Creamy Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Chowder

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 63 votes

This vegan creamy cauliflower and sweet potato chowder is cozy and vibrant at the same time. It's a naturally gluten-free and satiating stew that is flavoured with dried thyme, garlic, smoked paprika, grainy mustard, miso, and lemon. Roasting the cauliflower brings an extra dimension of deep flavour.

An overhead shot of a creamy orange vegetable stew in a white bowl with an antique spoon sticking out. The stew is a cauliflower and sweet potato chowder and is garnished with finely minced chives.
An overhead shot of a creamy orange stew with sweet potatoes and cauliflower in a white, Dutch oven-style pot. The stew is garnished with chopped chives.
A slight 3/4 angle image of ingredients used in a vegan cauliflower and sweet potato chowder.
An up close, overhead shot of some browned, roasted cauliflower.
A dark kitchen scene shows a countertop and a gas stove with a Dutch oven-style pot on top. Against the subway tile background, we see bottles of cooking oil, a pepper grinder, and a carafe of salt. There is also a vase with a variety of cooking utensils sticking out.

I might be taking some liberties calling this a chowder, but it is a thick and creamy soup with large chunks of veg. In our version here, sweet potatoes and roasted cauliflower are the stars with a supporting cast of serious flavour

The soup itself is relatively simple to prepare, but we add the following to the base for that extra sparkle: dried thyme and tarragon, miso, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, grainy mustard, miso, and lemon. I can admit that this recipe looks like a ton of ingredients! But half of them are pantry items for me, and if you’ve cooked from this site before, I have a feeling you might have them on hand too. On top of all of that, I also take the extra step to pre-roast the cauliflower so that we get the crucial flavour bump of caramelization. All the extra steps are worth it :)

If you’ve made some of the vegan soup recipes on my site before, you know that puréing a portion of the finished soup for a creamy texture is one of my favourite party tricks! We utilize that technique here along with a boost of non-dairy creamer. The finishing texture is so lush, but still vibrant and 100% feel-good.

Some tips for making this Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Chowder:

  • If you’re looking to simplify your life, you can skip the roasting step with the cauliflower. Just add the florets in with the sweet potatoes. You won’t get that same depth of flavour, but it will still be tasty.
  • If you have liquid smoke on hand, adding a few drops at the end really enhances the smoky vibes! Not 100% necessary, but enjoyable if you love the smoke like me.
  • I used an unsweetened oat-based creamer as my “cream.” Any unsweetened and rich non-dairy milk is good here. If you like, you can make your own cashew-based cream by blending ⅓ cup soaked (for at least 2 hours) raw cashews and 1 cup of water until completely smooth.
  • For an extra protein and fiber boost, you could add up to 1 cup of cooked beans/legumes of your choice here after the pureeing step. It will make the soup even thicker, so a few extra splashes of vegetable stock may be called for if you do this.
  • Similar to the bean addition, you could add up to 2 cups of chopped kale or chard for a little greens boost. Just cook until wilted at the very end.

Fans of this cauliflower and sweet potato chowder might also love my Dreamy Winter Vegetable Chowder with Crispy Cabbage, this Creamy Vegan Mushroom Stew with Farro & Kale, and my Lemony Chickpea Soup with Spinach & Potatoes.

An up close shot of a non-dairy "cream" being poured into a pot with a soup-y sweet potato mixture inside.
An overhead image of a puréed portion of soup being poured back into a pot with whole components of the soup.
An up close, overhead shot of a creamy orange stew with sweet potatoes and cauliflower. The stew is garnished with chopped chives.
An overhead shot of a creamy orange vegetable stew in a white bowl with an antique spoon sticking out. The stew is a cauliflower and sweet potato chowder and is garnished with finely minced chives. A plate with toasted bread slices is seen nearby.

Creamy Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Chowder

This vegan creamy cauliflower and sweet potato chowder is cozy and vibrant at the same time. It's a naturally gluten-free and satiating stew that is flavoured with dried thyme, garlic, smoked paprika, grainy mustard, miso, and lemon. Roasting the cauliflower brings an extra dimension of deep flavour.
5 from 63 votes
An overhead shot of a creamy orange vegetable stew in a white bowl with an antique spoon sticking out. The stew is a cauliflower and sweet potato chowder and is garnished with finely minced chives.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups small cauliflower florets (from ½ of a medium head of cauliflower)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
  • 2 medium shallots, small dice (about ½ cup diced shallots)
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups chopped sweet potato)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy creamer (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon light miso
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3-4 drops liquid smoke (optional)
  • chopped chives, for garnish

