Sunchoke Soup with Cilantro Pesto - Root for you gut!

Sunchoke Soup with Cilantro Pesto - Root for you gut!

  • Healthy Eating

  • Recipes

  • By Desiree Nielsen, Registered Dietitian

    While the science of nutrition can get complicated, eating well couldn’t be simpler. Few people have said it better than when Michael Pollan laid out three very simple ‘rules’ for eating well: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

    April isn’t exactly prime harvest season…so it may not seem like the optimal time to heap your plate with vegetables. For inspiration, look no further than your grandmother’s root cellar! Root vegetables are abundant at this time of year and lend themselves well to cooked dishes, to bring warmth to your body and soul. From the familiar carrot to lesser known kohlrabi and celery root, root veggies are inexpensive and filled with feel-good, nutrient-dense carbohydrates. They are the ultimate antidote to the overly-rich comfort food we crave at this time of year.

    Being the gut geek that I am, one of my personal favourites is the sunchoke. This brown, nobbly little fellow is your tummy’s best friend due to its prebiotic fibre content. The trillions of beneficial bacteria living in your gut get hungry…and they love to munch on prebiotic fibres like inulin. One of the richest known sources of inulin, sunchokes help the beneficial bacteria in your gut thrive.

    The research on prebiotics and beneficial bacteria is pretty extensive, but it comes with a bit of a downside: in order to really begin to change the gut flora with prebiotics alone, you need to get up to doses in the range of 5-20 grams of inulin a day. Even for those without tummy troubles, that much prebiotic fibre can get a little uncomfortable, if you know what I mean!

    In addition, the idea that prebiotics will feed only the beneficial bacteria in the gut may not be 100% accurate. My solution? In addition to working prebiotic-rich foods into an anti-inflammatory, plant-centred diet, bring in the heavy hitters by taking Bio-K+. The 50 billion live beneficial bacteria in each bottle of fresh fermented drinkable probiotic will help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, fight off less desirable bacteria and support the health of your own natural community of happy bugs. This approach promotes gut health in two ways: by setting a pro-digestive dinner table and inviting only the happiest bacterial guests.

    When it’s chilly outside, there is nothing better than a warm, comforting bowl of soup. This richly flavoured treat is perfect after a long day outdoors. It’s simple to make and decadently healthy.

    Sunchoke Soup with Cilantro Pesto

    Serves 4-6
    Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free


    400g sunchokes, peeled and chopped into large cubes. (roughly 2 cups chopped)
    ½ lb cauliflower, chopped
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, skin on
    ½ cup cashews, soaked for four hours and rinsed
    1 tbsp white (shiro) miso
    ½ tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp dried thyme

    1 l vegetable stock

    Cilantro Pesto

    1 cup, lightly packed, cilantro
    ¼ cup raw almonds
    ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
    1/8 tsp salt
    zest of ½ lemon
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    ¼ cup olive oil

    To finish: Original Bio-K+ Fermented  Drinkable Probiotic

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    On a rimmed cookie sheet, toss sunchokes, cauliflower and garlic cloves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 25-30 min until cauliflower is golden at edges, watching carefully after 15 minutes so the garlic cloves don’t overcook. Take them out early if you need to.

    Carefully slip roasted garlic cloves out of skin. Add roasted sunchokes and caulflower to food processor or high speed blender - in 2 batches if necessary - with garlic, cashews and enough stock to cover and puree until smooth.

    Return soup mixture to pot on medium low heat. Stir in remaining stock, miso, thyme, cumin, and season to taste.

    Meanwhile, puree all pesto ingredients together in a food processor or high speed blender.

    Once soup is fully warmed through, ladle into bowls and swirl in a spoonful of the pesto and drizzle with Bio-K+ as a ‘cream’ topper.

    Photo Credit: Melissa Quantz

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    Desiree Nielsen Registered Dietitian
    About the author
    Desiree Nielsen is a registered dietitian, author and host of the vegetarian cooking sshow, The Urban Vegetarian. Desiree takes an evidence-based, integrative approach to her dietetics work, with a focus on anti-inflammatory, plant-centredcentered nutrition and digestive health.
    View all articles by Desiree Nielsen
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