Rukmini Iyer’s vegan recipe for cauliflower and almond soup with chilli oil and caper twists

This is such a simple but delicious soup, based on one made by my friend Emily years back. The velvety cauliflower soup is a wonderful contrast to the heat of the chilli oil and crispy almonds, with crunchy caper twists to dip. It’s perfect to kick off an evening with friends, or as a warming lunch – and an excellent Veganuary dish. Just use dairy-free puff pastry for the twists, such as Jus-Rol’s from Ocado.

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Cauliflower and almond soup with chilli oil and caper twists

Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
Serves 6

For the soup
1 large cauliflower, cut into medium florets
1.2 litres vegetable stock
Fresh nutmeg
, grated
100g ground almonds
Sea salt flakes
, to taste
1 lemon, juice only

For the caper twists
400g Jus-Rol vegan puff pastry
2 tsp dijon mustard
3 tsp capers
, finely chopped
Big handful parsley, finely chopped

For the chilli oil
50ml olive oil
80g flaked almonds
1 tsp chilli flakes

To serve
Coriander leaves, roughly chopped


For the soup, bring the cauliflower and stock to a boil in a large saucepan with a good grating of fresh nutmeg, and simmer partially covered for 15 minutes until the cauliflower is soft. Add the ground almonds and blitz with a high-speed stick blender until you have a velvety smooth soup. Add salt to taste.

For the caper twists, preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/430F/gas 7. Place the pre-rolled vegan puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out evenly so it’s about 5cm larger on each side, and just under 2mm thick. Spread half of the rectangle with the mustard, then scatter with the capers and parsley. Gently fold the other half of the pastry over the top, press down at the edges, and roll out to 1/3 larger. Cut the folded pastry into 1cm strips, and then gently twist each strip several times before transferring to a lined baking sheet. Continue with the remaining pastry strips (you will need more than one baking sheet), then transfer to the oven to cook for 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

For the chilli oil, heat the oil and flaked almonds in a small frying pan, and fry on a medium to low heat, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes until the almonds are golden brown. Add the chilli flakes, stir, and turn off the heat.

Reheat the soup until bubbling, then add the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the salt once more, then divide into bowls and scatter with the coriander leaves. Add a couple of tablespoons of the chilli oil and almonds to each bowl, and serve with the caper twists on the side.

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