Equipment

Notes

  • If you’re looking to simplify your life, you can skip the roasting step with the cauliflower. Just add the florets in with the sweet potatoes. You won’t get that same depth of flavour, but it will still be tasty.
  • If you have liquid smoke on hand, adding a few drops at the end really enhances the smoky vibes! Not 100% necessary, but enjoyable if you love the smoke like me.
  • I used an unsweetened oat-based creamer as my “cream.” Any unsweetened and rich non-dairy milk is good here. If you like, you can make your own cashew cream by blending ⅓ cup soaked (for at least 2 hours) raw cashews and 1 cup of water until completely smooth.
  • For an extra protein and fiber boost, you could add up to 1 cup of cooked beans/legumes of your choice here after the pureeing step. It will make the soup even thicker, so a few extra splashes of vegetable stock may be called for if you do this.
  • Similar to the bean addition, you could add up to 2 cups of chopped kale or chard for a little greens boost. Just cook until wilted at the very end.
  • You can make this soup on a meal prep day and keep it sealed in the fridge for up to 5 days. This soup is also freezer-friendly!

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place all of the cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic powder and ½ teaspoon of the smoked paprika. Toss to coat and roast in the oven until golden brown on the edges and tender, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed, Dutch oven-style pot over medium heat. Pour in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and swirl it around. Add the shallots to the pot and sauté until very soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • To the pot, add the following: the remaining ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika, garlic, capers, dried thyme, tarragon, sweet paprika, ground cumin, cayenne, and nutritional yeast. Keep stirring and sautéing for another minute, or until the garlic is very fragrant.
  • Add the tomato paste and mustard to the pot and sauté for another minute or so, just to get the raw tin-like flavour out of the tomato paste.
  • Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir to coat. Season liberally with salt and pepper again.
  • Add the vegetable stock and non-dairy creamer to the pot and stir. Place a lid on top so that it's partially covering the pot. bring the chowder to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the pieces of sweet potato are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Check in on the pot here and there and stir up the chowder.
  • Once the sweet potatoes are tender, carefully ladle about 1/3 of the chowder into an upright blender. Add 1/3 of the roasted cauliflower to the blender as well. Blend this mixture until completely smooth and add it back into the pot. Add the remaining roasted cauliflower back into the pot as well. Stir it up!
  • Bring the finished chowder to a boil and stir in the miso, lemon juice, and liquid smoke (if using). Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Garnish the chowder with chopped chives and enjoy!
An 3/4 angle shot of a creamy orange vegetable stew in a white bowl with an antique spoon sticking out. The stew is a cauliflower and sweet potato chowder and is garnished with finely minced chives.
05/01/2022 (Last Updated 07/03/2024)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, gluten free, grain-free, main course, nut free, refined sugar-free, roasted, salty, smoky, soup, sweet, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, vegan, winter

55 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Pam

    This is soooo good! I wanted to eat the whole pot! The only change I made was leaving out the tarragon, because I hate tarragon. Next time, I think I will add some chickpeas for added protein. Thank you!!!

  • Kim

    5 stars
    Love this soup recipe. I use onion instead of shallot just cuz that’s what i keep in my pantry and skip the tarragon and capers. I’ve made it 4 times now. My dad loved it and so did my husband. Added kale this last time. Chefs kiss.

  • Corley

    5 stars
    My husband & I loved this. We served it with chili oil and it really makes the flavors of this stew next level.

  • Mari

    How would you go about freezing this?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Mari,
      I freeze all of my soups in 1 litre containers. Just let the soup cool completely to room temperature. Transfer the soup to your containers, leaving about an inch of space at the top. And then you can freeze the containers for up to 6 months.
      -L

  • Mary

    5 stars
    A perfect dinner for our first cold day. This was absolutely delicious. My family loved it. Just one problem, my dog ate half the cauliflower while it was cooling. Luckily I roasted two heads because I doubled the recipe. He has good taste, the roasted cauliflower was yummy. Will definitely be making this again. Omitted the Tarragon (not my favorite) and added lentils for protein boost, everything else as written. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  • Winnie

    Can I use squash instead of sweet potatoes for this recipe?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Winnie,
      Yes, squash will work nicely in this recipe!
      -L

  • Louise

    5 stars
    10/10 would make this again! So unbelievably flavorful. I used coconut milk (full fat) and oregano in place of tarragon as I ran out. Otherwise, kept everything as is. Perfect meal as we come out of the last couple of weeks of winter.

