Cauliflower tahini soup

At this point, I've settled into the swing of Fall.  It's already October! Things change so fast - we go from sizzling summer days to yellowing leaves seemingly overnight. There's such a huge difference between the whirlwind and buzz of summer and the quietness of Fall.  Each has its own merits and I'm actually happy to transition from one to the other, appreciating each in different ways.
A creamy but creamless cauliflower soup finished with tahini and garnished with toasted pine nuts
So I think it's time to settle down with soup again.  Soup is something I make and enjoy all through the year but when the weather drops, I really start to crave it and think about making it more regularly.  
Recently, I made a creamy but creamless cauliflower soup, that's finished with a spoonful of tahini.  It's a recipe I picked up from a book I read a while back, called Lunch in Paris (it's got a familiar theme of a woman's transition into a new life in Paris; there are many of these books and this was one of the more enjoyable ones I've read).  

It's really ever so simple to make, as soups often turn out to be, making you question why you ever pay unreasonable prices for it outside.  There are just four basic ingredients in this soup: cauliflower, onion, chicken stock, and a bit of tahini/sesame paste stirred in as a finishing touch to add some richness and that little something in the background.
The soup comes out practically snow white (I seasoned it with white pepper).  I topped mine with some toasted pine nuts but you could go with other options like chopped chives, a pinch of paprika, toasted garlic slices, sesame seeds, poppy seeds or maybe some cashews.  The soup may look at little bland and boring but I was scraping my bowl clean with this one.  
Sometimes, the basics are all you need for something delicious and comforting.  I love the sweetness from the onion, the background of chicken stock anchoring the flavor, and the texture and thickness from the cauliflower, which is cooked down and finally pureed into this velvety soup.  This is the time of year when I start pulling out my immersion blender and I'm very grateful to have this handy tool to make soups like this one!


This soup simply starts with a diced onion and a medium-size cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into about 1/2 inch cubes.
Cook the mixture together with some olive oil over medium-heat for a few minutes until vegetables begin to soften but not brown.  Then add about half a cup or so of chicken broth, cover the pot, and let the cauliflower steam for about 20 minutes.  Stir the mixture midway.  

After that time, add about another 4 1/2 cups of chicken stock to the pot (I'd err on the side of a little less liquid since you can always add a bit more at the end if necessary) and bring the soup to a boil.  Then simmer over a low heat for just about 5-10 minutes until the cauliflower is tender (check with a knife or fork).  
Important tip from the recipe: don't over-cook the cauliflower or let it sit simmering away.  It'll turn...well...stinky, and grey.  I know we don't need to test this theory to know it's true; just cook the mixture for another 5-10 minutes and it's sure to be softened enough for the next step, which is to puree it.  
I use my immersion blender and puree the soup until smooth.  Finally, stir in the tahini.  Taste, season with salt, if necessary.  I also added some white pepper.  

At serving time, ladle the soup into bowls and top with toasted pine nuts (or something else you prefer).  You end up with a thoroughly good soup worthy of your Fall table.


Recipe

Creamy Cauliflower and Tahini Soup
Adapted from Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

- Approximately 6 servings - 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
1 medium cauliflower (approx. 2 lbs.), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
Salt and white pepper, for seasoning
Optional topping: toasted pine nuts

In a large dutch oven or stockpot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened but not browned, about 5-7 minutes.  

Add cauliflower and stir to coat.  Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, cover pot, and let steam for 20 minutes, stirring midway.

Add remaining chicken broth (depending on size of your cauliflower, you might want to hold back a bit of the broth, which you can always add at the end if you need to thin out the soup) and bring to a boil.  Then lower the heat and allow soup to simmer for 5-10 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.  Do not overcook the cauliflower, as it will turn grey and smelly.

Remove soup from heat and let cool slightly.  Puree with an immersion blender (or carefully, in several batches, using a blender) until smooth.  Stir in tahini.  Taste, adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper, as necessary.  Serve, topped with toasted pine nuts.





32 comments:

  1. So very creamy and tasty. I really love the add of tahini here.

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    1. Same here...it does a little something special to the soup.

