Hearty Cauliflower Soup with Sausage and Pesto

Hi, my name is Eitan Bernath, and I love cauliflower! It was the first vegetable I ever liked as a kid, to my parent’s absolute delight. My go-to way of making it is: roasted until it’s golden brown and crispy, and then drizzling with tahini straight out of the oven (and for the record, this preparation literally always slaps). That said, I am trying to find new ways of incorporating veggies into my meals, so I set out to make a soup with my favorite vegetable that’s as easy as it is delicious. This soup comes together in under an hour, but has deep, rich flavor, as if it’s been simmering on the stove all day long.

This recipe starts by rendering the fat from hot Italian sausage, so you start with tons of flavor from the first step. Then, leeks and LOTS of garlic are caramelized together, and then the star of the show – the cauliflower – finally joins the party. I add potatoes as well to give the soup some heft, and then the entire thing is blended up into a vegetal, hearty, flavor packed soup. I top it all off with pesto, which adds just the right amount of fresh, herbaceousness and acidity. This soup is perfect for lunch or dinner, weekly meal preppers, and it freezes well, so you can make it days or weeks in advance of when you need it! My family is a BIG Soup Family, so I know you’ll love this one as much as we do!

1. Caramelized Veggie Tips

The secret to perfect caramelized veggies is patience. They have to be cooked low and slow so that the sugars slowly caramelize rather than burn! If you see your leeks starting to get too dark, turn the heat down and add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan to slow the cooking process down.

2. Potatoes in a Cauliflower Soup?

It may sound strange to add a competing vegetable to the cauliflower, but the potatoes are essential for the creamy texture and heartiness of this soup.

3. Pesto!

I don’t think most home cooks think about topping their soups with anything, but it’s a super easy way to make a one-bowl meal even more delicious. This pesto comes together in a few minutes in a food processor, and it enhances every flavor of the soup perfectly.

Hearty Cauliflower Soup with Sausage and Pesto

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 -8 people
Calories 505.88 kcal


For the Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 hot Italian sausages diced
  • 1 leek white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 head garlic 10-12 cloves, chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 head cauliflower about 6 cups, cut into large florets
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato cut into 1 inch cubes

For the Pesto

  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste


For the Soup

  • In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add sausage and saute for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon, leaving behind any excess oil, and transfer to a small bowl.
  • Into the same pot over medium low heat, add leeks and garlic. Cook for 15 minutes, or until they begin to brown and caramelize. Season with oregano, red pepper flakes, then cook for another minute, stirring to combine.
  • Pour chicken stock into the pot, along with cauliflower and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, or until cauliflower and potatoes are fork tender.
  • Carefully transfer the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour back into the pot and taste then adjust with salt and pepper.

For the Pesto

  • Pulse the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. With the food processor running, stream in olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Taste, then season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Process one more time until combined. Set aside until ready to serve.

For Serving

  • Ladle evenly into 4-6 bowls and top with cooked sausage and a drizzle of pesto.
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