Three Ingredient Cauliflower Soup (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

5 from 8 votes
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Sometimes a recipe comes my way that puzzles me.

At first glance, this three ingredient soup sounds a bit drab: no spices, no cream, no deep caramelization to develop flavor. It doesn’t sound like the home-run recipe it is.

The first thing that made me want to try this recipe roughly ten years ago was that it was developed by Paul Bertolli. Chef Bertolli resides from the famed Chez Panisse owned by Alice Waters in Berkley, California. There are few restaurants I’ve visited that showcase glorious simplicity the way Chez Panisse does. I recall having a fabulous January dinner there, and being brought plates of sunshine colored citrus and plump dates as sweet as candy to end the meal. They know the often forgotten art of celebrating the inherent goodness of quality ingredients like few others do.

If anyone knows how to coax the beauty out of vegetables, it’s Paul Bertolli.

The technique of stewing the cauliflower with just a bit of liquid before adding the rest and cooking until almost falling apart was new to me. It gently cooks the cauliflower from the inside out, turning it into a positively silky consistency which an easy blitz of the blender.

I’ve adapted this recipe slightly, using homemade vegetable stock in place of water for a little extra flavor but water works well too. This soup is simple, beautiful, and a lovely backdrop for all kinds of toppings.

How To Make Three Ingredient Cauliflower Soup:

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cauliflower soup

Step 1. Cook the sliced onion on low until soft.

Step 2. Add cauliflower and a bit of stock, then cover and cook.

Step 3. Add the remaining stock, cover, and cook for 20 minutes more.

Step 4. Blend until very smooth.

Step 4. Let rest for 20 minutes to thicken slightly.

Step 5. Ladle into shallow bowls, garnish, and serve.

cauliflower soup

What Else Can I Use?

  • I use yellow onion in this soup, though any light colored sweet onion will do.
  • Paul Bertolli’s original recipe calls for water instead of stock. I like the extra flavor of the stock, but it certainly works with just water if you don’t have stock on hand.
  • An immersion blender can be used to puree the soup instead of a standing blender.
  • Use as fresh of a head of cauliflower as you can find. Since there are so few ingredients, quality matters a great deal.
  • The simplest of garnishes is included here in the recipe: a drizzle of olive oil and a few cracks of pepper. I’ve also topped with chopped, pan roasted almonds and fresh thyme in these photos. A dusting of parmesan is also lovely.

This Three Ingredient Cauliflower Soup is special because:

To state the obvious.. it is THREE ingredients.

The sweating technique was new to me when I first made this soup, and it’s incredible to see how it works to tenderize the cauliflower gently and evenly.

It is fit for all dietary restrictions and lifestyles, with no animal products, dairy, or gluten

It can be made a day or two ahead, and even frozen since it has no dairy in it.

It’s a beautiful, pure white shade like a bowl of melting snow. It provides an ideal backdrop for lots of color contrast with various toppings.

cauliflower soup
cauliflower soup

Here are some other starter recipes, perfect for your Easter table:

Pear + Proscuitto Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese

Roasted Carrot + Avocado Salad

Feta Stuffed Marinated Olives

Shaved Spring Salad with Creamy Tarragon Vinaigrette

cauliflower soup

If you make this Three Ingredient Cauliflower Soup, and I hope you do, please leave me a comment here and rate the recipe. Your feedback means a lot to me! You can also post to Instagram and tag me so I can share your creations!

cauliflower soup
5 from 8 votes

Three Ingredient Cauliflower Soup (adapted from Paul Bertolli)

Adapted from the genius Paul Bertolli, this silky vegan cauliflower soup is all about easy technique to make the most out of minimal ingredients.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 large stockpot
  • 1 High speed blender


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 head of cauliflower, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock, or water
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  • Fresh cracked black pepper


  • Heat a large pot with olive oil over medium-low heat.
  • Add sliced onion and cook low and slow, stirring, for 15 minutes. If the onion starts to brown, turn the heat down as we are not trying to achieve color on them.
  • Add the cauliflower, one teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock.
  • Raise the heat to medium, cover the pot, and stew the cauliflower for 15-18 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 5 cups of stock, bring to a low simmer, and cook uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. The cauliflower will be so tender that this will not take long.
  • Transfer back to the pot and let stand for 20 minutes to thicken slightly.
  • Reheat the soup a bit, if necessary, and ladle into shallow bowls.
  • Top with a drizzle of olive oil and cracked black pepper. I have garnished with chopped roasted almonds and fresh thyme here as well. Lots of possibilities!
  • Serve.


Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 500mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 207
Keyword: cauliflower, Easter, lentil soup, vegan
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5 from 8 votes

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was amazing, like a warm snuggle! It saved me last weekend when the pollen knocked me out. I didn’t have traditional vegetable broth so I used a heaping tablespoon of “Vegetarian “hu tieu” soup base (pho base I think?). Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    This was amazing, like a warm snuggle! It saved me last weekend when the pollen knocked me out. I didn’t have traditional vegetable broth so I used a heaping tablespoon of “Vegetarian “hu tieu” soup base (pho base I think?). Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Can you clarify when you use which olive oil? Cook the onions with the 3 tbsps and garnish with the 1/4 cup of evoo?

  4. 5 stars
    Surprisingly delicious! Definitely took some time to complete all the steps, but worth it in the end, and hopefully it will go faster next time now that I know what to do. Didn’t have success with the roasted almonds , and somehow adding green onions didn’t do much for this soup. but it was great simply plain! Would definitely make again; husband enjoyed it too.

    1. Emily,
      Most people are shocked with how good it is considering the minimal ingredients.
      I’m happy you love it!

  5. 5 stars
    I don’t know how this is “eat it right over the pot while standing over the stove” good, but IT IS! It was the perfect thing to make with the head of cauliflower that I received in my produce box delivery. The toppings could be endless, as I added leftover cubed roasted sweet potato and pumpkin seeds. Thank you for this new “go to” that I have shared with just about everyone I know!

  6. This design is wicked! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve been loving your recipes ever since I stumbled across your TikToks. This soup was delicious with truffle oil drizzled on top.

  8. 5 stars
    This soup is excellent! Don’t skip the almond garnish…it adds a unique and outstanding flavor.

    1. I’ve made this soup several times and love it!! If I’m short on time, can I cook the onions ahead of time and put the rest together later?

      1. I’m so glad you love it, Addie!
        While I haven’t personally tried cooking the onions ahead of time, I don’t think it would interfere with anything, so it’s certainly worth giving a go!
        Let me know how you get on,

  9. 5 stars
    Came across this on TikTok; immediately visited your website just to find cooking times. DUH-LISH-OUS! I needed do to some “must-go” cooking, so I also added some mushrooms and thinly sliced kale to the almonds, as well as a little rosemary because I like it. My additions turned out great!

    I follow you on TikTok and have bookmarked your site for more recipies!