If you've been reading this blog for a while and paying attention, you can probably figure out what I used in this soup instead of potatoes. If you guessed cauliflower, then you are correct! I love cauliflower mashed "fauxtatoes" so I figured that it would work just as well in another preparation that calls for pureed potatoes. I think that this would fool just about anyone, and even if it doesn't, it's still delicious in its own right.
I decided to roast the cauliflower to get more of a "baked" flavor, but if you want to streamline the process, you could certainly boil the florets in the soup broth or even use frozen cauliflower.
I used cream cheese for texture and flavor. It thickened the soup while adding a baked-potato-with-sour-cream sort of tang. It was much lower calorie than using heavy cream and it precluded the use of a starch thickener like a roux. If you prefer to use cultured dairy products (to make the lactose easier to digest), you can substitute labneh. I've seen a lot of vegan "cream cheese" recipes that use raw cashews, so if you want to experiment with a dairy-free version, I think you could try adding raw cashew butter and some lemon juice. For my version, I just used a plain ol' brick of cream cheese.
LOADED BAKED FAUXTATO SOUP
- 1 lb cauliflower florets
- 1 Tbs fat of choice (I used melted ghee, bacon fat or olive oil would work well too)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup minced onion (I used frozen chopped onion)
- 8 oz cream cheese (for dairy-free options, see recipe description)
- 1/2 tsp salt (I used Penzeys 4/S but regular salt would be fine)
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper (black pepper would taste fine but will leave black flecks)
- 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used 1/4 tsp which gave it a nice kick. Use 1/8 tsp or leave it out if you are sensitive to spicy food.)
- Baked potato fixins of choice, such as sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, scallions, and/or crumbled bacon
- Adjust oven rack to bottom position and preheat oven to 475.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, brush or spray with half the butter or oil, spread cauliflower on top, and brush or spray with the remaining fat.
- Roast the cauliflower for 10 minutes, stir to turn over, and roast for another 10.
- Meanwhile, bring the onion and broth to a boil on the stove. Add the cauliflower, let boil again, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. You want it to be slightly overcooked, but not boiled to death.
- Add in the cream cheese, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Stir until melted. Add the spices.
- Puree until completely smooth. I used a stick blender but if you don't have one you could transfer it to a regular blender or even try mashing it well with a potato masher. It will be a bit foamy; let it sit for a minute before serving so that the bubbles die down.
- Serve with fixins of choice.