I love baked potato soup. Cheese, sour cream, chives and little crunchy bits of bacon floating around in a pool of warm, comforting potato makes for a bowl of happiness. But I also know that it is pretty easy to leave out the bacon and still get a delicious soup.
This recipe is based on a Cooking Light recipe I pulled out of an issue ages ago and just got around to trying. I tweaked it a little to make it vegetarian, but what makes it so special is that it replaces a lot of the high-fat additions with pureed, roasted cauliflower. If you are not a big cauliflower fan, don’t let that scare you off though, you can’t really taste it, but it does add a pleasant creamy texture to the soup and a lot of nutritional value too. The soup is a welcome change to the attitude of excess this time of year.
I also add a little sweet potato. It lends a little sweetness and richness to the soup and also adds a lovely color. In place of the crunchy bits of bacon, I fry half the scallions in a little oil before starting the soup then use the crispy scallions to garnish the soup. I also use an extra sharp cheddar to maximize the cheese flavor without adding too much fat to the dish.I love the flavors too. I’m not a huge cauliflower fan, but I don’t really taste it in this soup. Even better the kids like it and don’t know they are eating cauliflower.
Why don’t you take a break from the Holiday excess to have a bowl of this veggie-rich, creamy, comforting soup? Enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2” pieces (about 6 medium)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2” pieces (about 1 cup)
- 5 cups good quality vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided plus more to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets (about 1/2 head)
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
- 8 green onions, chopped divided
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 4 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-bottomed dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add half of the scallions and fry, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to move the scallions to a paper towel. Lightly sprinkle with salt and set aside.
- Add onion, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the pot and saute until the onions are soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the potatoes and sweet potato, stock and the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are very soft, about 35 minutes. Remove the bay leaf once the potatoes are tender.
- While the potatoes cook, toss the cauliflower florets with the remaining oil, salt and a 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Spread evenly on a baking pan and roast until lightly brown at the edges, about 25 minutes.
- Add the roasted cauliflower and milk to the jar of a blender and puree until smooth, being sure to remove the center from the lid to vent and cover the top with a towel to prevent the hot mixture from splattering. Move the cauliflower to a bowl and add half the potatoes and stock. Puree until smooth. Add the cauliflower and pureed potato back to the soup pot. Bring back to a simmer and add the remaining scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve each bowl topped with a tablespoon of sour cream, two tablespoons of cheddar cheese and about a tablespoon of fried scallions. Store leftover soup in the refrigerator for several days.