  • Michelle

    5 stars
    Just made this yesterday and wowza what flavour, it is awesome! I def think it was worth it to roast the cauliflower especially if you have someone that is not a fan-it was perfectly disguised . I added some broad beans & chopped kale, spinach, chard mix. I will definitely make this again. Best, M

  • Peggy

    5 stars
    This chowder was delicious. Very rich tasting. Didn’t have capers nor miso but we didn’t miss them. Added a cup of garbanzos. Thanks

  • Amie Pinho

    5 stars
    This was, hands down, THE MOST delicious dish I have made since going Vegan. It was rich, comforting and satisfying. I love all of your recipes!

  • Sherryn

    5 stars
    I want to write 2 reviews so I can give 10 stars! For the tarragon, caper and liquid smoke skeptics, I hedged too but put my faith in Laura. This really might be my new 2nd fave ever TFM recipe (nothing will ever top Very Good Vegan Biscuits with Miso & Green Onions (https://thefirstmess.com/2018/04/07/good-vegan-biscuits-recipe-miso-green-onions/). Does require a bit of time and effort but I literally did parts of the prep over the course of the afternoon. It’s a winner!

  • Jessica

    5 stars
    Amazing! This was absolutely fantastic- will double next time. Definitely adding as a favorite recipe.

  • Madeline

    5 stars
    So divinely flavorful! A new winter favorite.

  • Alex

    5 stars
    Love this and definitely worth the time to roast the cauliflower. I’ve connected numerous people with this recipes and it’s consistently been a huge hit.

  • Melissa

    5 stars
    Yum!! This was so delicious! Always know I can trust Laura to have the flavors dialed in. So good!

  • Michelle

    5 stars
    Amazing flavour and it has a great kick to it. Just made a huge batch to serve 13 people and they all raved about it. Used regular mustard and didn’t have miso or liquid smoke. Added in some squash as well. 10/10

  • Creamy Vegan Vegetable Stew with Sun Dried Tomatoes | The First Mess

    […] that feels good to even look at! Take a peak at this Ginger Sweet Potato Coconut Milk one and my Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chowder. I know that this stew has a ton of chopping and it’s more of a weekend project, but […]

  • Emily

    5 stars
    I come back to this recipe time and time again! Perfect for making a big pot and then having for lunches at home throughout the week. I add lentils for extra protein, blended silken tofu for the “Cream”, and toasted walnuts on top. Love it! Thank you. 

  • Sherri B

    5 stars
    I refused to delete this recipe from my inbox until I had made it because it looked so good. You know you’re going to get complexity and depth of flavor when you look over that ingredient list. Restaurant quality! I’ve never seen roasted cauliflower used this way and it is brilliant. The blender work at the end made it super creamy. The investment of time was worth it. I was glad I doubled my recipe, so we can enjoy it twice as long!

  • Monthly Goals – February | Stumbling Through My Thirties

    […] recipes (5/5): Made lots of Korean banchan, including bean sprouts and spinach muchim. Also made a cauliflower soup that J. had sent […]

  • Danielle

    As our cold weather is coming to an end here in Missouri, I have to fit this recipe in soon! Looks great.

  • Claire

    5 stars
    Made this for the first time hosting people for dinner which is always a risk but as usual, your recipe came through! My friend who apparently somehow “doesn’t like sweet potatoes” went back for seconds. Only change was no tarragon since I didn’t have it.

  • Mandy

    5 stars
    This was downright delicious!! One of the best things I’ve made in a while. Thank you for yet another delicious recipe! 11/10

  • Suzanne

    Laura , this is so delicious

  • jill

    If you were to skip the roasting of the cauliflower step, would you still add in the 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and garlic powder that you use to roast the florets?

    • Laura

      Hi Jill,
      I would just bump up the amount of smoked paprika to 1 teaspoon in step 3. You can also add the garlic powder in this step if you like! There is already a good amount of fresh garlic there, but more garlic never really hurt. It’s up to you!
      -L

      • jill

        5 stars
        just as everyone has said…this soup is FANTASTIC ( even without roasting the cauliflower)…also, freezes beautifully!! 

  • Mary

    5 stars
    Wow….another divine soup…do incredibly delicious!! 

  • Sabrina

    5 stars
    a very nice chowder, and I think it’s safe to say that it is, especially since I love sweet potatoes! Love these ingredients, and flavors, thank you

  • Kate

    5 stars
    Delicious! This was so tasty and was not a lot of work, even though ingredient list was long.  Added a head of kale at the end for some greens.  The leftovers were even better than the first day!

  • Matt

    5 stars
    This was excellent. We included white beans, served it with a green salad. The one change I made was that I roasted some of the sweet potatoes with the cauliflower. 

