A few weeks ago, while sitting at work I had a sudden craving for broccoli-cheddar soup and as the day wore on the need only grew. As I drove home, I went over the ingredients in my head, confident I had everything and determined to start cooking before I even kicked off my shoes. Then I got home, opened the fridge, and realized I had no milk. I had everything but the milk! I couldn’t let this hold me back, my entire evening was hanging on a bowl of this soup. So when I spotted a head of cauliflower in the veggie drawer I knew I could make it work. I poured the vegetable broth into a pot and began chopping the cauliflower florets.
I ended up substituting pureed cauliflower for the milk and adding a little more broth than I normally would to keep it from getting too thick. The result was great, even better than I expected. It was as thick and creamy as a traditional milk based soup with an extra serving of veggies. I served it with some homemade roasted garlic croutons for a bit of crunch. The soup also makes a great leftover, although I didn’t try freezing it because I knew it wouldn’t last. You may find that it gets a bit thicker after being reheated; I just add more vegetable broth to the leftovers to thin it out to a better consistency.
1 head cauliflower
40 oz vegetable (or chicken) broth, set aside 1 cup (8oz)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoons flour
2 cups broccoli florets, cut small/bite-sized
1 cup shredded carrots
2-3 cups shredded cheese
1) Pour a 32 ounce carton of vegetable broth into a large sauce pan. Begin to heat over medium-high heat. Cut cauliflower, florets and the stem, into small pieces and add to broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, leaving the cauliflower to simmer until very tender (about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces).
2) Using a blender, puree the cauliflower and the liquid it was cooked in. It is best if you use all of the liquid you boiled in the cauliflower in. Leave the pureed cauliflower in the blender.
3) In the same sauce pan the cauliflower was boiled in, melt two tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add diced garlic and onion and sauté until translucent. Add salt and pepper.
4) Add flour to butter and onions, creating a rue, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly. Whisk final cup of broth into the rue, and cook for 5-8 minutes over low heat.
5) Stir cauliflower puree into pot, bring heat to medium-low, add carrots and broccoli and cook for 10-15 minutes, until veggies are done.
6) Remove soup from heat, add cheese a cup at a time, stirring constantly until melted.