A few years ago, my husband wanted to lose some weight and chose to do so by trying the fad-diet of that time – the Ketogenic diet (aka Keto).*
I wanted to support my husband’s health and weight management in the best way I knew how so I experimented with concocting numerous low carb recipes. The problem, though, was so many of the recipes I found online were ridiculously high in fat and/or dairy, which I knew my body wouldn’t be able to tolerate (I have a lactose sensitivity). Additionally, many of the Keto recipes posted were also bland in taste or funky in texture (which naturally occurs when using alternative types of flour, fats, and/or sweeteners).
The keto diet did help my husband get his weight back to a healthy state and for that, we are grateful! While my whole family is glad that his diet is over, there is one meal from that keto period that has remained in our soup rotation – my Loaded Cauliflower Soup. It has all the flavors of a loaded baked potato soup yet is fewer in carbs and calories. BONUS: it is able to transition into a protein-packed supper for those who are meat and cheese eaters or can be consumed as lighter fare that aligns with a vegan or vegetarian diet. Whichever way you make it, may it become a healthy soup staple in your home as well
Loaded Cauliflower Soup
Prep Time: 15-20 min
Cook Time: about 75 min
Total Time: 90 min
- 1 medium-size white or yellow onion, diced
- 3 large leeks or 5-6 small leeks (use the base part of the leeks, no “leafy” greens), chopped or sliced into “rings”
- 3 large celery stalks, chopped
- 6-8 fat cloves of garlic, minced
- 16 cups of cauliflower florets (about 2 large cauliflower heads or roughly 5lbs), chopped
- 6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock***
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 TBSP chives (dried or fresh)
- 1 TBSP dried parsley
- Optional: ½ – 1 cup of half & half, heavy cream, or dairy-alternative creamer (I use ½ cup of half & half)
- Optional: a sprinkle of celery salt
- Optional Toppings: Sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, red onion, green onion
Let’s do this!
- Over medium heat, add a couple swirls of EVOO to a Dutch Oven or a large stock pot along with the onions, celery, and leeks. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic, stirring to combine.
- Add the stock and the cauliflower florets to the pot, stir. (Note: The stock will not cover all the cauliflower.) Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for about 50-60 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the cauliflower is softened.
- Once the cauliflower is nice and soft, puree the soup by either using an immersion blender or by carefully pureeing the soup (in batches) with a blender or food processor until you reach your desired texture (which could smooth and “creamy” or chunky). If using a blender or food processor, return the soup to the pot.
- Add the bay leaf, chives, and dried parsley to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. (If choosing to use the cream of your choice, add that to the pot as well. Depending on the your preference of thickness or creaminess, add as much or as little cream as you desire. I add ½ cup of half & half.) Cover the pot once again and allow the flavors to come together over low heat, about 8-10 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaf. Taste test to see if you need any more salt or pepper and if the soup is flavored to your liking, ladle it into individual bowls. Serve as-is or with any optional toppings.
* Keto is a diet that is very low in carbs and high in fat and protein, similar to the Atkins diet. The goal of the keto diet is for your body to burn fats instead of carbs through the process of ketosis. There’s a whole science behind it that is quite interesting, though I won’t get into that here 😉
** If you’d like to top the soup with bacon, may I offer you a way to “pump up” the flavor of this soup? Start by frying up however much bacon you intend to use and once it is cooked, reserve 1-2 TBSP of the bacon grease to use in place of the EVOO. Cooking the onion, celery, and leeks in the bacon drippings will add an extra level of “oomph” to the overall flavor of the soup.
*** This recipe can easily be made vegan or vegetarian. If making this recipe vegan or vegetarian and choosing to omit the dairy or a dairy-alternative creamer, I suggest increasing the vegetable stock from 6 cups to 7 cups.