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.
- 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
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.