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Negative Calorie Roasted Asparagus and Cauliflower Soup


Negative Calorie Roasted Asparagus and Cauliflower Soup

I heard this theory of negative calories foods about a year ago. And while this idea would be a dream come true, I’m not actually convinced of it’s validity.

The theory is that some food cost your body more energy in calories to consume and digest than the food actually contains.

Take celery for instance. A stock of celery is 5 calories, but between chewing, swallowing and digesting, it takes 15 calories to actually eat a  stalk of celery, for a net loss of 10 calories. Now, if celery could just taste better, and not like, well, celery, than we’d be all set. Clearly, this theory doesn’t apply to French fries.

On the list of “Negative Calorie Foods” are:


-Beet Root







-Hot Chili




-Green Beans


























While this theory has been widely discredited, there is no arguing with the fact that this is an incredible list of foods. If more than half of your diet was pulled from the above list, and the rest of your diet was “sensible” you would never have to diet again and those skinny jeans would be yours.

I did a bit of a test of my own. I made a batch of this soup and ate it for lunch every day for a week.

I lost 2 lbs. Which is a lot for me, given that I have a BMI of 20.6.

That doesn’t really prove anything. Other than the fact that a low calorie vegan soup is a good route to take when looking to drop those holiday pounds. Believe the theory or not, this is still a fantastic list of healthy foods.

Even if this soup isn’t “Negative Calorie,” it still only has 78 calories per serving.


Negative Calorie Roasted Asparagus and Cauliflower Soup


  • 2 lbs chopped cauliflower (about 8 cups)
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus stalks, trimmed
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • yield: 6 cups


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place asparagus and cauliflower on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes or until asparagus is fork tender and the cauliflower has started to brown.
  3. Add broth to a large pot, add asparagus and cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables have started to break down. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add the seasonings, adjust to taste.

Negative Calorie Roasted Asparagus and Cauliflower Soup

47 Responses to Negative Calorie Roasted Asparagus and Cauliflower Soup

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks January 15, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    I love asparagus and cauli.

    I also love chocolate and browned butter and heavy cream. So the soup is a keeper!

    • Jackie January 15, 2013 at 7:22 am #

      ME too! Its all about balance, right?

  2. ROR January 15, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    I fell in love with roasted cauliflower soup this winter, so I can’t wait to try yours! That’s a seriously impressive list of supposedly neg cal foods… I got kind of excited reading it. 🙂 I think I’ll try your soup for a week, I’m all about bringing lunches to work!

  3. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche January 15, 2013 at 5:03 am #

    Looks delish! I love asparagus.

    (btw you’ve missed the cauliflower off the ingredients list 🙂 )

    • Jackie January 15, 2013 at 7:23 am #

      You’re the best! I cut and pasted from a word doc, I must not have grabbed the first line. Thanks! I fixed it 🙂

  4. chinmayie @ love food eat January 15, 2013 at 5:22 am #

    This theory is new to me. I am not a calorie counting person but almost every item in the list sounds delicious 🙂

  5. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious January 15, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    Interesting theories and experiments…ah who cares I just want the soup!!! 🙂

  6. claire @ the realistic nutritionist January 15, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    This soup looks amazing, but I’m with you, I’m not sure it’s negative calorie 🙂 haha! But yum anyway!

  7. Jen @ Savory Simple January 15, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    Your list includes my favorite veggies! I will definitely have to try this gorgeous soup. I could use some negative calories right now.

    • Jackie January 15, 2013 at 7:24 am #

      Why can’t pizza and chocolate be on that list? And martinis and cheese and…

  8. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies January 15, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    I totally need negative calorie soup. And negative calorie everything. Pinned this!

  9. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet January 15, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Wow! I knew about the celery but nothing about the rest. This soup looks like a comfort in a bowl! I love roasted veggies so I am sure this soups is amazing!

  10. Laura January 15, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    I’m down with this concept. Nothing beats good veggies. Especially roasted veggies, which just that that super-intensified flavor!

  11. Liz January 15, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Even if this didn’t make me lose weight, I’d be happy to eat your yummy soup every day for lunch! It sounds amazing!!!

  12. Julie @ Table for Two January 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    ummm I’m printing that list and eating a bunch of stuff off it. i would love to have negative calorie foods haha

  13. Cassie | Bake Your Day January 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    That is quite the list of negative calorie foods. I love this soup too. I’ve been living on soup lately!

