I am often asked how I come up with my weekly menus. The answer is a variety of sources: Ingredients in my fridge to use before they spoil (e.g. cilantro, leftover coconut milk); what’s in season and is a good price at the supermarket or farmers markets; the theme for the monthly Recipe ReDux or a recipe contest I want to enter; recipes I find online that inspire me. So a couple of weeks ago when I found cauliflower on sale at ShopRite, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to get this vitamin C-rich vegetable, but wasn’t so keen on making a side dish of roasted cauliflower again (although it’s a family fave!). While at the supermarket I thought about making a roasted cauliflower soup, but knew that I would want something with it to add some pizzaz. I did a quick Google search to get some inspiration, and one of the first results was for EA Stewart’s Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto.
EA is a fellow registered dietitian and Recipe ReDuxer and the author of The Spicy RD blog. I had some different ideas for my soup, but EA’s pesto sounded amazing and like the perfect garnish for the soup. (Plus, I had lots of pistachios leftover from the Pistachio Health Institute Recipe ReDux contest.) I also loved that I would be able to make a recipe from someone who I know and socialize with over Twitter and various social media sites! I made a couple of changes to EA’s Pistachio Harissa Pesto recipe, one in particular was using sriracha instead of red pepper flakes, which I knew would make my husband happy – it’s his latest obsession!
For the Soup:
- 2 heads cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 3 to 4 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks (about 1 1/2 cup total)
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 quarts low-sodium vegetable or no-chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper or white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the Pistachio Harissa Pesto (adapted from The Spicy RD, EA Stewart):
- 1/2 cup canned or boxed chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, or more if you prefer it spicier
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Red pepper flakes for garnish, optional
For the Soup:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss cauliflower and parsnips with 2 tablespoons olive oil and spread on a large foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking time.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high. Add onions and sauté 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds more.
- Transfer roasted cauliflower and parsnips to the pot. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and, in batches, carefully transfer soup to blender or food processor. Puree until well-blended and no chunks remain.
- Return pureed soup to the pot, add 2 cups water and the remaining soup ingredients. Simmer until soup is to desired consistency and heated throughout.
For the Pistachio Harissa Pesto:
- Place all the pesto ingredients (except for red pepper flakes) in food processor and belnd until it’s a smooth consistency.
- Serve Roasted Cauliflower Soup topped with Pistachio Harissa Pesto. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes.
What inspires your menus?