  • Meleyna

    5 stars
    So good! Grocery delivery gave me white Japanese sweet potatoes, so I added a touch for turmeric for color, but otherwise followed exactly. Finished with olive oil and Aleppo style pepper and a lil extra lemon and so much crusty bread. 

  • Gracie

    5 stars
    A delicious chowder for a cold gray day! The depth of flavor was wonderful. The next tim make it, I’ll add more roasted cauliflower — that was so good, there wasn’t enough in the first batch. Thanks for this creatively spiced dish!

  • Rasha

    This deserves more than 5 ✨!! 
    Made it exactly as written..The flavour profile is impeccable

  • Rebecca

    I made the recipe this weekend and just had a bowl. The flavours are awesome!

  • MK

    5 stars
    Delicious! I will make this again. I used coconut cream, as I had it on hand. Next time I plan to use the cashew cream as this has worked so well in other recipes (like butter chickpeas).

    • Suzy

      I plan on making this recipe. It looks delicious. How did it go with the coconut cream?  That is what I plan on using.

  • Steff

    5 stars
    This was super good! Thought I had everything but the tarragon and liquid smoke but turned out I was also out of smoked paprika, so I used smoked salt instead of regular salt, tagine paste instead of regular tomato paste, and chipotle chili flakes instead of cayenne to bring in the smoked flavour. Added dino kale at the end, definitely recommend.

  • Judith

    5 stars
    This soup is amazing. Such a wonderful depth of flavor. Even after I’m full I wish I wasn’t so I could have some more. 

  • Carrie

    5 stars
    I made this last night and it did not disappoint! Super flavorful and filling. We added a can of chickpeas and a few handfuls of chopped kale at the end. Definitely going to be added to the dinner rotation.

  • Aliraye

    Which legumes do best to add to this soup? something that stays more solid and in tact like a chickpea or something that breaks down more like a red lentil? 

    • Laura

      Hi Aliraye! Chickpeas or white beans would be my first choice here.
      -L

  • Chandler

    5 stars
    I made this today and it is SO GOOD! It has a lot of ingredients, yes, but the result is super flavorful and complex. I roasted the cauliflower and I suggest you roast extra because it is delicious just on its own! I had to resist eating the whole pan. I added white beans and some kale and used dijon mustard (I didn’t have grainy mustard). I can’t wait to eat another bowl!!

    • Sherryn

      Totally agree on the extra roasted cauliflower!!

  • Rob Kalmar

    5 stars
    I’m not a huge soup person, but do enjoy a good hearty goulash as I’m Hungarian, but this one was fantastic. Glad I bought a blender recently. Highly recommend & would do it again many times. 

  • Vegan4life

    5 stars
    Whoops, I forgot to rate it 5+ with my comment. 

  • Vegan4life

    This was amazingly delicious! I made it almost exactly as written but I was out of tarragon… and I threw in some cooked green lentils at the end.  The flavors and textures all play so nicely together. When I make it again, I may just have to double it – loved it that much!  Thanks for another winner. 

  • Andi

    5 stars
    Made this yesterday on the first snowy day here in New England. Absolutely delicious!!!  My only change was to sauté in vegetable broth instead of oil. Will most definitely be making this again. Thank you!!!

  • Jo

    I was skeptical but this is so delicious!!! So smoky thick and just a bit spicy the way I like it. Decided not to add liquid smoke and miso because I was afraid to ruin the perfect smoky sweet spicy balance :) Also didn’t have tarragon and used leek instead of celery, which I don’t like. My new favorite soup!

  • Heidi

    5 stars
    This is really delicious, Laura! So flavourful. 

  • Kaley

    This is so good!! Love the roasted cauliflower.  Enjoying now with lots of bread — will be making this again and again! Thank you :)

  • Lauren

    This looks super good! Any suggestions for substituting for the tarragon(not a fan)? Also would regular oat milk/almond milk be ok? I don’t buy the creamers…or maybe canned coconut milk? 

    • Laura

      Hi Lauren!
      You could just leave the tarragon out, no problem there. Also, unsweetened oat or soy milk would be great here! I recommend oat or soy since they are a bit more rich.
      -L

  • Kristina

    This looks amazing. I love your soups and stews. Your deep green lentil stew is such a favorite of mine. Does this recipe need the capers for briny-ness? My husband is not a fan. I’d rather not buy them knowing they will just sit in my fridge. 

    • Laura

      Hi Kristina!
      You can leave the capers out of this one without any major changes. Maybe an extra little squeeze of lemon at the end, but that’s it!
      -L