One of my favorite vegetables meets my most favorite bean meets bacon, which needs no introduction, in this quick and easy soup recipe. When I laid eyes on the biggest head of cauliflower I’ve ever seen in my life I knew right away it was destined for my soup pot. The place where the transformation of the bland, odorous cauliflower into a creamy, flavorful, satisfying soup takes place. Where the ‘magic’ happens. Maybe you’re shaking your head right now. Maybe you don’t believe. Maybe you doubt a transformation such as this can take place. Maybe you don’t appreciate cauliflower the way I do. Then maybe, just maybe I can change your mind.
Fresh cauliflower florets, mild-mannered cannelini beans and salty, smoky bacon come together to make up the brunt of this simple soup. It begins like most of my soups do, with sauteing onion and garlic in a large soup pot along with Italian seasonings to bring out their flavor, to which the florets, broth, milk, beans, and bacon are added. A quick simmer until tender and a little spin of the blender is all it takes to turn this soup into a comforting and delicious meal. That, along with a little pat of butter and a sprinkle of cheese. Crucial elements to the magic. And the way to your heart, your I-never-knew-I-loved cauliflower, ever-changing, believing heart!
White Bean, Cauliflower and Bacon Soup
1 large onion, diced
Olive oil for sauteing
sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
8-9 cups cauliflower florets
28 ounces vegetable or chicken broth
2 (14 ounce) cans Cannelini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 bay leaf
6-8 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
butter, for serving
Parmesan, shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese, for serving
1. In a large soup or stock pot saute onion in enough olive oil to thinly cover bottom of pan over medium-low heat until translucent and tender. Season well with salt and pepper. Add garlic and Italian seasoning, saute until garlic is fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Add cauliflower, broth, beans, milk, onion powder, bay leaf and bacon. Bring to a simmer and cook until cauliflower is tender about 20 – 25 minutes. Taste and season as needed halfway through and again at the end. Turn off heat and allow to cool to warm.
3. In a blender carefully puree 3-4 cups of the soup placing a kitchen towel over the lid and holding down so the steam can’t blow the lid off. Return the pureed soup to the pot and bring back up to a simmer. Remove bay leaf.
4. Serve with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of Parmesan, shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese.