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Creamy Vegan 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 {sexyveggies 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 w/ Pistachio Harissa Pesto//The Spicy RD #glutenfree #vegan

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto

A yummy healthy soup that is nutrient packed and easy to make!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 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; 1/4 cup; plus extra for drizzling on veggies}
  • 4 cups vegetable broth*
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups chopped leeks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt {or to taste}, divided, plus extra for sprinkling on veggies
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes***, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 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


  • 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.
  • For the pesto:Toast cumin seed and caraway seed in a pan over medium heat for ~ 5 minutes. Place tomatoes, pistachio nuts, cilantro, 1/4 cup olive oil, red pepper flakes**, corriander, toasted cumin/caraway seed, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in food processor, and process until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  • To serve: Place 1 1/2 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.


Serving: 11/2 cup soup with 1 tablespoon pesto. | Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 574mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 487IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Entree, Soup
Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Vegan
Keyword easy soup recipe
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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} transpires…

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!

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Let’s Chat!

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

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26 thoughts on “Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto”

  1. 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!

  2. 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 vegetarianmamma.com

  3. 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.

  4. 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 🙂

  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!

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

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