Survivor Soup ♥ Beet, Potato & Cauliflower Soup

Survivor Soup (Beet, Potato & Cauliflower Soup), bright pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month ♥ Weeknight Easy. Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly.
To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a bright pink soup that delights the eyes and soothes the soul. The pink color comes from roasted beets, of course, but the soup's substance comes from baked potatoes plus cooked cauliflower, which makes the soup both lighter and creamier. This recipe dates back to 2005 but "breast cancer survival" resonates strongly with me this year.

Bright-Bright Pink Color. Easy Weeknight Supper. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep.

A Family of Breast Cancer Survivors

My mother was a survivor. Her mother was a survivor. My aunt, who lived well into her 80s, was a survivor too. And with any luck, five and ten years down the road, I shall join their ranks and be able to say, "I'm a breast cancer survivor."

It's Been Quite a Summer

It started with a call from my ob-gyn. "We see something in your mammogram. Someone will call to schedule an ultrasound."

After the ultrasound, a "care counselor" outlined the next steps for my husband and me. Nobody said and we didn't realize until later that our counselor's quiet demeanor meant that the doctors already knew: that something in my mammogram was a tumor. That night, an online report laid out the facts: "There is a tumor of xx size. There's a 95% chance it's cancer." Whew. Hard words to read.

From there? It all runs together.

Biopsy.Aweekendofwaiting,wondering,mentallypreparing.Confirmation.Along appointmentwiththesurgeon.Choosingbetweenalumpectomyandone/twomastectomies.Genetictesting.Lotsofbloodwork.Preppingforsurgery.Momentsoflevity.Ikidyounot,ourdogtangledwithaskunkthenightbeforesurgery.Insteadofgettingagoodnight'ssleepforadarkearlydeparture,wewerewipingthedogdowninsideandout,bathinghimintheshower.Asoliddistraction,that!Theblurofsurgery,thecloudofanasthesia,andblankofthedaysfollowing.Lotsofice,lotsofsleep.Mealsfromfamilyandfriends,themiracleofchocolatebudinofromfriendswhoownarestaurant.Mysister'stendercare,justtherightamountofencouragementandconcern.Aweekendofworrythatasecondsurgerywasneeded,thenthereliefthatitwasn't.Wordthatthecancerhadn'tmovedintothelymphnodes,thereliefthatithadn't.Anopenquestiononchemo,thereliefthatitwasn'tneeded.Sixweekstogetbacktostrength:mynephewandhisdarlingfamilycametokeepmecompany.Myfirsttattoos,tinydotstofocustheradiationtreatments.Increasingtiredness,unendingfatigue.Now,fiveoreventen yearsofhormonetreatments,thechemopilltheycallit.

A Family & a Circle of Survivors

Through it all, it was an assurance, knowing that mine is a family of survivors. And my two friends who, like me, were diagnosed early, are also survivors, they propped me up and coached me week in and week out.

The statistics are frightening. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. ONE IN EIGHT. I think of the thousands of readers of A Veggie Venture. One in eight of you, one in eight of us. And that thought makes me quake in a way my own situation does not. How are you, out there???

But 90% survive the five-year mark, thanks to early detection and treatment. I was long overdue for a mammogram, I'd put it off and put it off.

Frankly, I was lucky that the cancer hadn't far metastasized. And lucky for good doctors, nurses and technicians. And lucky for loving support from my husband, our families, our friends.

Survivor Soup: Itself a Survivor

Way back in 2005, I made a beet 'n' potato soup for a food blogging event marking Breast Cancer Awareness. Frankly, the soup was a mess, a "save" when a beet 'n potato casserole didn't work out. (I eventually nailed the combination, check out the ever-so-gorgeous scalloped beet and potato casserole I call Those Pink Potatoes. I always meant to come back and fix up the soup, but, well, you know, like my mammograms for the last five years, it just didn't happen.

I guess you could say, Survivor Soup is a survivor! Because here it is, in all its glorious breast-cancer awareness pinkness, thanks to a much-appreciated burst of energy ten days after completing radiation. And Survivor Soup definitely deserves a chance at life!

Survivor Soup: Beets + Baked Potato + Cauliflower

What a combination! Those Pink Potatoes are just beets, potatoes, cream and Parmesan.

For Survivor Soup, I wanted something something lighter. So I went with a mix of beets:potato:cauliflower, skipping the cream, skipping the cheese. The cauliflower is key, it adds creaminess in a vegan soup, no cream required.

We couldn't get enough of Survivor Soup, hot the first night and cold the next few days ...

Is Your Mammogram Overdue?

If not yours, what about your sister's mammogram? Your mom's? Your circle of friends. Call to check. Start a buddy system, checking on everybody, asking a few/someone to do it for you too. For me, it was a friend's suspicious mammogram last December that finally got me moving, that and my sister bugging me (thank goodness) until it finally happened in May.


Breast Cancer Statistics from
Breast Cancer Myths & Facts, this one's eye-opening

Just updated. First published way back in 2005.