  14. Coreen January 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    Reminds me of subtraction soup from The Phantom Tollbooth. I can’t wait to try it!

  15. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. January 15, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    I love the idea of negative calories! I would eat these foods all day long, lol. True or not, this soup looks delish!

  16. Violet January 16, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    The calories burned by chewing is negligible. Calories burned by digestion might make some foods have “negative calories” when they’re raw and take more work to digest, but cooking and pureeing those veggies surely negatives that effect. Still, the soup sounds yummy!

    • Jackie January 16, 2013 at 9:07 am #

      Don’t I WISH chewing burned a bunch of calories! I think overall, it’s an interesting theory and you’re right mostly applies to raw, ice cold food. But either way, it’s a great list of foods to keep front and center in your diet!

  17. Violet January 16, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    I recommend the book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham if you’re interested in how modifying foods affects their calorie-availability!

    • Jackie January 16, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Thanks for the recommendation! I always find food history so interesting.

  18. Dina January 16, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    i’d like some of this soup. it looks healing!

  19. zosia January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    keep dreaming that there is such thing as negative calories haha

  20. betsy bowman January 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    I’m still struggling to lose weight but I think i could eat more of those foods and itmight help. worth a try, they are all good.

  21. ashley - baker by nature January 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    I made a few batches of vegan soup last week and have been doing the same thing – soup everyday for lunch – and while I haven’t weighed myself, I totally feel it slimming me up. Plus, it tastes great, so I don’t dread eating it. Totally bookmarking this one, Jackie! Can’t wait to try.

  22. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious January 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    I’m all for negative-calorie foods! Bring on the soup – I’ll have 2 bowls, please.

  23. brad January 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    For a low calorie soup, not bad! will make again, but i’ll probably add cream, even though it would be vegan like you want

  24. Allison Day January 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    This soup sounds tasty, healthy, and easy. It’s a triple-threat!

    P.S. It’s totally a negative calorie dish. Just dance around the kitchen for the 20 minutes it takes the veggies to roast, and voila – you burn more calories making it than you gain from eating it! 😀

  25. Jeanne January 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Made this recipe and love it! It wasn’t getting blended enough with the immersion blender so I put it into the Blendtec and added some spinach leaves (uncooked) to my individual serving and blended it on the soup setting–absolutely delicious. I think if you added spinach to the whole thing it would end up turning brown, so did it for just the individual serving–so delicious. Thanks!

    • Jackie January 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

      YAY! I’m glad you like it 🙂 I really liked it too, especially since it was under 80 calories, hard to beat that!

  26. anita menon January 22, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    hearty looking soup. Love the sound of baked cauliflower…

  27. K-bobo @ Gormandize with A-dizzle & K-bobo February 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    This soup looks delicious! Although, I think that by cooking the vegetables and puréeing them into soup you have cancelled out any negative calorie potential – as you’re not chewing up or digesting raw vegetables you are really burning very little calories as you eat this. I think that the reason you lost weight is because this would be a very low calorie option with no carbs or sugar.

    • Jackie February 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      I agree! I’m not totally sold on the idea of negative calorie foods in the first place, but I think it’s biggest potential is with very cold raw foods. But no matter how you eat them, these are all really great foods 🙂

  28. Jen February 5, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    This information is completely incorrect. The energy required to digest a foodstuff Is calculated and factored into the calorific value that gets given to the food. Negative calorie foods don’t exist.

    • Jackie February 5, 2013 at 7:09 am #

      Ladies and gentleman, this is what happens when you don’t read the entire post!

  29. a farmer in the dell February 7, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    this sounds absolutely divine and cleansing!

  30. Nicole March 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Has anyone actually tried to make this recipe yet? I just finished making it and I failed:( I followed all of the instructions but my final result is more like mush than the creamy velvetty soup that is pictured – any suggestions?

    • Jackie March 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

      I’ve had several people make it and report good results. Do you think it could be your blender? Maybe try some more broth?

  31. Isabella July 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Hi Jackie,

    do you think I can freeze the soup? I am the only one in the house that likes cauliflower, but I am not sure I will to have the same soup for a week. LOL

  32. Leslie January 20, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

    Made a similar soup without the asparagus, and I used the cauliflower water instead of vegetable broth and seasoned with above seasonings and a 1/4 tsp. of thyme. So delicious!!

  33. Donna February 12, 2015 at 6:32 am #

    I made this last night for dinner. I absolutely loved it and so did my husband. I have shared the recipe with some friends to try! This is a keeper.


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