Cauliflower Soup with Sun Dried Tomato Chili Oil and Anchovy Croutons

 If you’re having a tough week, a pot of soup always helps!

I am not quite sure how, but I ended up with both a large and small cauliflower in my refrigerator this week, and while there are indeed a thousand uses for this vegetable these days from pizza crust to stand-ins for mashed potatoes or rice, I decided to make a hearty soup. It has been a difficult week, and a pot of simmering soup was good medicine. 

My husband had a cardiac event on Friday (he is home now with a new stint and doing well), and so heart-healthy comfort food is on the menu! 

Thank goodness for a stocked pantry!

I already had the cauliflower in abundance, and everything else was in the pantry waiting to help out, including the stale bread for the croutons! Cauliflower tends to be pretty bland on its own, so lots of aromatics and a few flavorful garnishes turned this from ho-hum to really tasty. The sundried tomatoes and chilis add a lot of flavor and some texture, and the croutons, a lovely little crunch with its own unique offering.

The other head of cauliflower? This became cauliflower mashed potato topping the shepherdess pie the next night!

Cauliflower Soup with Sundried Tomato Chili Oil and Anchovy Croutons

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • Few grates of nutmeg
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 can light or full-fat coconut milk

            Heat a stock pot over medium high and add the oil, leeks, onion, and celery. Sauté until they are soft, but not browned. Add the garlic and spices and continue stirring until fragrant.

            Add the cauliflower (any attached leaves as well), potato, and water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.

            Using an immersion blender, or work in batches with a standard blender, and purée until smooth. Add the coconut milk.

            Plate and top with anchovy croutons and sun-dried tomato chili oil, below, or any flavorful chili oil.

Sundried Tomato and Ancho Chili Oil

  • 2 Ancho Chilis
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. maple or agave syrup
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of a lemon
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Cut the ends off the ancho chilis and shake out the seeds. Toast the chilis in a dry, heavy saucepan, cast iron is great here. Don’t let them burn. Place them in a bowl with the sundried tomatoes and cover with a cup of boiling water. Let this set for a half hour.

To the same toasting pan add the cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds and toast them as well. Crush them with a mortar and pestle or with the back of a heavy saucepan. Set aside.

Once the chilis and tomatoes are rehydrated, drain and place in a food processor. Add the seeds, paprika, syrup, garlic, lemon, and vinegar. Pulse gently until everything is broken up, but you want some texture here, not a puree. 

Stir mixture into the olive oil, add salt to taste, bring to a simmer, turn off the heat and let sit for a half hour.

Anchovy Croutons

            These are highly flavorful, and quite tasty as a little nibble. Adjust the anchovies to your liking, start with a few and add more if you want more flavor. You can also make this flavorful oil vegetarian by omitting the anchovies and bumping up the garlic by a clove.

  • 4 or 5 anchovies, plus some if their oil
  • ¼ cup fruity olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 2 or 3 sprigs thyme
  • 4 slices of sturdy, whole-grain bread, stale is good!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Chop up the anchovies and place them in a sauté pan with a teaspoon of their oil, the olive oil, the garlic, mustard, and thyme sprigs.

Bring to a simmer, and slowly cook for three minutes or so, until the garlic is fragrant and the anchovies have broken down. 

Tear the bread into crouton-sized pieces of choice. Irregular shapes have more interest and little craggy areas to crisp up. Place in a large bowl and pour the oil mixture over all. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix it until the bread pieces are well coated.

Bake for about 10 minutes, turn, then continue baking until crispy and brown. Keep an eye on them! Store in an air-tight container.

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62 Comments Add yours

  1. Sowmya says:

    Lovely recipe Dorothy. Love the soup and the sun dried tomato- chilli oil.

    1. Thank you so much Sowmya! It was really tasty.

  2. Look fabulous! I love Cauliflower Soup with the flavorful oil and Anchovy Croutons!

    1. Thank you! They really add zip to this soup!

  3. Glad to hear your husband is home and doing better. 💞 My husband usually makes the soup in our household but I do actually make my own croutons. 😊

    1. Thank you Anne Marie, he is doing much better than I feared.
      Aren’t the croutons delicious? So much more flavor and better texture than the stuff you buy.

      1. Definitely! And they are so simple to make. Sometimes we use cheese bread. Amazing 😁

      2. Oh! The cheese bread croutons would be divine!!!

      3. They are!

  4. Terrie Gura says:

    Oh my goodness, Dorothy! I am sorry you guys had to go through that, and very relieved to hear your husband is on the mend. The soup looks great and I can think of nothing better than homemade soup to bring comfort, that’s for sure!

    1. Thanks Terrie! It was quite an experience, and one I do not care to go through again. But, his attitude is good, and he’s feeling stronger every day, so I’ll keep cooking (healthy) comfort!

  5. Suzassippi says:

    A bowl of that would be lovely right now–it is very fallish here this week, with chilly temps.

    1. We finally got the fall chills! It is supposed to finally hit freezing tonight! Keep warm!

      1. Suzassippi says:

        No freezing yet, but it has frosted several times–beautiful. You keep warm!

