Recipe ReDux: Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto

Creamy Cauliflower Soup w/ Pistachio Harissa Pesto//The Spicy RD #glutenfree #veganCreamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto

When it comes to fashion, a trend setter {or follower}I most certainly am not {thank goodness Miss SiSi, my hip girl, keeps me in style somewhat in style}, but when it comes to discovering “hot” new foods, game on!

So, naturally, I was thrilled to see that this month’s Recipe ReDux Theme  is “A Trend in Every Pot.”

We love reading predictions for what will be hot this year on restaurant menus and in supermarkets. Pick your favorite ‘new’ food trend, and add it to a pot. Take a trend and use it in a soup, stew, one-pot meal or Crock Pot recipe to warm up readers (or perhaps use a chilled pot if it’s currently summer in your part of the globe.) Thanks to Meg’s Food Reality for the theme suggestion of “Soups!

After checking out Compilation of 2013 Food Trend Predictions by Janet Helm at Nutrition Unplugged, along with a few other “2013 Food Trends” posts, I knew I had to use {sexy} veggies center stage as the main course, and that my sexy veggie would be cauliflower {one of the new “it” veggies}, since I realized up until now, I haven’t had any caulifower recipes on the blog.  Shame, shame on me, when it’s such a nutritious veggie too {think detox support, antioxidant booster, and potential cancer and heart disease preventative.}

Cauliflower//The Spicy RDDo you think cauliflower is a sexy veggie??? 

I’m not really sure, but I do think leeks are…

Chopped Leeks//The Spicy RDAnd, just in case you’re wondering, some other food trends to smile about for 2013 include “tea as the new coffee” {Don’t worry my beloved cup-o-joe, even though I like tea too, I will NEVER give you up.  Pinky swear.}; popcorn; and Middle Eastern Cuisine~something I’d definitely love to try more of this year!

Back to my cauliflower one pot/soup/stew creation though…

Over the past couple of weeks, after pinning this yummy green harissa pesto with smashed potatoes and this gorgeous fire roasted harissa, I’ve had my chops set on making my own version of this beloved North African hot sauce, and I thought a spicy pistachio pesto harissa would pair deliciously with a creamy cauliflower soup.

Oh, boy, did it ever! 

Here’s the naturally gluten-free and vegan recipe

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 9 cups of soup and 1 cup pesto.
  • 1 head cauliflower, stem removed and cut up {~5 cups}
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut up {~3 cups}
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Olive Oil, divided {1 Tablespoon; ¼ cup; plus extra for drizzling on veggies}
  • 4 cups vegetable broth*
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups chopped leeks
  • 1½ teaspoons salt {or to taste},divided, plus extra for sprinkling on veggies
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes***
  • ½ cup shelled pistachio nuts, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes**, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon ground corriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  1. For the Soup:Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven is heating, prep cauliflower and potatoes, then place them, along with garlic cloves, on a foil lined baking sheet, and drizzle olive oil/sprinkle salt on top. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. While veggies are roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat, in a large soup pot. Add chopped leeks, and cook until wilted, ~2 minutes. Add broth, water, and 1 teaspoon salt to pot with leeks. Heat to a boil, then turn heat down, and simmer while potatoes and cauliflower are roasting. Add roasted veggies to soup pot and cook for 5 minutes more, then CAREFULLY place veggies/stock in a blender {do this in batches} and blend until well pureed.
  2. For the pesto:Toast cumin seed and caraway seed in a pan over medium heat for ~ 5 minutes. Place tomatoes, pistachio nuts, cilantro, ¼ cup olive oil, red pepper flakes**, corriander, toasted cumin/caraway seed, and ½ teaspoon salt in food processor, and process until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  3. To serve: Place 1½ cups soup in a bowl, then top with 1 tablespoon pesto. Garnish with red pepper flakes, pistachio nuts, and cilantro. Tastes best with pesto stirred in to soup, for a nice spicy, and aromatic kick!
Veggie Broth~My favorite brand is Imagine "No Chicken" organic broth.
*One tablespoon red pepper flakes adds quite a kick. If you like your food less spicy, experiment with using less.
***I used Pomi brand chopped tomatoes for the pesto.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½ cup soup with 1 tablespoon pesto.

Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower//The Spicy RDRoasting cauliflower and potatoes, brings out their natural sweetness…

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto//The Spicy RDStir the pesto in to the soup before eating and something magical {and spicy} transponds…

Pistachio Harissa Pesto//The Spicy RDYou will have leftover Pistachio Harissa Pesto to enjoy later…Maybe as a spread on a grilled veggie or chicken sandwich…or as a Super Bowl Sunday dip for crackers, pita, or raw veggies…Oh-so-yum!

