Amazing roasted cauliflower and vegetable chowder – naturally gluten-free

A creamy, filling vegetable chowder made with deeply savoury roasted cauliflower, buttery fried onions, and hearty carrots and potatoes. It’s a meal in a bowl!

The power of a name has been demonstrated over and over again to me recently. My daughter Kipper won’t eat stir fry, but happily chomps down ‘Chinese style vegetables’. Meanwhile her Dad famously hates kugel but enjoys a ‘crispy potato bake’.

Neither of them particularly likes soup. So when I really really fancied a big warming bowl of something soupy and delicious recently, I decided to try this renaming tactic yet again.

Ladies and gents, I present “CHOWDER”

I know that technically, chowder is just a specific kind of soup – one traditionally made with milk or cream, and thickened with potatoes or crushed crackers. But Kipper had never heard of chowder before, and if DH knew it was soup, he also knew enough to keep quiet. The smell of it cooking was so irresistible that even if I had called it soup, I think they would both have eaten it!

Roasted cauliflower chowder.

This hearty vegetarian chowder is the perfect Spring food. It’s just what I want to eat on a day when the sun is shining, but there’s still a nip in the air. So basically every day, at the moment. Savoury roasted cauliflower, sweet carrots, fried onions, and soft and fluffy potatoes, in a rich, thick and creamy broth.  What’s not to love?!


The aroma of roasting cauliflower was mouthwatering, but the fragrance of buttery fried onions, thyme and smoked paprika really pushed it over the edge. I kept sending Kipper off to do things around the house and she kept gravitating back to the kitchen, drawn by the wonderful smell emanating from the pot bubbling away on the stove. Piano practise will have to wait.

Roasting the cauliflower before adding it to the other vegetables is definitely worth the little bit of extra effort. It adds a fabulous depth of flavour to the finished chowder. You can also reserve a few pieces of beautiful charred cauliflower to use as a garnish, if you remember, like I didn’t. Oops.

Roasted cauliflower chowder.

Lunch, dinner or supper

The chunky potatoes and carrots turn this thick vegetable soup – sorry, chowder – into a hearty vegetarian meal. We ate it for dinner with just some breadsticks on the side. It occurs to me that the chowder itself would be perfect for Pesach as a yummy, filling lunch or supper. 

We topped our chowder with grated cheese and a little chopped parsley, which looked pretty even if it wasn’t pieces of roasted cauliflower. I ate this both with and without the cheese, and I can confidently say that it’s delicious either way.

This made 3-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are. It was also pretty thick, so you could easily thin it with a little extra stock or milk to make it go a bit further. And you’re welcome to call it chowder, soup, or whatever you think will persuade your family to give it a try! Enjoy!

A creamy, filling vegetable chowder made with deeply savoury roasted cauliflower, buttery fried onions, and hearty carrots and potatoes. It's a meal in a bowl! Naturally gluten-free.

A creamy, filling vegetable chowder made with deeply savoury roasted cauliflower, buttery fried onions, and hearty carrots and potatoes. It's a meal in a bowl! Naturally gluten-free (and perfect for Pesach!)

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cauliflower & vegetable chowder
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3 from 2 votes

Roasted cauliflower and vegetable chowder

Course Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Vegetarian
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Author Helen


For the roasted cauliflower

  • 1 medium cauliflower (approx 350g)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

For the chowder

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 medium-large carrots
  • 3 medium-large potatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 300 ml vegetable stock (1 1/3 cups)
  • 200 ml milk (scant 1 cup)
  • grated cheese & chopped parsley to serve (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
    Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Wash well and toss with the oil, salt and pepper. Spread out onto a lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and charred at the edges.
  • Meanwhile, peel and finely dice the onion. Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes.
  • Heat the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes until soft and starting to turn golden. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. 
  • Add the roasted cauliflower to the pan with the thyme and smoked paprika. Stir well.
  • Add the stock and milk to the pan. The liquid should just cover the vegetables - add more if necessary. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
  • Remove about 1/3 of the chowder to a bowl or jug and use a hand blender to puree. Return this to the pan and mix well in.
  • Serve the chowder, topped with a little grated cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.


You can also reserve a few small pieces of the roasted cauliflower to use as a garnish.

If you just can’t get enough cauliflower, how about a delicious vegan cauliflower and chickpea curry, or a creamy cauliflower and pasta bake.

A creamy, filling vegetable chowder made with deeply savoury roasted cauliflower, buttery fried onions, and hearty carrots and potatoes. It's a meal in a bowl!


  1. This looks amazing! My daughter is vegan and I’m wondering how it would turn out if I used coconut milk…

    • Thanks Arianne. I think it would depend on how strongly the coconut milk you use tastes of coconut, if that makes sense! I know some brands are more neutral tasting which would probably be fine, but I’m not sure how well a strong coconut flavour will marry with the other ingredients. Sorry not to be more help. If you try it please come back and let us know how it turned out! All the best, Helen x.

  2. Pingback:Simply Seasonal Wild Garlic, Ham and Pea Chowder | Farmersgirl Kitchen

  3. 1 star
    I made a huge pot of this for my family for lunch before the seder. I used only 1/2 the amount of thyme, and it was way too much! The thyme took over the entire taste of the soup, and sadly nobody cared for it. I was most upset, as it took quite some time to prepare this. If I made again, I would leave out the thyme altogether

    • Hi Shelley, I’m so sorry that you didn’t enjoy this 🙁
      I do use herbs and spices generously in my recipes and they are always taste-tested so I’m sorry that you found the thyme to be overpowering. I think your suggestion of leaving the thyme out next time is a sensible one, or perhaps you can taste and season at the end, to get it just how you like?
      I hope you enjoy the rest of Pesach – chag sameach to you and your family. All the best, Helen.

  4. Hi Helen
    I’m making this for passover lunch, but I want it Pareve. What can I use instead of the milk?

    • Hi Shelley, if it wasn’t Pesach I’d say grab whatever non-dairy milk you like but it’s a bit trickier this week! You could substitute KFP almond milk but it might affect the taste. I’d probably just use more stock in place of the milk – it won’t be quite as creamy but should still taste good. You could also add a little bit of parve cream like Rich’s or something right before serving. I hope this helps!

  5. Doesn’t 20 of roasting & 20 of simmering mean the cauliflower is falling apart?

    • Hi Simon. Yes, the cauliflower is very soft. The roasting imparts a delicious deep flavour and the simmering then transfers this to the rest of the dish. The vegetables are all cooked until quite soft as that’s the texture of the soup. If you prefer sturdier veg then you can simmer for a shorter period or else add the roasted cauliflower later on during the cooking. I hope you enjoy the chowder! Thanks, Helen.

  6. 5 stars
    Oh my Helen, I’m literally salivating over this recipe, looks incredible and love the addition of smoked paprika ☺️

  7. Roasting cauliflower is my favourite way to eat and this will looks just delicious. So comforting too.

  8. This sounds absolutely fantastic, especially with this cold weather! I’ve just recently discovered my love for cauliflower, so I’ll definitely put this chowder on my to-cook list!

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