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  2. So creamy! Love the punch from the tahini :)

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    1. It was very tasty and great use for the tahini in the fridge. : )

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  3. This soup looks so creamy and delicious, Monica! The weather got cold and rainy this week so all I've been craving for is soup. I love how few ingredients there are and the tahini sounds amazing in here!

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    1. This is crazy perfect soup weather we're having right now and into the weekend! I've got chocolate cake and Indian butter chicken ready for tonight's dinner but another batch of soup is likely in the works for the weekend.

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  4. I love your idea of using tahini to thicken the soup. Great idea and it looks velvety creamy. Paleo friendly too!

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    1. It was the tahini in the recipe that drew me. It's a fabulous idea that I can't take credit for but I guess I'll take credit for actually making it! ; )

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  5. I love cauliflower Monica - so this soup is speaking my language! And, I love the addition of the pine nuts. They add such great depth of flavor. Nicely done girl! :-)

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    1. A little something on top of "plain" soup like this really steps it up and you can add so many different things. Have a good weekend and thanks!

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  6. I can eat cauliflower in any form, And this a cream-less creamy soup looks so yum. Love that you added a spoonful of tahini. The flavors must be divine.

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    1. It's just got a lovely sweetness under all the savory. Very tasty on a cold night, or whenever! : )

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  7. I have never tried cauliflower soup before. This looks so tasty!

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    1. It's great! Hope you try it and agree.

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  8. How cool to add Tahini to soup! I am also a big fan of soups in the winter and fall. I love to make a big pot on the weekends and have it all week long. I never seem to get tired of soup! This looks so creamy and warm. Perfect for this rainy weekend!

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    1. I wish I could make a pot of soup last all week. We are like not only cookie-monsters but soup monsters. It just seems to disappear! Your soup looked glorious, Tricia. Hope you are enjoying some right now and it's not too stormy.

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  9. We've just moved into fall weather too, and as a result I'm longing for soup. Love the looks of this one!

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    1. I hear you. I'm making some bean and parsley soup later today. Have a great weekend.

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  10. I've definitely settled back into the routine of fall and soups are a regular on our meal rotation again!! This one is totally made for me! I've been roasting lots of cauliflower and drizzling with a tahini sauce so this soup is so happening at our house!!

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    1. Love cauliflower but this was my first using it for soup! Love it. : )

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  11. Monica, this looks absolutely snow white beautiful. Happy October, happy Fall. I really love cauliflower and can eat it any way and a soup, yes please.
    I am going to make this soon, I love the tahini in it. Interesting combo, I can see why it works so well.
    I will be spending the next hour going through your posts, it's been a while. I missed out quite a few. Got a bit distracted with visitors at home for couple of weeks.
    Hope you are doing awesome girlfriend.
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you for stopping by when you can and leaving such lovely comments. It's always appreciated, and just great to hear from you! Hope all is well...busy is good but hope there's also plenty of restful, quiet time too. : )

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  12. Hi Monica, cauliflower soup is one of my favorites, love this recipe. I am ready for everything fall, can't wait to make this.

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    1. Hi Cheri! I have been missing out on cauliflower soup...this was so light yet rich...really nice. Hope you are having a good start to fall thus far.

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  13. This soup is delicious, I love a good cauliflower soup, but with that added tahini? Yes, please!

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    1. I'm learning that stirring a bit of tahini into lots of things leads to deliciousness. : )

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  14. I also love soup this time of the year! I could really go for this right now!

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    1. I know...so chilly and it just seems to happen overnight.

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  15. This sounds so warm and comforting, perfect for the autumn.

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  16. I am so jealous that you can see the changing of the seasons. I remember I was in Boston one year during fall, yellow and red leaves were covering parks. What a scene! I love that! But the trees in my area is still green as they can be. Many will stay that way throughout the year.

    The soup looks very creamy. It is surprising to see tahini in soup. I am very curious what it tastes like. A warm comforting soup is exactly what I need for fall. :)

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    1. The foliage really is very nice...but then reality hits in the form of tons of leaves everywhere and gutters needing to be cleaned...then there will be talk of snow and storms. Yikes. Good thing we have soup to comfort ourselves with. ; )

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