Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup

January 3, 2018



Happy New Year, Readers!

I hope you all had a merry and wonderful holiday? We mostly enjoyed a relaxed and festive few weeks, although I did spend the day after Christmas in bed with the vomiting plague. I was the only one who got it, probably because I spent the entire week prior to Christmas in the public realm (eg: the dang grocery store, the dang SuperTarget, the dang wine shop, the dang butcher, the dang seafood market…you get the idea).

I swear that I’m religious about washing my hands when I return from each and every one of those places, but I think you just can’t outrun virus season forever. It catches up with you eventually and you spend a few days wishing for death. Or for one of those robotic maids that the Jetsons had in those old cartoons. A robot maid would be epic.

Still, I was very glad that I didn’t spread the yucks to anyone else in the family.

We had a holiday first here at the T. household: almost zero leftovers from the Christmas day feast. As always, I ordered a large Honeybaked ham (and a filet mignon roast!) but we picked up a few last-minute guests on Christmas, so we threw open the doors, feasted well,  packed up the leftovers and said guests happily took them home. To be honest, it was kind of a relief. Sure, it’s nice to have a few slices of something for midnight snacking (or if you’re like me, a bowl of leftover scalloped potatoes for breakfast) but after a day or so, I’m ready to move on.

A couple of days after Christmas, my husband came down the stairs and said, “You know what’s weird?” He jiggled the waistband of his jeans. “Not only did I not put any weight on over the holidays, I think I might have lost some. How is that possible? Unlike you, I didn’t even have the stomach flu.”

It’s true–a decent bout of the stomach hurls can undo several days of overindulgence, although I don’t recommend it.

He hadn’t been hanging out at the gym more than usual, so it wasn’t exercise induced and he certainly hadn’t been teetotaling during the business-party circuit.

He did say that he’d been so busy at work that he didn’t even wander into the break room to see if there were cookies or other holiday temptations around, but we did have some at home. We’d still been sticking to a good ratio of plant-based meals, although things had definitely relaxed for a few weeks.

So what’s going on, caterpillars?

We had some mighty cold weather leading up to Christmas (not -50 like Fargo, North Dakota, but cold enough) and the bite in the air had caused me to rely heavily on my soup pot in the weeks before New Year’s, and you know what? That’s the ticket, I think.

Nearly every day I’d been sending him off to work with a vegetable laden soup for either lunch or dinner, and darned if those bowls of broth didn’t keep him warm, full and skinny. I’d been eating those bowls, too–sometimes for breakfast and lunch, depending on how chattery my teeth were after walking Mozz-man around the neighborhood. Turns out, it wasn’t just the stomach flu keeping extra pounds at bay.

I’d made this riff on minestrone, and this nourishing lentil soup and even this cheese-inclusive broccoli recipe. All delicious, all easy, and all good for you. How’s that for a package deal?

I am not a girl to make New Year’s resolutions, because let’s face it, 2017 was depressing enough and I’d like to start the year off without immediate failure…but. If you are of a mind make yourself a health-related promise for 2018, eating more soup isn’t too much of a sacrifice. How hard is it to replace your afternoon burrito or sandwich with a cuddly bowl of soup? It won’t make you weighed down or sleepy afterwards, and it’s packed with nutritious stuff, and if you make a pot of soup on a snowy weekend, it’s all ready for you to nosh on for days.

Soup for 2018…I like it. At least for the chilly part of the year. We can always switch back to salad country when it’s balmy out. Your body will thank you (as long as you don’t mainline cream-packed recipes or ones dripping in cheese).

If you try the soup featured below, your tastebuds will thank you, too. This recipe, at first blush, sounds weird but it tastes amazing. I’m not kidding–my husband’s jaw dropped when he first tasted this. It’s full of warming Moroccan-influenced spice, but it’s not spicy-spicy (harissa does vary depending on the brand you use, so taste as you go, though). It’s vegan, but the addition of almonds (two varieties, regular and smoked) give it a complex depth and a little swirl of coconut milk adds richness. The cilantro keeps things bright, and you’ll love the contrast that the almond garnish on top provides.

Try it.

It’ll make you feel like a world traveler.

A world traveler who can fit into her skinny jeans.

I’ll toast to that. Happy New Year!





Moroccan Cauliflower and Almond Soup

adapted from Taste of Home

serves 6-8


1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets (about 3 1/2 pounds)

6 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (yes, you do need to toast them. It makes a difference. 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, divided

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 teaspoons harissa paste

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk

1/4 cup chopped smoked almonds, for serving

additional harissa, for serving (optional)


In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, combine cauliflower, vegetable stock, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup cilantro and garlic.

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat with the harissa, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until spices begin to smell fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the slow cooker.

Cook, covered, on low heat about 6 hours or until cauliflower is tender.

Add coconut milk to the slow cooker and puree mixture with an immersion blender. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper and harissa, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with smoked chopped almonds and remaining chopped cilantro.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie January 3, 2018 at 6:44 am

I have a newly opened jar of harissa that we’ve been diving into for shashuska. This sounds like a perfect recipe to use more of it and for our frigid weather!!


Pat January 8, 2018 at 5:18 am

I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and I was so happy to come across this recipe. I just added it to my recipe collection and can’t wait to try it. I’ve been plant based for a few years now and I discovered the same thing about soup! Last year I realized how amazing my Instant Pot was when I wanted soup and was short on time so now there’s never a time when I don’t have at least one soup waiting in my fridge.


Dana Talusani January 9, 2018 at 9:26 am


Thanks for the comment! Soup is a great winter go-to. I even find myself snacking on soup when it’s chilly out! I am a novice at the Instant Pot but everyone raves about the ease of it.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: