Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Creamy Potato Spring Vegetable Soup with Sunflower Seed Pesto Croutons

If you like to cook with fresh seasonal ingredients, the early months of spring can be a bit frustrating. Scouring the markets usually only turn up the last of winter's root vegetables.

This in between seasons soup uses a potato cream base that's hearty and adds early spring vegetables, lie asparagus and cauliflower to brighten up the flavor. 

For a little extra sunshine, I made sunflower pesto out of sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil and fresh parsley and baked it onto cubed multigrain bread for croutons.

You can lighten the soup's calories up by substituting any version of milk you prefer or  Half and Half for the heavy cream. 

Creamy Potato Spring Vegetable Soup
 with Sunflower Seed Pesto
Prep Time: 25 minutes 
Cook Time: 60 minutes 

Yield: Serves 4 


For the Sunflower Seed Pesto Croutons: 2 slices of multi-grain bread.

  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 -4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Kosher salt and pepper to taste
For the Soup:
  • 1lb ounces of potatoes 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 4 medium sized carrots
  • 10-12 baby asparagus spears 1/4 cup chopped scallions 
  • 1+ 1/2 cup raw cauliflower 
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper 1 cup heavy cream 
  • Fresh parsley sprig for garnish (optional) 

Make the Sunflower Seed Pesto Croutons: 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. 
  • Cut the multigrain bread slices into large cubes 
  • Place the raw sunflower seeds, olive oil, parsley into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Use a small knife to spread the pesto onto the bread cubes and place on the prepared baking sheet. 
  • Place in the oven and bake for 10 -15 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven and set aside. 

Make the Creamy Potato Spring Vegetable Soup:
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into small pieces. 
  • Chop the carrots, asparagus spears and cauliflower into small pieces. 
  • In a pot, over medium heat, melt the unsalted butter. 
  • Add the potato pieces and stir to coat them with the butter. 
  • Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  • Add the scallions to the pot and cook, stirring frequently until the scallions soften. 
  • Add the rest of the vegetables to the pot and stir to combine everything together. 
  • Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. 
  • Cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. 
  • Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the vegetables until they are completely soft. About 20 minutes, 
  • Add the heavy cream to the pot. Stir to combine the liquids together. Cook for another 5 minutes. 
  • Use a hand mixer to partially puree the mixture. Leave some of the vegetable pieces intact for color and texture. Alternately, transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse, until the mixture is partially pureed then return the mixture to the pot. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. Let cook for another 5 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat. Divide the soup among four soup bowls. 
  • Place a few of the sunflower seed pesto croutons on top of each bowl of soup, garnish with fresh parsley, if desired and serve.

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