Cauliflower Soup with Spinach Pesto

Adapted from recipe by Heidi Swanson in

Serves 4


For the pesto:

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves

4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese (I used a pecorino sardo)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

flaky sea salt

For the soup:

3 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic

1 leek

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 large potato, peeled and chopped

1 cauliflower, cut into small florets

5 cups vegetable stock

1/3 cup cream

flaky sea salt

To make the pesto, put the sunflower seeds, spinach, garlic and salt into food processor and pulse until the leaves and nuts start to break down. Then leaving the motor running, begin to add the oil in a steady stream until you have a smooth paste. Remove to a bowl, stir in the grated pecorino, taste and add a little more salt if necessary. Set aside.

To make the soup, begin by heating the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, leek, and red pepper flakes and saute for a few minutes until the garlic and leek have begun to soften. Add the potato pieces and cauliflower florets, and saute for another 2 or 3 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Remove from the heat, and puree using an immersion blender. Stir in the cream and season to taste with the flaky sea salt.

Serve in individual bowls, finished with a big dollop of the pesto.