When I went out to walk the dog this morning, I noticed that our basil plants were not too happy about our overnight cold snap. The purple opal ones were particularly droopy, and since the weather’s only going to get colder, I knew I needed to use them soon. I’d already frozen as much basil as my fridge could hold back in the summer, so I started thinking of warm, winter dishes that I could use a whole bunch of basil in. I’d made a wonderful Provençal Bean and Vegetable Soup with Pesto back in April, but I was hoping to make something a lot simpler than that, something I could whip up quickly for lunch. Something creamy.
And this potentially addictive soup is what I came up with. It’s warm and creamy but somehow tastes like summer. And it’s purple! Who could ask for more on a chilly day in November?
Purple Pesto Soup
Obviously, it’s purple because of the variety of basil I used, but it would be just as delicious with regular basil.
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups hot water
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 cups (or 1 15-ounce can) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup purple basil leaves, firmly packed (or use green)
1 tablespoon cashew butter (or try almond butter or tahini) *
white pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
additional garlic, to taste
Sauté the onion in a non-stick pan until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute more. Add the hot water and cauliflower, reduce heat, and cover. Cook until the cauliflower is completely tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the basil and cashew butter. Use a hand blender to puree the soup until it is completely smooth. (Alternately, put the soup in batches into a regular blender and blend smooth; return soup to the pot.) Add white pepper and salt to taste and add additional garlic if desired.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 154 Calories (kcal); 3 g Total Fat; (14% calories from fat); 10 g Protein; 26 g Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 54 mg Sodium; 9 g Fiber
*Note: The cashew butter contributes a lot to the creaminess and the flavor, but leave it out if you prefer your soup to be lower in fat.