Cauliflower Soup with Hazelnut and Mint Pesto

Cauliflower Soup with Hazelnut and Mint Pesto
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Soup has to be one of my favourite dishes. It is the ultimate in one pot cooking and you can create such a variety of flavours that it really lends itself to experimenting with ingredients. Whilst some only consider soup to be a winter dish I enjoy it all year round from hearty soups in winter to hot and sour Thai soups in Summer, I always think that there is a soup for every season. For this recipe I have created a creamy and soothing soup packed full of flavour with a delicious pesto dressing to add texture and crunch. It is perfect for January, being light and delicate and will be gentle on the stomach after the over indulgences of the Christmas season.

Whilst soups are incredibly easy to make you do need to take some care with the cooking process to make sure you get the most out of your ingredients. It is all too easy for the “throw it all in” method to go wrong and muddy the flavours of great ingredients. To make sure that you understand the basics of soup cookery you can take a look at my article on How to Make the Perfect Paleo Soup to get some ideas as to how to get started.

When it comes to soup, especially with Paleo bread on the side, what we really want is something simple, creamy and comforting. Cauliflower is often overlooked as a standalone ingredient but its soft pale countenance translates into a gentle soup perfectly. Don’t overcook it; you want it soft enough to puree but if you leave it cooking for too long the flavour will become stewed. I have served it with a simple hazelnut and mint pesto type swirl that goes beautifully with the cauliflower, but you could just as easily miss this out if you prefer. Almond milk gives a lovely creamy aspect, but you could use chicken stock for a more savoury rounded flavour.

When making the pesto you can use a blender for a finer consistency or chop by hand for a thicker more rustic dressing.

Cauliflower Soup with Hazelnut and Mint Pesto 

Cauliflower Soup with Hazelnut and Mint Pesto

Servings: 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, in florets

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

Flaked sea salt

1 bay leaf

1 pinch turmeric

750ml almond milk or chicken stock

For the pesto

1 bunch mint, leaves only and finely chopped

3 tbsp hazelnuts, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion with a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook gently for a minute or so, without browning the onion, and then add the cauliflower.
  3. Cover, and steam for about 10 minutes making sure that the ingredients do not brown.
  4. Add the bay leaf and the turmeric.
  5. Pour in the almond milk (or stock if using) and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender soft.
  6. Check your seasoning; a teaspoon of mustard and plenty of freshly ground pepper can be good here. Blitz to a smooth puree.
  7. Mix the ingredients for the pesto together and swirl into the hot soup.
  8. Serve with my Paleo seed bread.

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