Loaded Cauliflower Soup
I know I’ve said it a thousand times but, just in case you forgot, my two favorite ingredients to any dish are bacon and cheese. So it’s no surprise that I’ll eat anything that’s “loaded.” Loaded fries, loaded potato skins and even loaded soup.
Loaded potato soup, or simply baked potato soup, is a popular soup that’s not only comforting but brimming with familiar flavors. I’ve made loaded potato soup several times, both on the stove and in a slow cooker. In fact, Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, has one of my favorite recipes.
I’ve been trying to eat better this year, while not limiting myself to bland meals like baked chicken and broccoli. I took to Pinterest to find a healthier alternative to my favorite potato soup. After a few scrolls, I came across Iowa Girl Eats. She is a mom and blogger who shares her healthy, family-friendly recipes. She offered a low-carb alternative to baked potato soup using cauliflower.
Cauliflower and I have just recently begun a relationship. I now love making whipped cauliflower and even using cauliflower rice in my lunch bowls. I thought this recipe would be the perfect way to indulge in more cauliflower, while still enjoying the components of loaded/baked potato soup that I love so much.
Click here for Iowa Girl Eats’ recipe for Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder.
Iowa Girl Eats’ recipe was simple and features great images that helped follow the recipe. There’s even a video! If you plan to make this soup, definitely click the link above. I decided to make a few changes to the recipe, so if you want to take a few short cuts, follow my lead.
I started by cooking the bacon and adding the onion, celery and garlic to the pot, just as the recipe calls for. Instead of dicing celery and onion, I cheated. I bought precut onions and grabbed some chopped celery from the salad bar at the grocery store. This is a lazy/savvy hack that saves a bit of time, energy and tears (when it comes to the onions).
Another way I saved some time was by buying riced cauliflower. I don’t have a food processor and there’s only so much my Magic Bullet can do. Riced cauliflower took the work out of breaking down the cauliflower into fine bits. You can find it with the rest of the produce in any grocery store. I buy mine at Kroger and Trader Joe’s.
Once the vegetables were tender in the fragrant bacon grease, I continued to follow the recipe by steaming it, then adding milk and chicken broth to the pot. I skipped the step of adding the chicken broth-flour mixture. This is supposed to help thicken the soup, but I did not want the consistency to be too thick. I’ve had issues with this in the past, then my soup comes out like grits. Yikes.
My personal tip for thickening soup involves blending some of the ingredients. With a slotted spoon, I removed about ¾ of the vegetables from the pot and put them into my Magic Bullet. I blended the ingredients for less than 10 seconds to get a light, whipped texture. I then added the mixture back into the pot to simmer, following the rest of the recipe.
This is a great way to give your soup more body. Just be careful adding hot ingredients to an enclosed blender. Due to combustion and science things, it can cause your blender to explode. I recommend using a tall blender that has an opening at the top. That way the hot air can escape. Let’s be honest, no one has time to wait for those ingredients to cool, so just be smart when you blend.
While my plating (or bowling, if you will) was not as pretty as Iowa Girl’s, the end result was just as delicious. This luscious, creamy soup was a great, healthy alternative. While I did eat most of my bacon before putting it back in the pot, cooking the vegetables in the bacon grease kept that smoky flavor in the soup.
I cut the recipe in half and was able to make about two-and-a-half bowls of soup. I would also like to take this time to shout out my Grandmama for getting me that soup bowl. I can successfully call this recipe a Pinterest win!