A Rich and Flavorful Recipe for Cream-less Cauliflower Soup

On one of my recent trips to Whole Foods, I picked up a copy of The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Recipes and Reviews 2011. I flipped through the magazine quickly while waiting in line and then quickly decided to buy a copy. So far, I’ve made the Healthy Skillet Chicken Pot Pie (time consuming but well worth the effort) and the Lighter Cauliflower Soup, a recipe so easy, so delicious, and so family friendly, that I had no choice but to blog about it!

I live in New England, so it goes without saying that steamy bowls of soup, chili, and stew are on my menu at least once a week. This recipe, which, in Meal Makeover Mom fashion, I tweaked a bit (more on that in a moment), will definitely become a regular at my house.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who loves soup. Today, Kristen at Dine and Dish and Cheryl at TidyMom are hosting Soup-a-Palooza — a celebration of soup — with the following sponsors: Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers.

Roasting the cauliflower florets and onions at 450 degrees brings out their natural sweetness.

The America’s Test Kitchen recipe for Lighter Cauliflower Soup is “lighter” because it calls for half and half instead of the usual heavy cream. I made it even lighter by switching to 1% low-fat milk. Since admittedly some of the creaminess was lost when I made the swap, I topped each satisfying bowlful with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese. The family’s verdict: This recipe is a keeper!

Notice the empty bowl in Simon’s hands. (By the way, it was Superbowl Sunday the first time I made this soup … which is why Simon is sitting on the couch and not at the dinner table)!

Cream-less Cauliflower Soup

Makes 5 Servings (1 generous cup each)

This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. Serve for lunch with a sandwich or as an appetizer with dinner.

  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch florets (about 6 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3½ cups all-natural chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk *
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, optional
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Toss the cauliflower, onion, 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl, then spread the mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the cauliflower is softened and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

3. Combine the roasted vegetables and remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is very soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover, stir in the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Stir in the wine and bay leaf and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

5. Working in several batches, process the cauliflower mixture in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a clean saucepan, stir in the milk, and cook over low heat until hot.

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste, ladle into bowls, and sprinkle each portion with some of the chives as desired and the Parmesan cheese to taste.

* For a dairy-free soup, you can substitute the milk with rice or soy milk, or you can leave it out. For the Parmesan cheese, switch to a dairy-free cheese or simply omit it from the recipe.

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Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, packed with vitamin C. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin K — good for bone health — as well as heart-healthy folate and fiber. One cup has just 25 calories!

9 responses to “A Rich and Flavorful Recipe for Cream-less Cauliflower Soup”

  1. Alison says:

    What about using skim milk? I don’t keep 1% in the house and don’t want to buy it for just 1/2 cup. Do you think it would significantly effect the taste/texture?

    • Liz says:

      Skim milk should be just fine. My husband definitely said it was even better with the grated Parmesan, so I’d definitely enjoy the Parm on top!

  2. Coming over from Soup-a-Palooza to check out this recipe… the “cream-less” caught my attention due to some food sensitivities. Looks like we can easily adapt this with rice milk and leave out the cheese to be better suited for the sensitivities when we need to! Sounds yummy and I love finding new cauliflower recipes.

    Also want to invite you to participate in Foodie Friday. This Friday is our first one.

    Thanks for this recipe…. can’t wait to try it!

  3. Amanda says:

    I am going to try this. Roasted cauliflower with a little cumin sprinkled on top as become a favorite. I think this may be a winner. We are dairy free so I will sub the milk with some rice milk and hold off on the cheese and it still should be a winner.

  4. Hi. I’m on the hunt for some yummy healthy recipes, so this version of cauliflower soup has caught my eye. Thanks for posting it!

  5. Julie Lindstrom says:

    This looks really yummy and I can’t wait to try it. I was wondering if there is nutritional info available…I have to watch the carbs (diabetic). I would imagine there’s not many! Thanks for posting.

  6. Hi Julie, we just analyzed this recipe and assuming each person uses 1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese, each serving provides 120 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated), 480mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g protein, 110% vitamin C, and 10% calcium. Enjoy!

  7. Suzanne Hiaker says:

    This is for dinner tonight!! Yum!! I also added some cilantro and celery…I can’t wait to try it!

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