavor.

I know some of you have mentioned that your kids won’t eat soup but you might want to try this one. It tastes like a cheesy baked potato and kids love it. (At least mine did!!)

I don’t add the extra flowerets to the soup at the end. I just use the whole head of cauliflower at the beginning (about 3 ½ cups—this disguises the cauliflower for the kids who like smooth soups better than chunky ones).

Moosewood Cauliflower Cheese Soup

2 cups potato chunks
2 cups cauliflowerets (I use a whole head of cauliflower)
1 cup chopped carrot (about 3 large carrots)
3 medium cloves garlic
1 cup chopped onion
½ tsp salt
4 cups water or vegetable stock

Place the above ingredients together in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
Puree the entire mixture in the blender (or with an immersion blender) until smooth and creamy.
Transfer to a kettle and whisk in:
1 ½ cups grated cheddar:
...¾ cup milk
¼ tsp. dill weed
¼ tsp. ground dill or caraway seed
¼ tsp. dry mustard
black pepper to taste

(Optional: Steam or sauté in butter 1 ½ cups more cauliflowerets. Add these to the soup). Just before serving whisk in: ¾ cup buttermilk (or kefir). Serve topped with chopped scallions and extra cheese.
Serves 4-5 (can be easily doubled)



Last week someone asked me to do a tutorial about how to freeze food without freezer burn. (If you are going to freeze the cauliflower cheese soup, do so after step one. Then, warm up the thawed soup and continue with step 2).

The best way to freeze food:

Buy gallon freezer bags (zip lock). Line a tall plastic storage container with the bag, folding the top edges over the rim. Fill about ¾ full with the soup or any other food such you want to freeze (don’t overfill…the soup will expand when it freezes).
Close the top tightly except for a small opening big enough to fit a straw inside. Suck out the air. Squeeze the Ziplock bag the rest of the way closed as you remove straw (still sucking).

I know this sounds really strange, but it works. It takes some practice but once you get the hang of it, you will find that you won’t have any freezer burn on your food. Alternatively, you can buy one of those vacuum sealer freezer contraptions, but my way is a lot cheaper!



emily bilbrey | 10:00 AM

LOVE me some moosewood recipies! i've made this soup myself many times. it's delicious! and greenbank farms cheese is completely amazing. best sharp cheddar i've ever tasted! (:

Lil Muse Lily | 11:26 AM

your mom is so cute!! what an easy and great idea for a soup. thanks!

Sydney Huggins | 1:16 PM

Cauliflower is my favourite vegetable! Jamie Oliver suggests substituting half cauliflower in your macaroni cheese and the kiddies won't even notice!

P.S. That photo sucking air out of the soup bag is priceless!

Unknown | 2:47 PM

Wish I'd of read this or thought of the straw thing BEFORE I bought a seal-a-meal concraption (yes I spelled it right)! I will be trying this soup - love cauliflower.

Anonymous | 7:38 PM

Wow, this looks great. And THANK YOU for the freezer bag tip! I made your split pea soup over the weekend. It was especially delish on the second day when it thicked up. Will definitely make it again.

Becka Robinson | 10:28 PM

That looks soooo good. I wonder if I'll be able to get my husband to try cauliflower with it. He refuses to eat it saying he doesn't like it but he's never actually even tried it.

tlr | 5:23 AM

This looks delicious - I have a similar one that has Dijon mustard in it. Thanks for the vegan ideas - although it so good with tons of cheddar.
I make cauliflower "mashed potatos" for the kids and I tried a recipe to "rice" it for pizza crust. If I find the blog link I will email - maybe you can work your magic and make it easier.
Loved the split pea soup too! Can't wait for next week's recipe.

Erin | 6:58 AM

1. Your mom is really adorable.
2. I'm hungry now. Yum!
3. And now I know what I'm making for dinner tonight.
4. Yes, I'm at work and am in list-mode.


Barb | 8:06 AM

Thanks for the recipe and tutorial!

Amber | 12:27 PM

That looks so good! I just got a handheld blender for Christmas; this looks like a good way to break it in.

Margie | 4:51 PM

Yum! I can't wait to try this soup. I got an immersion blender for Christmas this year and it is changing my life! We've been eating this one broccoli soup a little too much lately because it's delicious (but I'm wearing out on it a bit), so this will be a welcome addition to the rotation. Also, thanks for helping me think critically about the food I'm eating again. I think I get a little lax in the winter (I live in Indiana where it gets so yucky and there is little fresh local food to be had), but you're helping me remember to keep up with my ethical eating, which is good for my daughter and husband too.

Marcela | 9:06 AM

Looks yummy!
And perfect for having over the weekend.

Unknown | 5:39 PM

Okay, this? Was super duper useful. Loving the freezer method and loving that I now have something to do with the head of CSA cauliflower sitting in my fridge. WWW FTW!

Sarah | 12:19 AM

Storing soup in mason jars also works really well. I make at least one pot of soup a week, sometimes from one of WWW's recipes. I then let it cool and ladle it into 8 or 16 oz mason jars leaving room at the top for the liquid to expand. I then put them in the freezer. They last for months and I just grab one on my way out the door in the morning or leave one on the counter and it's ready to reheat at night. Also, I'm finding out that soup is great to barter with! Last week I traded soup for having my computer fixed.

Alexia | 10:41 AM

Rebecca's mom, your hair is so beautiful!

Anonymous | 1:09 PM

Does the garlic go into the pot whole and then get blended along with the rest, or do you mince it before you put it in with the cauliflower?

SarahSylvester | 10:14 AM

I made this a few nights ago. It's delicious and so easy. I used more carrots and "orange" cheddar so mine took on more of a orange creamsicle hue, but it was SO delicious!

Wendy Woolf | 6:28 PM

Anonymous--you can put it in whole. That's what I love about this's so easy!