While orange-colored pumpkin soups are in season for Halloween and Thanksgiving, I prepared a deliciously scary purple-colored soup instead, packed with antioxidants and nutritious properties.
With all the candies and sweet treats your little ones will be eating for Halloween (by the way, if you are still looking for Halloween ideas, check my PB&J Mummy Hand Pies, everyone love them!), having a bowl of warm comforting soup for dinner will be much appreciated. But not a regular soup for once, a purple one! I will tell you more: a naturally purple-colored one!
When I first got the idea of making a purple soup, I went to my local farmers market in Lincoln Park and purchased a beautiful purple cauliflower. Purple cauliflower display vibrant violet hues on the outside florets, while the stem and core of the vegetable retain a white cream color. The purple color of purple cauliflowers is due to the presence of antioxidant anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Its flavor is milder, sweeter, nuttier, and free of the bitterness sometimes found in white cauliflower.
Cauliflower nutritional value is also amazing: rich in vitamin C (half a cup of florets providing nearly half of ones daily requirement for vitamin C), it also provides a fair amount of fiber, vitamin A, folate, calcium and potassium as well as selenium, which works with vitamin C to boost the immune system. Cruciferous vegetables are also known for their high level of cancer-fighting phytochemicals. For more cauliflowers recipe ideas, check my Beet veggie pizza with cauliflower crust and my Vegan chickpea curry with cauliflower rice, both gluten free.
Back home, I made my first experiments in the kitchen pairing together my lovely purple cauliflower with some sweet potato to make a soup. What a stupid idea of mine! Purple + orange gives a brown color of course, so the purple color entirely disappeared in my soup. Failed attempted (the soup tasted good though)! I laughed at myself, remembering this children book I read when I was 6 and where it is explained how to pair colors. By the time I would not have made the same mistake. You never learn, Del!
Feeling amused by this beginner’s mistake, I kept the soup for the week, and a few days later went to purchase another purple cauliflower, with purple sweet potatoes this time (yes it exists, unbelievable!) and purple carrots. This time, the color could only be purple, right? I was really excited when I came back home (yes I know, food bloggers have really weird reasons to feel excited about!). In my kitchen, everything was purple, and I somehow felt like Hansel & Gretel’s witch, preparing the Halloween soup for the kids, haha!
This time, everything worked out just fine and I managed to get this amazing purple-colored soup I was looking for. Ok, but what the heck are purple sweet potato, and is it easy to find? As for the purple cauliflower, its purple shade is completely natural; the color comes from the same pigment that makes cherries and strawberries red. Commercialized since 2006 only, the purple sweet potato has some mysterious origins. According to the LA Times, a North Carolina farmer received some of the lilac-hued spuds as a gift from an unidentified woman, and he liked them so much that he started to cultivate them and eventually patented them with their own name: Stokes Purple.
Now, what if you don’t find purple sweet potatoes but still want to make my purple soup? No worries, there are different varieties of purple potatoes (not sweet potatoes), such as All Blue, Blue Tomcat, Purple Majesty, or Purple Pelisse, that would do the job too! All of them have both a purple skin and a purple flesh.
Oh, and I forgot the purple carrots here (hope I didn’t loose you in the way)! So if you are still reading this article, I will break the myth straight away: before the 17th century, almost all-cultivated carrots were deep purple in color, so this is not a new thing at all! Nowadays, the purple carrots are making a come back as health-conscious consumers are showing interest in this funky-looking heirloom vegetable. While purple carrots provide many of the same health benefits as orange carrots, they also offer some extraordinary nutritional benefits due to their high concentration of anthocyanin (again, these flavonoid pigments that give many blue, purple and black vegetables and berries their intense hues and strong health-boosting properties).
Now you know everything about this scary funky purple soup, 100% natural and with many health benefits. One more thing you probably wonder about: does it really taste good? You’ll be surprised: it is indeed scary-yummy! The sweet potatoes are always a magical ingredient to me, and they do their job beautifully here, giving the soup a smooth velvet texture and a sweet comforting taste.
- 1 purple cauliflower, florets
- 2 large purple sweet potatoes*
- 4 medium purple carrots
- 3-4 cups water (+ more as needed)
- ¼ cup cream
- ½ tsp nutmeg, ground
- ¼ tsp cloves, ground
- Salt & pepper
- 3 tbsp extra virgin oil
- 2 tbsp thyme, fresh
- Peel and chop purple sweet potatoes and carrots into about 1-inch chunks.
- Place them in a large pot together with the cauliflower florets, a pinch of salt, and cover with 3 to 4 cups water.
- Add to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until vegetables are fork tender.
- Using a blender, mix the vegetables with the vegetable stock from the cooking.
- Return the soup to the pot, add the cream, and season with ground black pepper, nutmeg and cloves. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring well and adjusting the seasoning as needed. If the soup is too thick, add more water until desired consistency.
- Drizzle some extra virgin olive on top, and garnish with fresh thyme.