Turmeric—the bright yellow spice that gives curry powder its distinctive color—has become the darling of the food world for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cancer-preventing, and brain-boosting properties…the trick in cooking, though, is finding the right dosage. Too little and it’s just for color, too much and it can taste bitter. When the amount is spot on, however, it can lend a rich, satisfying flavor to the simplest dishes, like a quick cauliflower soup.

I’ve sprinkled this one liberally with black pepper for a couple of reasons. First: Flavor. (Duh!) Second: Black pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric’s main compound (curcurmin), thus enhancing its health benefits.

The pretty potage is luscious on its own, or you can throw in some cooked grains and vegetables (like I did with the cauliflower in the photo) and just like that, you’ve got a meal.

Note: Because there are so few ingredients, the recipe’s success depends upon their quality. If the soup taste’s too bland, try adding more salt or a bouillon cube. You can also throw in a sprig of thyme.

1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
½ small onion or 1 small leek, white part only, chopped
½ tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. ground turmeric
8 oz./200 g./1 ½ cups cauliflower florets
1 medium Yukon gold potato (2 oz./60 g.), peeled and diced
coarsely ground black pepper for garnish, optional

Heat the butter or oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion or leek and a pinch of salt, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic and turmeric, and sauté 1 minute. Add the cauliflower florets, the potato, and 2 ¼ (275 ml.) cups of water, and ½ tsp. salt. Cover, and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower and potato are very soft. Blend in a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender) until smooth. Adjust the seasonings, and serve sprinkled with black pepper, if desired. Makes 3 cups/Serves 2