Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn

By Amanda Paa – Updated October 22, 2021
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If you grew up in the Midwest, chances are you’ve had a bowl of Wisconsin beer cheese soup topped with popcorn.

I vividly remember my mom making it for dinner parties and people raving, the popcorn adding a gourmet touch. Fast forward twenty years and I was set to host a few girlfriends for an afternoon of catching up.

Playing off the beer cheese soup memories, I made this Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Popcorn – gluten free, vegan and the ultimate comfort food. The smooth, velvety texture of the soup is a dream!

Creamy Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn

Have you ever tried soaking nuts and blending them to replace heavy cream or cheese?

Not only does it increase their nutritional content, but they make a creamier soup than cream ever will, especially cashews.

The texture is silky, but not thin, giving it a wonderful mouthfeel.

Creamy Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn

If you’re on Instagram you’ve probably seen a few pictures of me noshing on Quinn popcorn. It’s a snacking staple around here, especially when entertaining, and many times my single lady dinner paired with a glass of wine. Their Olive Oil and Herb flavor is one of my favorites and happened to go just perfectly with this soup. It’s light and bright, a great match for the puree of roasted cauliflower and garlic. I was fascinated with Quinn’s concept the first time I had a bag. They are so incredibly passionate and transparent about where their ingredients come from, with a simple mission to clean up a simple snack for people like you and me.

I had shied away from buying microwave popcorn after learning about the chemicals & toxic ingredients used in classic Orville Redenbacher or the like. But it’s back in my life thanks to Quinn. You won’t find anything scary in their products – from the Pure Pop Bag, (compostable and made from paper that’s pressed to make it grease proof) to their amazing flavors.

Non-GMO and organic corn, no preservatives or artificial ingredients. The cheeses are rBGH-free (they have a hickory smoked cheddar, as well as parmesan & rosemary flavors). Their butter is real. The maple in their kettle corn version comes from Vermont.

Creamy Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn

As cooler weather approaches and we retreat indoors to enjoy good food and each other’s company, this creamy cashew cauliflower soup is one that everyone can enjoy.

You can make it a day ahead of time, popping the corn a few minutes before guests arrive, filling the house with that classic, comforting smell.

More Roasted Cauliflower Recipes:

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Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn (vegan)

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn

Soaked cashews make this roasted cauliflower soup a creamy delight, without dairy! Garlic is roasted with the cauliflower, adding great flavor. Top with herbs and popcorn, and enjoy the contrasting textures!
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Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Amanda Paa



  • 1 large head of cauliflower, about 2 1/2 pounds once cored
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled & cut in half
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews + 1/4 teaspoon salt, soaked in 1/2 cups filtered water for 8 hours
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Quinn Popcorn for topping (you can find it at Target or Whole Foods)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower into small florets. Add cauliflower and garlic to a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir, then add salt and stir again to coat. Spread onto two large sheet pans and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and celery, cooking for 5 minutes until translucent.
  • Add cashews, including the water they have soaked in, and broth, then bring to a simmer. When cauliflower and garlic are finished cooking, add to stock pot.
  • Simmer for additional 5 minutes, then add to a blender in batches. Puree until smooth. Garnish with popcorn.

Did you make this?

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November 3, 2014


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  1. Shawna

    Hi! Excited to try this but need to use plant based popcorn. Do you have suggestions for adapting plain popcorn to also have the herb flavor?

    • Amanda Paa

      You could pop popcorn in coconut oil and toss with italian seasoning!

  2. Lori

    Ooh, what a beautiful and decadently healthy soup! Definitely will have two servings–maybe even three–for a full meal!

  3. Sophie Anderson

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight, and the flavours are absolutely amazing. My only regret is that I didn’t make a double batch!

  4. Whits@amusebouche

    Better than I anticipated! delicious and easy to make.

    • amandapaa

      so glad you liked the recipe!

  5. Rimmy

    a soup could not be better

  6. Kara Mathys @Wellnessgrit

    This cashew cauliflower soup with herb popcorn looks so zesty and tasty! Absolutely love your creative idea! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Bella Hardy

    This is so yummy and interesting Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn. I tried this kind of recipe before but this is unique. Instead of 4 tablespoons olive oil i took 2! Thx for sharing! I will try your variant, Amanda!

  8. Jill Roberts @ WellnessGeeky

    Amanda, I found your post from Pinterest! Thx for sharing! Btw, I’m not a vegetarian but I love cashew. Cashew contains manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium, and of thiamin, vitamin B6 and vitamin K ,Iron, potassium! Thanks a lot for this cashew cauliflower soup with herb popcorn recipe!

  9. Gabi

    Never do I comment to review a recipe after making, but seeing as though I’ve been eating this soup for four nights in a row, I thought it deserved a virtual standing applause.

    I added grilled chicken and it just added that “chunky” effect most soups are missing.

    This soup is FANTASTIC.

    • Amanda Paa

      Gabi – can I tell you how much this comment made my day? It is so satisfying when I hear that my recipes have been enjoyed in someone else’s home. Yay!

  10. Kara

    I made this and it’s really good! Very creamy and comforting. I used 2 tbsp olive oil, chicken broth instead of vegetable broth (that’s what I had and I’m not veg), and didn’t have any popcorn, but yeah, I’m loving this soup.

  11. lovelyplacetobe

    At what point do you add the garlic?

    • Amanda Paa

      Thank you so much for asking this question! I had missed it in the directions :) I’ve now added, but you will roast the garlic with the cauliflower, then add it to the broth. Hope you enjoy the soup!

  12. Alessandra // the foodie teen

    I LOVE the idea of popcorn with soup – you never cease to amaze me with your seriously creative (and delicious!) ideas!

  13. Elizabeth Jarrard RD (@Elizabe

    popcorn in soup?? who woulda thought?? looks amazing. isn’t quinn the best? I can’t stop eating their kale popcorn.

  14. Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen

    Popcorn on soup? I love this idea! I am from Illinois, so I’m not sure how I missed the memo on this – maybe it’s more of a Minnesota/Wisconsin thing? It sounds like a great way to add some texture to a creamy soup. And the soup looks divine, Amanda – I really love the idea of adding creaminess and thickness from cashews.

    p.s. I am a popcorn fiend and can’t wait to try out this brand! I’ll look for it the next time I’m at Whole Foods. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits

    LOVE how creamy and velvety this soup looks! Pinned!

  16. jaime : the briny

    i love soaked cashews in soup. i love cauliflower in soup. this one’s going to have to happen in my kitchen soon! it’s beautiful.

    • Amanda Paa

      jaime, i might be a little biased but i couldn’t get enough of this soup! even though i’m not vegan, it makes me want to stick to soaked cashews instead of cream. xo

  17. Kari@Loaves n Dishes

    Cauliflower is one of my favorite foods, this soup looks perfectly creamy, love the cashews!

    • Amanda Paa

      oh thanks Kari! appreciate you stopping by.

  18. Kim Beaulieu

    This is spectacular. I can’t stop staring at the photos. This just takes soup to the next level.

  19. Lynne

    Love, love, LOVE cashew cream — it’s a staple in our lactose-intolerant house. And this soup looks *divine*!

    • Amanda Paa

      I am definitely going to be using cashew cream more Lynne! Excited to try it in desserts as well.

  20. Jennifer | Bake or Break

    We love Quinn Popcorn! This soup looks so good!

  21. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

    I grew up in Wisconsin, so I know exactly what you are talking about! I love this version even more. I don’t have to only have it once a year :)

  22. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    this is genius. I love the flavors!

  23. Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table

    I have actually topped soup with popcorn before, though I am not from the Midwest. In my case, it was vegan pumpkin soup and I used some Thai chili popcorn from Canadian chain Kernels Popcorn as a topping. It was delicious, but it was mostly brought on by a desperate attempt to save the stale popcorn than a true desire to experiment. Oh well, necessity is the mother of invention!

    • Amanda Paa

      that pumpkin soup with thai chili popcorn sounds divine! i love it when cleaning out the fridge or pantry turns out to be an awesome recipe.

  24. sue/the view from great island

    Wow, I love this post. The soup sounds wonderful, and although I’ve made almond milk, I’ve never tried anything like this in a soup — it sounds fantastic!

    • Amanda Paa

      i’ve never made almond milk – we can flip flop!

  25. Lynn @ Order in the Kitchen

    Wow this looks so delicious and your photos are divine!