  6. Oh my the soup sounds yummy! Cant wait to tryl Also happy to hear your husband is home and on the mend 😊

    1. Thank you so much! He is feeling better and enjoying his comfort foods!

  7. Rekha Unni says:

    Sounds delicious 😋😋

    1. Thank you! It was most enjoyable.

  8. The soup and the additions sound so tasty, and perfect for the weather.
    Glad your husband is doing well. I’m sure such foods will help uplift the spirit! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! He is already feeling nourished.

  9. Leah says:

    Wishing your husband a quick and full recovery, Dorothy! The soup looks delicious with all the combination of ingredients.😋

    1. Thank you so much! He is definitely on the mend and has his appetite back.

  10. Dorothy my mouth is watering at the thought of this soup, and my god those anchovy croutons?! I’m running to my kitchen!

    1. Make some quick! You will love them!

      1. My god I definitely will! What is it about anchovies that makes them so delicious

      2. I don’t know, but they make so many things delicious!

  11. Gail says:

    Is it okay to nibble on a bowl of anchovy croutons? Asking for a friend. 😜🍂

    1. You can tell your friend that in my house, it is actually expected! Enjoy!

      1. Gail says:

        Great. Guess I need to double the recipe! 😜

      2. Oh yes, just to be safe. Other friends might come over…

      3. Gail says:


  12. Ally Bean says:

    Anchovy croutons are new to me and I like the idea very much.

    1. Then I’m sure you’ll love these!

  13. What a beautiful soup! My mouth is watering! I’m glad your husband is ok, I’m sure that was quite a scare…

    1. Thank you Jenna! It was totally unexpected and really scary! But we’re creating our new normal with good spirits!

  14. CarolCooks2 says:

    Wishing your husband a speedy recovery , Dorothy I’m sure all your delicious home cooking will help him on the road to recovery I love homemade croutons the only way to go 🙂

    1. Thank you Carol! He is on the mend and with a healthy appetite, and he’s also quite a good patient!

  15. Christy B says:

    Tis the season for… soups! They are such comfort food 🙂 Hubby recently made a beef barley one and I enjoyed heating up portions over several lunches. Keep the recipes coming!

    1. Thank you Christy! That is truly one of the things I love about a big batch of soup. Sometimes, I even have it for breakfast!

  16. angelamara says:

    Dorothy, that soup looks amazing, and I am so glad to hear that your husband is back home and on the mend! Soup is so comforting, nourishing, and healing.

    1. Thank you Angela! Yes, I’m making heart healthy comfort everything these days!

  17. Americaoncoffee says:

    So perfect and filled with ease, comfort , nutrition and love. ❤️🍲🍲❤️

  18. Nancy says:

    Oh my goodness Dorothy I’m so glad your husband is doing better! Thank goodness for Doctors!
    This soup had to be comforting after all of that! And how about those croutons!
    Have a better week ahead my friend!

    1. Thank you Nancy! We are starting to get back to new normal for now, and I’m sure things will be even better soon.
      I might need a new batch of croutons!

  19. nancyc says:

    This sounds like a delicious soup! I’ve been wanting to make some mashed cauliflower, and this soup sounds like a great idea too! 🙂

    1. It’s such a versatile vegetable!

  20. Gorgeous recipe. I make cauliflower soup quite often but very simply. I love your additions of coconut cream, the oil and those croutons. Fabulous!

    1. Thank you! It jazzes it up a little!

  21. I’m sorry for your husband and I’m glad he’s feeling better!
    Cauliflower is another of those ingredients beside potatoes, that I love in any way…I even eat it raw in salads 😋
    It is a hearty warming soup and those anchovies croutons sounds very interesting 😋

    1. Thank you! I’m there with you and the potatoes as well!

  22. Julia says:

    Oh, how scary! I am glad your husband is back home and on the mend ❤️‍🩹. The soup recipe sounds lovely.

    1. Thank you Julia! Yes, he is on the mend and being a good patient!

  23. That must have been so scary for you both! I’m glad he is doing better and with your healthy cooking he should stay well. I love cauliflower but not my husband so I never get it. This would be a great way for me to enjoy it, thank you!

    1. Thank you Diane. He is feeling much better and being a good boy with his diet!
      The soup freezes well…..

  24. Rehoboth says:

    Nice soup. Yummy 😋. Thank you

    1. Thank you! It was delicious!

  25. Rehoboth says:

    Cauliflower soup and bread crumbs is the best combination in the world….. Thanks for reminding

    1. You’re very welcome! I agree!

  26. kevinashton says:

    Your croutons look wonderful. Homemade croutons add another flavour dimension to a soup or salad. Plus its a great why to use up bread.

    1. It is definitely one of my go-to recipes for the stale bread, and they are so delicious on a soup. One thing most soups need is a little texture!

      1. kevinashton says:

        I agree Dorothy and soup is so easy to make. 🙂

  27. kevinashton says:

    meant to say way… lol

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