06 December 2012

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup with Asparagus Pesto

My soup obsession runneth over.  Part of me is convinced that it's the cold weather beckoning me to make pot after pot of hot steamy comfort food but, honestly, I'm 99% certain that it has everything to do with my extreme winter laziness.  If I make a giant batch of soup on the weekend then for the next four days or so, all I have to do is reheat a bowl and pour it into my face.  It's too easy.  And let's not get started on the arsenal building in my freezer right now.  Soup is everywhere in this kitchen.  In the fridge, the freezer, and my belly.  Just not in the pantry.  I vowed that this year any and all soups that enter the vicinity of my face will be homemade =)  No salty, processed soups here!

Creamy Cauliflower Soup w/ Asparagus Pesto
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup w/ Asparagus Pesto

what's in it?
1 head of cauliflower
1 white/yellow onion, chopped to yield 1 cup
1 large russet potato [optional but delicious!] peeled and diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5-2 cups of vegetable stock
1.5 cups [12 oz] of evaporated milk [heavy cream or half +half will work in a pinch!]
1/4-1/2 cup of asparagus pesto [click for recipe or see below]
1 TBSP your favorite healthy oil [olive, coconut, etc...]
1/2 TBSP [or more!] of dried parsley
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
2 cranks of freshly ground black pepper
a few ounces of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano or peccorino romano cheese
Garnish with dried parsley and red pepper flakes

yields about 5 cups of soup <3



asparagus pesto
approx 18 spears of asparagus
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts [or walnuts!]
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4-1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste


Any homemade or store-bought pesto will work, but the asparagus pesto?  Flipping delicious. Use the leftover pesto for topping pasta, paninis, flatbread pizzas, and even swirled into quiche.  It's also freezer-friendly!

Ready? =)

get cooking!
First whip up your pesto.  Lightly blanch the asparagus [directions] and chill with icy cold water or a dip in a ice bath.  Add asparagus along with olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, parm, salt, pepper, basil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and pulse gently.  Scrape the runaway bits off the side and pulse again until incorporated.  Viola!  Pesto!

Next grab your cauliflower and start the soup!
Creamy Cauliflower Soup w/ Asparagus Pesto

Clean, trim, and separate your cauliflower into large florets. [click here for a visual of the process]  Blanch  diced potato and cauliflower chunks for approx 15-20 minutes in shallow, boiling water.  I'm in the habit of seasoning the water with some freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of kosher salt -- feel free to follow suit!  Once the cauliflower is tender, remove from heat and strain in a colander.  Halt the cooking process by rinsing with ice cold water or plunging florets in a bowl of ice water.

While your veggies are boiling, saute [or caramelize!] your onions with a tablespoon or so of your favorite healthy oil, adding the garlic towards the end to prevent burning.  Add the cauliflower, potato, onion, and garlic to your blender or food processor and puree.

Grab a large pot and add your pureed cauliflower mixture to a cup and a half of vegetable stock.  Heat to medium-high, stirring frequently and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Once heated, reduce to low and add your evaporated milk and stir.  If you'd like to thin the soup at this point, feel free to add an extra half cup of veggie stock.  I like left mine thick!  Next step?  Season to taste.  I added a pinch of salt, a crank of cracked black pepper, a half-tablespoon of  parsley and and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.  You'll be adding pesto at the end which will deliver a huge boost of garlicky flavor -- don't worry if the soup tastes a bit plain at this point.  Stir for another minute or so [until its nice and HOT!] and then remove from the burner.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup w/ Asparagus Pesto

Top with a heaping spoonful or two of gorgeous green asparagus pesto and a small mountain of freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese.  Garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley for a pop of color.  When it's time to dig in, swirl your toppings into the soup and have at it.

Planning for leftovers?  This reheats like. a. champ.

so... how was it?
Let's chat for a second, shall we?  I love my twice-baked cauliflower potatoes.  I love my caramelized onion and roasted garlic mashed cauliflower.  So by default I should pretty much love this soup, right?  Obviously.   However, the amount of love I have for this hot, sexy, steamy bowl of soup is unreal.  It exceeded my expectations!

Originally when I sketched out the plans for this soup I wasn't convinced it would even prove edible.  I've never actually had cauliflower soup before.  I immediately worried I might hate it, and texted my recipe wench for input.  To say she encouraged the experiment would probably be putting it lightly.  I think I may have heard her scream "YES!" all the way from NYC.  Though that's not a new word for her.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup w/ Asparagus Pesto

I'm so so SO glad I took a chance on this one.  It's officially now my favorite way to eat cauliflower on the planet.  Though if I were to eat it on the moon I might prefer it to be covered in frosting and sprinkles or something equally fancy.  I'm getting ahead of myself here.  It's good.  Really good.

The swirl of pesto gives the cauliflower base a foodie flair, and delivers a garlicky punch of flavor that compliments without overpowering.  So stir in some pesto, a pinch or two of of peppery parm or romano cheese, and a sprinkle of parsley and red pepper flakes and prepare to swoon with every bite.