RECIPE for SURVIVOR SOUP (Roasted Beet & Baked Potato Soup)

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes about 8 cups

Survivor Soup makes up in minutes because it's made from beets, potatoes and cauliflower that are already cooked. So roast a potful of beets, bake some potatoes and cook some cauliflower for dinner a couple of nights, then use the planned-overs to make soup. The amounts of beet, potato and cauliflower can easily vary but aim for about 26 oz/750g total of the three. If you have more/less than that, just use equivalently more/less water.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped

1 large roasted beet (about 300g), roughly chopped
1 large baked potato (about 250g), skin still on, roughly chopped
1/2 a medium head (225g) roasted (or steamed of microwaved) cauliflower
4 cups water
Salt to taste (be generous, I used a full 2 teaspoons kosher salt)

Additional roasted beet, diced small
Sour cream, either plain or thinned slightly with dill pickle juice

DUTCH OVEN Heat a large, heavy pot such a Dutch oven, then add the oil and heat until it's shimmery. Add the onion and let sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden.

BLENDER Meanwhile, working in three or four batches, puré the beet, potato and cauliflower; I like to do each batch with a slightly different texture, one super-smooth, one less smooth, etc.

VARIATIONS A little carrot or even apple would make for a sweeter soup. No cauliflower? Use more potato or perhaps fennel or celery, even turnip.

ONE-POT ROASTING I roasted three large beets, 2 large baked potatoes and the head of cauliflower in the same pot at the same time! It's an adaptation of My Favorite Way to Roast Beets. I rubbed the beets and potatoes with a little olive oil, then put the beets on the bottom, stacked the potatoes on top, then added big florets of cauliflower. At 375F/190C, the cauliflower took about 90 minutes, the beets and potato a full 2 hours. All hands off! Do let the beets and potatoes cool for about 30 minutes before making the soup.

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005, 2019 (repub) & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. hooray for 'survivor soup' and for veggie venture. (i must admit my first thought was 'reality tv' -- and that's scary, since i don't even watch television). cheers. glad to know you're sharing your food ventures

  2. Hi Alanna,

    Nice save! My much loved potato soup recipe orginated from a similar cooking mishap, and I've since decided that accidental discoveries make the best dishes. Your picture of the soup is wonderful...I love the little ribbon!

    Thanks for participating!

  3. Great entry! The look sof it and the thought behind it! I definitely am trying this recipe!

  4. Dear Alanna- sending you much love and hugs from Georgia. Good luck with surviving and thriving after all you have been through.

    1. Thank you, dear friend ... you are missed!

  5. My love potato soup recipe. originated from a similar cooking mishap. and the soup is wonderful...I love this.

  6. Dear Alanna Wishes for a full recovery from Saskatchewan Canada, This fall my friends and I had our mammograms, one of us has a lump. We "circled the wagon" in support. Please know that your followers have a virtually circled the wagon around you in support. Jane

    1. Jane ~ Your kind support means the world and I’m warmed to hear that you/your friends are keep track of one another and “circling the wagons” ... that’s a term we use in my family as well. I feel the virtual wagon ...

  7. Alanna, I have been with you so long in this amazing veggie experience that you are like family. I have learned so much from you! And since you have the tenacity to keep this project going, I believe you can accomplish anything. Blessings!

    Leonora(a long time ago you told me you liked my name and that meant a lot to me)

  8. This page was meant for me today. My cancer diagnosis was three months ago, and I am not doing well. This from a "super achiever" who has always been blessed. I am 88+ years old, and my well-meaning family and friends remind me that I have had a good life -- but I want more. I have had three bouts of chemo and three months of horrible stomach problems; I have ruined the carpeting in the house with surprise "accidents" and am ashamed to have visitors see the mess. I scheduled a carpet cleaning for yesterday and had to cancel when I had another accident. I walk with a walker (balance issues), and by the time I feel the rush coming, I have to struggle to my feet, take hold of the walker, and try to walk quickly -- I am not doing well. A friend suggested yesterday that I concentrate on "quality of life" and not continue treatment. I admit it is tempting. My doctor is talking surgery -- I am terrified. Your story is encouraging and the survivor soup sounds wonderful. Forgive me for writing to you; I can't really talk to my family. They all expect me to fight -- Please say a prayer for me.

    1. Dear Sister, I'm so sorry for your troubles and oh how much I wish I could make a big pot of soup and sit down with you. Cancer is so so complicated and it sounds as if you're feeling very alone. I'm tempted to share my father's wisdom, "This too shall pass" but oh, the "this" for you now, it's so much to bear. I hope you reach out to just one friend/one family member, someone you can trust to just really listen to you, if you ask them to. I'm sending you all the strongest of strengths , whatever path you choose. ~AK

    2. Oh my dear Anon, I'm thinking of you today. I'm sorry you're not doing well, and so very glad you shared your struggles. Sending you strength and wishing you peace.

    3. I am so sorry to hear this, dear. Holding space for you and sending you a virtual hug. You are by no means alone. Joining an online support group for people with your type of cancer would connect you to people in your exact situation. For what it's worth, used Depends after childbirth, my best friend for Crohns, my mother after uterine prolapse, my late grandfather for prostate cancer. In my eyes, it isn't a shame, it's a medical condition and it provides good piece of mind. One day (or hour) at a time. (Out of the box suggestion but a guided therapeutic psychedelic session with a professional in a controlled setting has helped many in your shoes.)


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna