Cauliflower soup as alternative to potato soup

Guest post by Cindy Whitt

I discovered cauliflower soup when I was looking for a healthier alternative to one of my go-to winter meals, potato soup. Potatoes are usually found at the bottom of the list of healthiest produce. They have more calories and carbohydrates than most vegetables, and although they’re packed with vitamins, they tend to be prepared in unhealthy ways — mashed potatoes with butter, baked potatoes with sour cream, or my favorite, potato soup made with whole milk and topped with cheese.

Cauliflower has fewer calories than potatoes, so using it as a substitute drops the total caloric content of your soup by three quarters. Calories aside, it also has fewer carbohydrates than potatoes, so the soup doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and ready for a nap afterwards. Plus, it’s good for people who can’t have dairy because you don’t need milk. Vegans can swap out the butter and stock for their preferred substitute.

The only caveat: you need to like the taste of cauliflower. Potatoes are flavorless, so they’re generally more accepted by veggie haters. You probably won’t fool anyone by passing this off as potato soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 14.5 oz. can of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cheese, optional

Instructions:

Put the butter, onion and garlic in the bottom of a large saucepan over low heat and cook until the onions are clear. Chop your head of cauliflower into small pieces. (Discard the stem and leaves.) Dump the florets into the pan with the can of broth and a can of water. Add more water to cover the top of the cauliflower, if needed. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for about 10 minutes. When it’s tender enough to mash with your spoon, it’s done.

Take it off the heat and let cool a bit because you’re going to turn that cauliflower into soup with the blender. You have to be careful when processing hot liquid in a blender because it expands and the pressure could pop the top off. I do it in batches and only fill up the jar halfway. I also cover the top with a potholder and keep a firm grip on it while I’m blending.

I like some chunks in my soup, so I scoop out about 3/4 cup of the cauliflower into a separate dish beforehand. If you want creamy, smooth soup, you can blend all of it.

Pour half of your cooled cauliflower and liquid into the blender, cover it with the top and a potholder, and process until it’s smooth. Pour the first batch into a bowl, and then do the same with the remaining soup. Pour all of it back into your pot and add the reserved cauliflower. (If you have an immersion blender, you can blend your soup that way and not have to play musical bowls.)

Heat it back up, if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add other herbs, depending on your preferences. If you want, you can dress it up like loaded baked potato soup with cheese, bacon bits and sour cream.

It makes about four bowls, or enough for two.

Comments on Cauliflower soup as alternative to potato soup

  1. Potato soup is one of my comfort foods that I eat when I don’t want anything else, like when I’m sick.

    I’m kind of comme-ci comme-ca about cauliflower but I think my major issues with it may concern texture rather than taste. So perhaps a nice smooth soup with flavourful stock might be just the thing.

    • Actually, the texture is the same as potato soup once you blend it. I was a little hesitant about it at first, too.

  2. It’s funny that this was posted today because I’m making some tonight. I’m kind of addicted.

  3. Amazing! I’ve heard of using mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes, but I’d never thought of using it in other potato recipes.

    • I didn’t like mashed cauliflower when I tried to make it. The texture was weird, kind of like what Sheila mentioned. I didn’t use a blender/mixer, though. I might have to try it again and do that.

  4. I’ve taken to making cauliflower mash whenever I’m craving mash potatoes..they’re just as tasty in my opinion and they need much less butter/salt to taste nice so healthier all around! but yeah a food processor is pretty much required.

  5. In terms of getting the dairy out of creamy soups, Mollie Katzen, author of the Moosewood cookbook, has this great potato soup recipe that uses silken tofu to make it creamy.

    http://www.molliekatzen.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipe=potato_soup

    I imagine it would easy to adjust it to use other veggies instead.

    I made this for Mr. Ivriniel recently when he was recovering from a bad bout of Norwalk virus, and was sick to death of broth.

  6. I LOVE this. I use cauliflower in place of potatoes in other recipes, I don’t know why I never thought of soup!

    Also, I heart your plates. So cute!

  7. How is cauliflower in terms of vitamins? Does it have some of the same vitamins as potatos or just less carbs and calories?

    • I think cauliflower has more vitamin K & C than potatoes, but potatoes have more of the B vitamins. They’re about the same on potassium. (I googled it and found a couple of breakdowns of the two, so don’t quote me on it!)
      My biggest thing is that the combo of the carbs in potatoes and the milk (and cheese sometimes) makes me feel too full and icky afterwards so the cauliflower is a nice change. But I still love some potato soup..

  8. I realize I am (a couple of years) late to the party, but I only just now saw this post!
    I Love soup, and since spring seems to have turned into fall over here this will be perfect!
    On a completely different note, my first tattoo (on the inside of my right wrist) matches this plate perfectly!!! I don’t know why, but for some reason that made me very happy :p !

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