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 with Asparagus Pesto

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup with Asparagus Pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • for the soup:

  • 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!]
  • ¼-1/2 cup of asparagus pesto [click for recipe or see below]
  • 1 TBSP your favorite healthy oil [olive, coconut, etc...]
  • ½ TBSP [or more!] of dried parsley
  • ¼-1/2 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

  • for the pesto:

  • approx 18 spears of asparagus
  • ½ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts [or walnuts!]
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 fresh cloves of garlic, smashed
  • ¼-1/2 tsp of salt
  • ¼ 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!
Instructions
  1. 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!
  2. Next grab your cauliflower and start the soup!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup w/ Asparagus Pesto
Creamy Cauliflower Soup w/ Asparagus Pesto

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.

Comments

  1. says

    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.

  2. says

    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

  3. says

    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.

  4. says

    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!

  5. jeri says

    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.

  6. says

    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!!

  7. says

    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!

    • says

      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!

  8. says

    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.

  9. says

    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

  10. Elizabeth says

    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 :)

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe:  

CommentLuv badge