Beet & Cauliflower soup with tarragon & smoked paprika

Beet and cauliflower soup

Imagine, if you will, that you’re camping. You wake up in the morning and step out of your tent. Everything is damp and fragrant, and vividly glowing green. The ferns and grass and weeds are sweet and sharp, lemony and herbaceous. The smell of wet earth mingles with the smokiness of the embers from your fire of the night before. That’s what this soup is like! Except that it’s vividly pink, not green. The sweet earthiness of the beets, the smokiness of Spanish paprika, and the fresh green aromatic tarragon are lovely together. The cauliflower adds a creaminess, and helps to temper the strong beety flavor.
We ate this with goat cheese toasts that had been liberally peppered with pepper. They contributed a nice contrast to the sweetness of the soup, and were, admittedly more popular with the small boys of The Ordinary than the soup itself (though they had 2 helpings of that, too!)

Here’s Sweet Fern by the Carter Family.

2 T olive oil
1 shallot – finely chopped
1 clove garlic – minced
2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sized beet (about 1 cup when peeled and chopped into 1/3 inch dice)
1 t thyme
1 t basil
1/2 t fennel seeds, crushed or chopped
1 t smoked paprika
1 T fresh tarragon
1/4 cup white wine
1 t balsamic
salt & plenty of pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the shallot. Cook till it’s just soft and turning brown. Add the garlic, fennel, thyme and basil. Cook for a few minutes. Add the cauliflower and beets, stir to coat, and cook until the cauliflower starts to soften and turn brown. Add the wine, paprika, salt and tarragon. Cook for a few minutes, until the wine is reduced and syrupy. Add water to cover by about 1/2 an inch(for me it was 3 cups of water, but it will depend on the volume of your veg.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the beets and cauliflower are quite soft. Add the balsamic (and a tablespoon of butter, if you’re not interested in keeping it vegan). Puree carefully in small batches till it’s smooth and creamy. Taste for salt and add plenty of freshly ground pepper


Take a stale loaf of french bread or ciabatta. Cut 1/2 inch slices. Spread a think layer of butter on each. Then a thin layer of goat cheese. Toast in the toaster oven or broil in the broiler until the cheese starts to get brown and bubbly. Take them out of the oven and grind lots of pepper on them. Float one in each bowl of soup.


10 thoughts on “Beet & Cauliflower soup with tarragon & smoked paprika

    • Beets are the craziest color! We were just saying that it’s funny that something so bright and vivid would have such an earthy flavor.

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  2. Oh my gosh. Just made this and had to leave out the tarragon as I didn’t have any, but made it anyway and topped it off with fresh pepper and some blood orange olive oil… ah.may.zing!

    • I’m glad it turned out well! Thanks for taking the time to tell me – it always makes my day to hear that a recipe worked for somebody else.

      Blood orange olive oil sounds ridiculously delicious!

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  4. I just found this recipe when I was searching for beet cauliflower soup; this one caught my eye because it included spices in addition to garlic and onion in the name of the soup, which I can not currently have due to GERD. Do you think this would work without garlic and shallot?

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