Oct 27, 2016

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup Topped with Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
This roasted garlic cauliflower soup is blended until creamy and topped with a toasted breadcrumb and pancetta topping with pepitas.

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This creamy roasted garlic cauliflower soup is perfect for cooler temperatures. I try to keep an assortment of healthier soups on rotation during fall and winter and I recently added this soup with its deep, delicious flavors to my arsenal.

For this soup I roast the cauliflower to bring out the nutty flavors and then pair it with roasted garlic and just a bit of cream to thicken it. The garlic is roasted until golden brown. It’s milder than raw garlic and it becomes buttery and soft. The caramelized and almost sweet roasted garlic adds depth to salad dressings, mashed potatoes, pastas or in this case, soup.

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup Topped with Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup Topped with Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Cauliflower – For the best tasting soup look for a head of cauliflower that is firm with tight florets and no yellowing. The head is broken down into florets which are first roasted to add more complex flavors to the soup.
  • Garlic – For a tutorial for roasting garlic, check out this video here. The cloves become soft and easily spreadable with a more mellow garlic flavor.
  • Pancetta – Pancetta comes from pork belly and is salted, seasoned, cured and aged for an extended period of time. Pancetta is similar to bacon in flavor though not as smokey. It can be substituted for bacon, speck or guanciale in this recipe. The rendered fat from the pancetta is combined with butter to toast the breadcrumbs.
  • Pepitas – While the pumpkin seeds you remove from the pumpkin are white and thin, pepitas are green and small and while they are indeed pumpkin seeds they only come from certain pumpkins that don’t require shelling, namely oilseed or Styrian pumpkin varieties.
cauliflower and roasted garlic soup

How to Make Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup

For the roasted garlic cauliflower soup:

  1. Heat oven. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Prep garlic. Peel the loose paper away from the heads of the garlic and discard. Trim about ¼” – ½” off the top of the garlic to expose the garlic cloves. Drizzle the garlic with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Wrap the heads of garlic in aluminum foil. 
  3. Toss cauliflower in oil. Toss the cauliflower florets in 2 tablespoons of olive oil then season with salt and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Add the garlic to the pan. 
  4. Roast the garlic and cauliflower. Roast until the cauliflower is tender and the garlic cloves are soft when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Sauté onion. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
  6. Simmer soup. Add the roasted cauliflower, thyme and wine, simmering until the wine has reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, simmering for about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  7. Puree soup. Let cool slightly then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the skin into the soup. Puree the soup in batches using a blender or an immersion blender.
  8. Add cream. Return the soup to the pot and keep over medium-low heat. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a simmer for about 5 minutes. 
  9. Add cheese. Stir in the lemon juice and season with white pepper to taste. Slowly stir in the Parmesan until the cheese is completely combined.

For the crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumb topping:

  1. Cook the pancetta. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Melt butter. Leave about 1 teaspoon of the fat in the pan and turn down the heat to medium-low heat. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt.
  3. Toast breadcrumbs. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan stirring to combine. Let cook, stirring constantly, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  4. Mix with pancetta. Remove to a small mixing bowl and stir together with the pancetta, parsley and pumpkin seeds.

To serve:

  1. Assemble and serve. Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and top with the crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumb topping.
cauliflower soup closeup

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • To make this recipe vegetarian omit the pancetta from the crispy breadcrumb topping and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
  • This soup easily reheats for leftovers or can be frozen in resealable bags for later.
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup Topped with Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs zoom

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this cauliflower soup recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup Topped with Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the roasted garlic cauliflower soup:

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets, about 1½ pounds of florets
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 4 sprigs thyme, tied with twine
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumb topping:

  • ½ cup diced pancetta
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Instructions:

For the roasted garlic cauliflower soup:

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  • Peel the loose paper away from the heads of the garlic and discard. Trim about ¼” – ½” off the top of the garlic to expose the garlic cloves. Drizzle the garlic with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Wrap the heads of garlic in aluminum foil.
  • Toss the cauliflower florets in 2 tablespoons of olive oil then season with salt and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Add the garlic to the pan.
  • Roast until the cauliflower is tender and the garlic cloves are soft when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  • Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the roasted cauliflower, thyme and wine, simmering until the wine has reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, simmering for about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  • Let cool slightly then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the skin into the soup. Puree the soup in batches using a blender or an immersion blender.
  • Return the soup to the pot and keep over medium-low heat. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and season with white pepper to taste. Slowly stir in the Parmesan until the cheese is completely combined.

For the crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumb topping:

  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Leave about 1 teaspoon of the fat in the pan and turn down the heat to medium-low heat. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt.
  • Add the breadcrumbs to the pan stirring to combine. Let cook, stirring constantly, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove to a small mixing bowl and stir together with the pancetta, parsley and pumpkin seeds.

To serve:

  • Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and top with the crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumb topping.

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