Puréed Cauliflower Loaded Baked Potato Soup employs one of my favorite cooking-for-kids hacks: hiding the vegetables. My New Year’s resolution for 2016 was to include a serving of veggies in every dinner at least 5 nights per week. Sometimes I have to be crafty—even diabolical—for this to fly in the Frank family, which roundly despises vegetables.
You see, this soup is only partially composed of baked potatoes: the majority is made up of cauliflower. Since cauliflower doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, it can quietly masquerade as something else. Unsuspecting kids eat their veggies, all the while thinking that they have cleverly escaped the veggie curse for the night. I do include a few chunks of baked potato in every bowl to give the soup that classic baked potato consistency and to complete the ruse. (If you’re on a lower-carb diet, you’ll want to omit the potato altogether.)
This meal also has an element of fun because I like to make a DIY buffet of toppings—the kids get a real kick out of loading up their own “baked potato” soup from selections including bacon, cheese, chives, and sour cream.
Loaded "Baked Potato" Soup
- For the soup
- 2 large baking potatoes
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large head of cauliflower - cut into florets
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 4 oz. reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic - finely minced
- Cooking spray
- Salt & pepper - to taste
- Bacon - fried and broken into small pieces
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Chives - finely minced
- Preheat oven to 350º. Scrub the baking potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and pierce several times with a paring knife. Bake until tender (this may be done one day in advance).
- Preheat your oven’s broiler and set the rack 6 inches from the heating element. Soak cauliflower florets in a large bowl of lightly salted water for 20 minutes. Drain. Scatter the florets onto a baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set under the broiler, watching carefully, until the florets are browned (this may take up to 25 minutes; rotate the every few minutes as the florets broil).
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and sauté slowly until soft and golden-brown in color, approximately 20 minutes. Add the garlic; sauté an additional minute. Add the chicken broth, water, and cauliflower florets. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, the lower heat to a simmer until all vegetables are soft, approxiately 30 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, prepare the toppings and set out buffet-style.
- Puree the soup until smooth: you can either use a food processor (working in small batches) or an immersion blender.
- Finish the soup by adding the cream cheese, stirring until melted and well combined. Check for seasoning; adjust as necessary.
- To serve, place a few chunks of baked potato in each bowl, then cover with the soup and add toppings as desired. Enjoy!