Cauliflower soup is like a hug in a bowl, with its silky texture and mild creaminess enveloping you in warmth and comfort. As winter approaches (all too rapidly) I crave foods that warm and nourish me from within, and this creamy cauliflower soup with kale pesto and rye breadcrumbs does just that. Make yourself a pot and cozy up with a bowl (or two).
Cauliflower will never be a replacement for rice or pizza crust for me. No offense to those who believe it is a miracle stand-in for all carbohydrates. I do love it when used more traditionally in soups or curries or simply roasted (especially in this salad), but it can often fall flat in terms of flavor. This recipe averts that misfortune with the additions of lemon and a zippy kale pesto swirled in before serving. You could certainly use store-bought pesto or prep the pesto in advance to streamline the prep. Potatoes add a bit of substance to the soup and half and half or cashew cream enhances the creaminess. The result is a simple yet nuanced soup with perfectly balanced flavor and texture. Speaking of texture, those rye breadcrumbs add that crunch factor I crave to contrast pureed soups. They are more like a hybrid crouton-breadcrumb. You can use any type of bread you wish, but the flavor of rye pairs nicely with the soup here.
Are you feeling that pre-holiday jolt of anxiety yet? Somehow it’s mid-November and we’ve reached that point in the year where time seems to speed up and pressure to fit everything in mounts. In an effort to simplify this season and actually enjoy it, I’m trying to get ahead of the holiday hustle by slowly getting some shopping done over the next two weeks, prepping meal components on the weekends to lean on during the week and generally not taking on too much or taking the holidays too seriously. And keeping food simple — like this soup. Serve it with more bread, a big salad and maybe some cheese, and you’ve got yourself a winner of a meal.
Stay cozy! Xo Maggie
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 sprig each thyme and rosemary
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2lb whole), cored and cut into 1 inch florets
- 4 medium yukon gold potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled and diced
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup half and half or cashew cream — see note
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
- 3 large handfuls of kale (about 3 large stalks, stems removed)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pinch freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 slices rye bread, roughly torn and crumbled into pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add garlic and cook for a minute more, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add potatoes, cauliflower, thyme and rosemary sprigs, another pinch of salt and pepper and the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot and cook until cauliflower and potatoes are tender — about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon zest, juice and half and half (or cashew cream). To puree the soup, use an immersion blender straight in the pot or transfer the mixture to a blender, taking care to vent the lid to allow steam to escape. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Place toasted walnuts, kale, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parmesan in a food processor or blender. Pulse until a coarse mixture forms. With the processor/blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until smooth.
- Toast the breadcrumbs. Place torn bread onto a baking sheet. Toss with the olive oil and toast for approximately 15 minutes, until nicely browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and toss with freshly grated parmesan (optional) and a small pinch of salt.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with a dollop of pesto (gently swirling it with a spoon for a pretty effect) and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Some fresh parsley and more lemon zest is a nice touch, too. Serve with extra breadcrumbs and pesto. Enjoy!
For a dairy-free option, replace the half and half with cashew cream. Cashew cream was a revelation when I had to go dairy-free for a year, and I still like to use it for its ultra-creamy consistency. To make, soak 1/2 cup raw cashews in boiling water for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Drain and place in a high-speed blender with 1/4 cup water and a pinch of salt. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency.