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Lighter & Healthier Cauliflower Soup

Pale yellow cauliflower soup in a white bowl, garnished with chopped green onions and bacon.

This Lighter & Healthier Cauliflower Soup is so easy, a little cheesy and now…low carb and gluten free!

I’ve been making this Cauliflower Soup for over 25 years, but I used to add flour, potatoes and carrots. It’s not as cheesy as Pepé, but that’s a good thing. That’s right, I recently modified this soup to be low carb and gluten free. I ditched those high carb ingredients and I also swapped out the cheddar cheese for Gruyere cheese instead. Think of Potatoes Dauphinoise, but with cauliflower instead of potatoes and it’s a soup instead of a casserole.  

Hearty not heavy, so definitely healthier. Ha!

This Cauliflower Soup is hearty, but it’s not heavy. It’s not super thick and loaded with cream or cheese – it has some cream, and some cheese, but not so much that you will feel guilty eating it. It’s a trimmed down and healthier version than the one I always made in the past. Serve with this Bacon, Apple, Walnut & Arugula Salad or any salad for a nice, light change of pace.

Vertical image from overhead of a salad containing bacon, apple, arugala, walnuts, and red onions in the upper left corner, and a bowl with cauliflower soup garnished with green onions and bacon in the bottom right corner.
Serve with this Bacon, Apple, Walnut & Arugula Salad with homemade Balsamic Dressing for a nice, light change of pace.

Are there vegetarian options?

You bet there are. If you’re a vegetarian, you can easily use vegetable stock instead of chicken and obviously skip the bacon garnish or use a plant based imitation bacon. If you’re vegan… well, I can only go so far and this is not for you. Sorry.

Do I need an instant pot?

No, this soup only takes about 45 – 60 minutes and although I love multi-cookers, it seems that most recipes don’t mention the time that it takes to build the pressure and then release the pressure, or how you have to keep the valve cleaned. I keep my dutch oven on my stove top every day. It’s great for cooking so many things, it’s pretty and it’s easier to clean. Plus, if we don’t eat it all, I just put the dutch oven in the fridge – the next day, I put it back on the stove and heat it up (slowly). 

Instructions:

split image showing the before and after of sautéed onions and celery in a white dutch oven. There's a nutcracker who looks like a chef in the foreground to the left.

Melt butter and oil in dutch oven or soup pot on med/high heat. Sautée onions and celery seasoned with a little salt until tender (about 8-10 minutes), then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 

Chopped cauliflower on a white cutting board. They are about the diameter of a quarter to a nickel.
While your onions and celery are cooking, cut up your cauliflower.
Hot bubbling cream with celery and onions in a white dutch oven.
Pour the cream into the pan, add the cauliflower and the stock. Cook on med/high to high for about 5 minutes.

Chunks of cauliflower added to a white dutch oven with a nutcracker who looks life a chef in the foreground on the left.

Pretty pale cauliflower with creamy broth.
Add the milk, nutmeg, white pepper and continue to cook (but not a hard boil or it will get grainy) until the cauliflower is tender and the soup has thickened up a bit (about 2 minutes).
Pale yellow cauliflower soup in a white dutch oven with a wooden spoon, and a copper measuring cup filled with Gruyere cheese ready to pour in.
Stir in the shredded cheese and add more seasoning if you need to. If it gets too thick, just add more milk or stock.

Pepé the nutcracker next to his very pale yellow cauliflower soup in a white dutch oven, still on the stove.

chopped bacon, whole green onions and shredded gruyere cheese on a wood cutting board
While your soup is finishing up, get your garnish ready.

Lighter & Healthier Cauliflower Soup

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Cooked Cauliflower (6-7 cups chopped)
  • 1 1/4 Cups Celery (4-5 stalks)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Cup Gruyere Cheese (plus more for garnish
  • 1 Cup Milk (whole)
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock (or vegetable stock)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and White or Black Pepper to Taste (white pepper is prettier for this dish)
  • Cooked Bacon (chopped for garnish)
  • Green Onions (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Melt butter and oil in dutch oven or soup pot on med/high heat.
  • Sauté onions and celery seasoned with a little salt until tender (about 8-10 minutes), then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Pour the cream into the pan, add the cauliflower and the stock. Cook on med/high to high for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the milk, nutmeg, white pepper and continue to cook (but not a hard boil or it will get grainy) until the cauliflower is tender and the soup has thickened up a bit (about 2 minutes).
  • Stir in the shredded cheese and add more seasoning if you need to. If it gets too thick, just add more milk or stock.
  • Garnish with bacon, green onions and more cheese or even a different cheese (like cheddar) if you desire. Chili oil might be a nice garnish or flavor to add as well.

Notes

See my tip for cooking bacon here: BLT Salad with Homemade Croûtons

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