Cream of Jalapeño Soup is a vegan soup that's made rich and creamy with slowly cooked cauliflower. Deliciously comforting with warming spices and subtle heat from the peppers, it's an easy and quick soup for a meal or first course during the fall and winter months.
There's something incredibly delicious about the heat of a jalapeño pepper mixed into creamy cauliflower.
This blend is both warming and soothing, and together they create a comforting and flavorful bite.
A few simple ingredients are cooked together in one pot, then blended and served. That's it for this magical Cream of Jalapeño Soup!
- olive oil - I like this one.
- onion - Choose onions that are firm, heavy for their size and without bruises.
- garlic - Look for firm heads of garlic without any soft spots or green shoots, which are an indication it's old and likely bitter.
- jalapeño peppers - A good pepper should be firm, deeply colored and slightly shiny.
- ground cumin
- cilantro - Choose perky bunches that are bright green without any yellowing leaves.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
Substitutions and Variations
- Cilantro. If you're not a cilantro fan, you can substitute it with about 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice. Fresh basil is another good option (use about 2 tablespoons).
- You can put a different spin on this soup by making it with other chile peppers. Poblanos would be my first choice after the jalapeños -- they're mild and have a slightly smoky flavor.
- Taste your jalapeños before using them to see how hot or mild they are. You can adjust the amount to use to your taste. I find that the amount listed in the recipe is perfect for medium-hot peppers. The creamy cauliflower mellows it a bit, but you'll still get subtle heat.
- The recipe calls for four to five cups of stock. The stock should go just to the level of the cauliflower in the pot, before you simmer it. You can vary the texture if you'd like to, by adding more or less. Wait until you blend it before deciding if you want to add more liquid so you can see (and taste) it first. It's also okay to add water to thin it.
- The color of your soup will vary, depending on the vegetable stock you use. A very rich and hearty stock will produce a darker, more golden-colored soup. The stock I used was on the light side. It's likely no two soups will look alike.
- For maximum heat, leave some or all of the seeds and/or membranes in the chiles.
How to Make it
- Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 7 minutes.
- Cut the stems off the jalapeños and then slice them in half, lengthwise, and then remove the seeds.
Pro Tip: The easiest way to remove the seeds of a jalapeño is to use the tip of a small teaspoon, and starting at the point of the pepper, with gentle pressure, move the spoon downward towards the stem.
- Roughly chop the peppers and add them to the pan, along with the cumin. Cook until the they're are soft, about 4 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower and stir to coat it with the other ingredients. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low, cover and let it simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the pot into a powerful blender and add the cilantro. Blend until it’s very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and season to taste with salt. (Here’s How.)
- Drizzle each serving with a bit of olive oil and garnish with very thin slices of jalapeños.
While serving this for what it is -- a soup -- is perfect, it can also be used in other recipes.
This soup is perfect for mixing into casseroles to add flavor and make them creamy. (I roast root vegetables, caramelize onions, and then layer them with the Cream of Jalapeño Soup and grated Gruyere cheese. It's fantastic!)
It can also be used as a pasta sauce, or mixed into rice.
How hot are Jalapeño Peppers?
The jalapeño pepper heat level varies from mild to hot, depending on cultivation and preparation.
The inside membranes of the pepper carry the most heat, followed by the seeds. If they're particularly hot, I remove all of the seeds and the membranes (see above image). If they're only half as hot as I'd like, I leave some in. This is totally a matter of taste.
When working with jalapeños, or any chile peppers, you should always take a (very tiny) taste before you use them. You have to know how much heat you're adding to your recipes. No matter what most recipes call for, you can adjust the amount of jalapeño you add.
Fun Fact: Botanically speaking, jalapeño peppers are a fruit. They are actually a berry!
More Recipes with Jalapeño Peppers
- Citrus Carpaccio with Yuzu Jalapeño Dressing
- Grilled Jalapeño Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers
- Grapefruit-Jalapeño Marmalade
- Jalapeño-Lime Vinaigrette
- Jalapeño Creamed Corn
Can you make it ahead?
Yes. The soup can be made and kept refrigerated up to 4 days ahead of time. Let it cool completely before storing it. When you're ready to serve, warm it on the stove until it's completely heated through and hot.
I hope you love this creamy jalapeño soup as much as my family and I do.
Cream of Jalapeño Soup Recipe
- olive oil for the pan, and a bit more to drizzle for garnish
- 1 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
- 2 to 3 (approximately 3-inch) jalapeño peppers (approximately ¼ pound/about ¾ cup), washed and dried
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ pounds (about 4½ cups) cauliflower florets, washed and dried, roughly chopped (weight is for whole head, including greens)
- approximately 5 cups vegetable stock
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, washed and dried
- salt to taste
- Sauté the onion and garlic. Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 7 minutes.
- Prepare and add the jalapeños with the cumin. Cut the stems off the jalapeños and then slice them in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds, roughly chop them, and add them to the pan, along with the cumin. Cook until the jalapeños are soft, about 4 minutes. (If you want more heat, leave some of the seeds and/or membranes.)
- Add cauliflower and stock and cook. Now add the cauliflower and stir to coat it with the other ingredients. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low, cover and let it simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Add cilantro and blend. Add the cilantro and then pour the contents of the pot into a powerful blender and blend until very smooth, about 10 seconds. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt.
- Serve. Drizzle each serving with a bit of olive oil and garnish with slices of jalapeño if desired.