If you grew up in the Midwest, chances are you’ve had a bowl of Wisconsin beer cheese soup topped with popcorn. I vividly remember my mom making it for dinner parties and people raving, the popcorn adding a gourmet touch. Fast forward twenty years and I was set to host a few girlfriends for an afternoon of catching up.
Playing off the beer cheese soup memories, I made this Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn – gluten free, vegan and packed with flavor. And the velvety texture….. it’s a dream.
Have you ever tried soaking nuts and blending them to replace heavy cream or cheese? Not only does it increase their nutritional content, but they make a creamier soup than cream ever will, especially cashews. The texture is silky, but not thin, giving it a wonderful mouthfeel. I find that cream only adds richness, not body.
If you’re on Instagram you’ve probably seen a few pictures of me noshing on Quinn popcorn. It’s a snacking staple around here, especially when entertaining, and many times my single lady dinner paired with a glass of wine. Their Olive Oil and Herb flavor is one of my favorites and happened to go just perfectly with this soup. It’s light and bright, a great match for the puree of roasted cauliflower and garlic.
I was fascinated with Quinn’s concept the first time I had a bag. They are so incredibly passionate and transparent about where their ingredients come from, with a simple mission to clean up a simple snack for people like you and me.
I had shied away from buying microwave popcorn after learning about the chemicals & toxic ingredients used in classic Orville Redenbacher or the like. You can read more about it here. But it’s back in my life thanks to Quinn. You won’t find anything scary in their products – from the Pure Pop Bag, (compostable and made from paper that’s pressed to make it grease proof) to their amazing flavors.
Non-GMO and organic corn, no preservatives or artificial ingredients. The cheeses are rBGH-free (they have a hickory smoked cheddar, as well as parmesan & rosemary flavors). Their butter is real. The maple in their kettle corn version comes from Vermont. They give you cold-pressed sunflower seed or extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on the hot kernels. How much better can it get?
They have taken so many steps to reinvent microwave popcorn, I could go on and on. I’ve been wanting to tell you about their story for quite awhile because we share the same passion, inspiring others to know where their food comes from. It’s not only important for our health, but also the transparency between consumers & food companies.
As cooler weather approaches and we retreat indoors to enjoy good food and each other’s company, this creamy cashew cauliflower soup is one that everyone can enjoy. You can make it a day ahead of time, popping the corn a few minutes before guests arrive, filling the house with that classic, comforting smell.
And for a fun appetizer bar, set out different flavors so people can make their own mixes. Or throw together a blend of the Hickory Smoked Cheddar, pretzels and pepita seeds. Such an easy, savory snack that both kids and adults will enjoy.
Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn
1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds once cored)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & cut in half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced celery
3/4 cup raw cashews + 1/4 teaspoon salt, soaked in 1/2 cups filtered water for 8 hours
5 cups of vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Quinn Olive Oil & Herb Popcorn for topping (you can find it at Target or Whole Foods)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower into small florets. Add cauliflower and garlic to a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir, then add salt and stir again to coat. Spread onto two large sheet pans and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and celery, cooking for 5 minutes until translucent. Add cashews (including water they have soaked in) and broth, then bring to a simmer. When cauliflower and garlic are finished cooking, add to stock pot. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add to a blender in batches. Puree until smooth. Garnish with popcorn.
*I was not paid by Quinn Popcorn to write this post, only some samples to play around with for recipe creation. I love their product and company mission so much that I wanted to introduce you! My pantry always has a few boxes on hand, and I hope you give them a try soon.