What's your favorite way to eat cauliflower?
Please don't say you dislike it [try it again!] or that you really do want it with frosting and sprinkles.  I might need to have you committed.

Pin It!

40 comments:

  1. Soup and chili... pretty sure that's all that awaits me next week, too... :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mmmm.... Sounds delicious!! I shared with my Facebook followers ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. By the way... Love your blog!! I grabbed your button to put on my blog ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ha this post is so funny! Your love of soup and cauliflower screams off the page! I make a similar soup with sweet potatoes and curry.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a huge soup lover. I too have it in the fridge, in the freezer and usually in my belly :). This looks lovely. I love the idea of asparagus pesto. Another delicious looking recipe, Jenn.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Jenn,

    This soup looks amazing! I am currently working my way through a batch of chili (also in every place I could think to stash in my kitchen) but when I'm done, I'll come back to you!

    H

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm ADDICTED to soup in the winter! And this one is going on my recipe list! Deee-lish!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Soup is the best, whether it's 100 degrees or 10! Can't wait to give this a try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though when its 100 degrees eating soup requires blasting the AC and drinking iced coffee alongside it. Mandatory =) hehe

      Delete
  9. Oh girl - as soon as I saw this on Instagram, I knew I had to check out the recipe! Sounds absolutely divine!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You know what is fate? These are the groceries I bought yesterday without having any idea the contents of this soup
    asparagus, a yellow onion, garlic, cauliflower, vegetable stock, potatoes

    God wants this soup to be in my belly. Its just that simple.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks so good and I have most of the items in my house. The only thing is I would like to make it creamy without any milk products. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  12. These look awesome! I will add them to my list of things to try :)

    I was wondering, how do you do your Wednesday link up thing? What plug in do you use that allows people to add their blogs? I'd really like to do something similar on my blog on Fridays - please help? Ahigashi22@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I eat cauliflower basically every night, and there's never a great deal of variation in how I prepare it because I am so stuck in my ways. This soup looks like the perfect way to keep eating my favorite vegetable in a different form! The pesto sounds delightful, too!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cauliflower soup is my favorite, hot in the winter and cold in the summer. If you substitute leeks for onions it tastes like vichysoisse on steroids! I can't wait to try it with the asparagus pesto.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yum! This looks so beautiful, festive, comforting and warm! I love those white bowls too!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's like you knew!! I am currently soup obsessed, I heart cauliflower and asparagus, I have an abundance of garlic from my CSA, and a bunch of leftover pinenuts from a batch of pesto awhile back. I am, no joke or exaggeration, making this soup tomorrow. All I need is a white potato and I've already added it to my grocery list. I can't wait to try this! Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'll admit the last time I tried cauliflower soup it wasn't the best, but this sounds great with the pesto. I am addicted to homemade soups (I usually make one weekly) so I definitely need to try this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pesto sets it apart entirely -- it has such a fantastic flavor profile! Hope you try it!

      Delete
  18. Wow this soup looks totally amazing. I'm not a soup person but this may just change my mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can even make it so thick that it's like glorified mashed cauli/potatoes... Then the soup element is gone and its still deeelish!

      Delete
  19. Lebanese fried cauliflower.

    Also? I ADORE the mug and spoon person.

    Also? The princess is on a pesto kick for bulking up.... I've made 4 batches.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That sounds delicious. Is there something I can substitute for the evaporated milk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. absolutely! Heavy cream or Half and Half have a similar thickness so they work really well. You can also use regular milk and thicken with a little butter or cream cheese too! Most other dairy options should work fabulously!

      Delete
  21. Sooo I made this today! Mine is a little browner due to the fact that I caramelized my onions a lot, but it still tastes great! I also made the pesto out of tatsoi (a leafy green closely related to bok choy) and it turned out very interesting! I always thought pesto was very strictly just basil, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, and some seasonings whirred together but I'm quickly finding out that so many other veggies can be pesto-fied.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AHHH YAY!!!! Thanks April! I love how pesto can be made out of anything green! So many options! <3

      Delete
  22. I have never tried cauliflower soup idea. I am looking forward to prepare this weekend and serve my family members.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I really love soup especially in rainy or winter season. I must try this one.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am on the hunt for soup recipes and I really love this one! Cauliflower obsessed!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. These are some of the most beautiful foodie pics that I've EVER seen. I don't know how I missed this post first time round. I would love to try this soup as it's sounds amazing. Just got to work out how to 'veganize' it due to my little dairy allergy ;)
    Hope you have a good weekend Jenn. Take it easy hun xx

    ReplyDelete
  26. Sounds amazing, gonna make this for lunch tomorrow :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have a crazy obsession with soups and am so happy I found this through Pinterest! Planning on making all of these soups they look amazing! Thank you for the inspiration :)

    ReplyDelete