Are you a trend setter {or follower}?  What 2013 food trends are you most excited about?  Do you like cauliflower? What are you doing/serving/eating for Super Bowl Sunday???

Before you go, be sure and check out all the other healthy and delicious soups, stews, and one-pot meals posted by my fellow ReDuxers!

I love hearing from you! Please click here to join the conversation. And, if you enjoyed the post, I’d love it {and truly appreciate it!} if you stumble, tweet, pin, or share the post.



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  1. One best cauliflower soups I have seen in a long time! Beautiful clicks!

  2. Love the harissa! That is highly original 😀 I will have to try this as I have all the ingredients. Funnily enough just this morning (night time for you a whole 8 time zones away!) I posted about not only soup (Love Your Greens soup) but also food trend. Weird, huh? But of course I was much more snarky and sneery about following trends. I’m so mean! I am pleased that middle Eastern has been promoted, as well as cauliflower. I love cauliflower, and have two massive specimens sitting in my freezing conservatory (it is, this month, my giant walk-in freezer). Lovely soup to do one of them justice.

    • LO! Love your friendly snark Kellie~I can’t imagine one mean bone in your body at all 🙂 Heading over to check your Love your Greens soup right now. I know it will be delish!

  3. This soup looks just incredible!
    Is it just me or has cauliflower been in the spotlight lately…cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and now this soup! I love all the fun ways to use up this veggie!

    • Thanks so much Kristen! And, no, you are not imagining it…cauliflower definitely started trending late 2012. Lots of cauliflower recipes popping up on Pinterest, including a silky cauliflower puree {which my husband also loved and he’s not a huge cauliflower fan} and cauliflower/parmesan breadsticks~definitely on my list to make!

  4. I love cauliflower and often make a cauliflower mash.

    Your soup sounds wonderful! Love the addition of the pesto!

  5. This is such a gorgeous and delicious looking soup!! I find the addition of pistachio quite intriguing. I like to add nuts to recipes, but I’ve never added pistachios before. I’ve also never heard of harissa before either. I’m def going to make the pesto. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks so much Min! The addition of the nuts to the soup was a last minute decision, mainly to make it look prettier 🙂 This was my first time making a pistachio pesto and it really turned out to be delicious with just a hint of sweetness!

  6. I would say this is sexy soup. I love cauliflower as trendy sort of like if comfy sweats were cool, if only.

  7. i don’t think cauliflower are sexy…maybe it’s coz i don’t really like the way they taste…lol. but, i might change my mind after dining on this soup coz it looks wonderful 🙂

  8. So glad to see the make-your-own harissa! I was scratching my head wondering where I’d get it. Fantastic photos with this post, too!

  9. Bernadette says:

    Yet another delicious recipe. Thanks so much for sharing will be making this for dinner tonight. It is like -23 below with wind chill today so thanks for sharing the warm yummy for my tummy. I never heard of Harissa and I am happy to have learned something new as I always do with your post. Thanks, thanks, thanks.

  10. I definitely think cauliflower is sexy, it’s one of my favorites and so versatile.

  11. See, I’m with you – leeks sexy, cauliflower not so much. But dang is this sure a sexy soup!! Adore the pistachio harissa pesto, too – so many possibilites with that!

  12. EA this looks wonderful!!

    I can’t wait to see how the cauliflower trend plays out, but I’m already loving all the recipes I’m seeing. It’s a veggie that’s way overdue for a makeover 🙂

  13. Love the harissa and what a great idea to for cauliflower! You ARE a spicy RD!! 😉

  14. I’m not sure I’ve EVER seen a more gorgeous photo of a bowl of soup!! The colors and the food styling are a treat to behold! Love the whimsickle shot of leeks too! The soup and pesto of course look drlicious

  15. I don’t even know what to say … Your soup is breathtaking!

  16. Wow, your recipes always amaze me. The soup looks fantastic! What beautiful and tasty ingredients! YUM
    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!

    See you at the link up this week! We are having a special giveaway this week! Its a tote bag filled with some Gluten Free Allergy Friendly goodies!

    Cindy from

  17. You always have the most innovative, delicious-looking recipes and this soup is no exception! It looks SO good to me – wish I could have a bowl right now!

  18. Ea–Spicy RD,
    I found your post via Google+. Great recipe–I pinned it on my Salads and Soups board.
    Just to let you know–your link does not work on the G+ post. I had to go about it the long way to find the post/recipe. It’s a beauty by the way!

  19. EA, I’m making roasted cauliflower parsnip soup tonight and your pistachio harissa pesto is exactly what I need to “spice” it up! Thank you for the inspiration!


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