Friday, November 30, 2018

Purple Soup

Winter is a good time for soup. It warms your body, and as it simmers it helps to warm (and humidify) your kitchen.

Soup can include almost anything—vegetables, meat, fish, beans, and whatever leftovers are lurking in your fridge.

But this one sneaked up on me. It started when my market had a batch of purple cauliflower recently. I like cauliflower, and the purple kind is so pretty! (I’ve also tried the golden kind, the green kind, and the pointy kind.) So I bought a head.

The next week the market had purple brussels sprouts. I didn’t even know they existed! Purple cabbage, sure, and red cabbage and crinkly cabbage? But colored brussels sprouts? Of course I bought a bag (these came from the Netherlands!).

And then I started thinking . . . What other vegetables are purple? Some carrots are. So are some potatoes (a gorgeous color). Peppers?

Who knew that purple veggies were taking over the world? 

Now I needed a recipe. but that’s the easiest part. It’s not surprising that there are plenty of Irish recipes that rely on potatoes and cabbage. Some recipes call for bacon or ham as well, but I wanted to highlight the vegetables. I didn’t want a recipe that called for cream or milk, because with all the purple ingredients, the milk would probably turn a muddy grey. So I combined a few recipes, and this was the result!

Purple Vegetable Soup

Ingredients: (Note: the amounts of the different ingredients are flexible!)

1 lb cauliflower florets
1 lb brussels sprouts [Note: one recipe called for roasting both of these, by lining a baking sheet with foil, spraying it with oil, laying the vegetables on it, drizzling with oil, then roasting in the bottom third of a preheated 450 degree oven until slightly browned. I can see that this would add a richer flavor to the soup, but I wanted to see how it would taste without this first.]
one half head of cabbage (purple, of course)
3 Tblsp butter
3 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots or one large onion (I used small red onions for color)
3-1/2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth (or more if you need more liquid)
1 lb. purple potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 purple carrots, peeled and sliced
3/4 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter over low heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. 

Add the potatoes and stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add the brussels sprouts and cauliflower (and cabbage if you’re using it). Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

I should add that an even simpler recipe calls for combining all the vegetables plus the olive oil, stock salt and pepper, and simmering about 20 minutes. Then puree in a blender until smooth.

As you can see, this is a very versatile soup (and it takes more time to chop or slice the ingredients than to cook it). And it’s purple!


  1. You have an amazing market! We just have vegetables that are the normal colours in ours.
    Thank you for the soup recipe!

    1. I think our market (Hannaford) is based in Canada, but it's only recently that they've started selling exotic veggies, including nice selections of mushrooms and fresh peppers. And they've got a really good bakery department!

  2. What a great creation! Beautiful and tasty, I bet.

    1. I was happily surprised. The vegetables didn't get all mushy but held their shape, an the flavors worked well together.

  3. My mom and I would love this. We are Sacramento Kings basketball fans, and purple is our team color!