Cauliflower isn’t a vegetable we eat often. I find that it can be too bitter and I’m very rarely inspired to cook with it – except in that winter staple cauliflower cheese (when I have to admit to combining it with broccoli and dousing it in blue cheese sauce to mask the flavour) and Ottolenghi’s delicious cauliflower and cumin fritters with lime yoghurt. So, what to do with the cauliflower that came in the veg box we were trying out?

We fancied soup and I was feeling in a Spanish mood. So, instead of potatoes to thicken the soup, I chose rice and almonds. And to help make the soup creamy (as well as reduce the bitterness of the cauliflower), without going out to buy cream, I cooked the soup in milk and stock.

I used olive oil, caramelised onions and toasted almonds to garnish the soup. Some fried cubes of chorizo would also be delicious.

Serves 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes


1 large knob of butter

1 tbsp olive oil plus extra for the garnish

2 onions, 1 roughly chopped and the other thinly sliced

1 large cauliflower, broken into florets, stalks chopped and young leaves kept

50g flaked almonds plus a few extra for the garnish

110g basmati rice

400ml milk

200ml chicken or vegetable stock

salt and white pepper


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the roughly chopped onion and slowly cook until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets, stalks and leaves, stir to coat in the butter and cook for a few minutes before adding the almonds and rice.
  3. Pour in the milk and stock, season with salt and white pepper then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so until the rice and cauliflower are cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the sliced onion in the olive oil until caramelised and toast the almonds for the garnish.
  5. Take the soup off the heat and blend until smooth. Put the soup back on a low heat and simmer whilst you adjust the seasoning and thickness (add water or more stock until the soup is as thick or thin as you like it).
  6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, the fried onions and the toasted almonds.