These days, home cooks are moving towards dishes that are fresh, light, and healthy. However, Louisiana cooks don’t always follow conventional wisdom. At this time of year, you’re likely to see an etouffee, or plate of steak, rice, and gravy, on the dinner table. But with Cream of Cauliflower Soup, you can have it all.
My wife is an advocate of healthy eating. The brilliance of her natural, whole foods lifestyle is in substituting ingredients that some Cajun home cooking traditionalists might consider unconventional.
Like most people I know, my family loves this velvety smooth and creamy potato soup – real comfort food. My wife and I developed a naturally low-calorie, low-carb version that doesn’t sacrifice taste or texture. The answer: cream of cauliflower soup.
The value of nutritionally dense cauliflower is that it is low in fat and carbohydrates, yet high in vitamin C and fiber. I prefer steaming because intense boiling reduces levels of these compounds by up to 75%. As a white vegetable, I initially thought the similarities between cauliflower and carb-loaded potatoes pretty much start and stop there. I know cauliflower isn’t a typical Cajun recipe ingredient, but once I steamed a big head of cauliflower and grabbed a blender with it, I began to see its potential as the new “potato” soup.
Cauliflower has a distinct taste that’s hard to hide – whether you love it or hate it. While I don’t mind it, I intend to elevate it in a different direction with garlic, fennel, and olive oil. The anise-flavoured fennel acquires a subtle sweetness when sautéed in olive oil and a pinch of garlic. With a hint of almond milk, this cream of cauliflower soup is rich and creamy but without the guilt and shame.
Finally, I have seen the light.
Cream of cauliflower, garlic and fennel soup with goat cheese croutons
Recipe by: George Graham – AcadianaTable.com
Serve: 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup of fennel onion, cut into thin slices
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 4 cups of water
- 2 large heads cauliflower, green leaves and stem removed
- Half a cup of chicken broth
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more if needed
- A pinch of kosher salt
- A pinch of white pepper
- Half a cup of creamy goat cheese
- 4-6 toasted crostini
- Fennel fronds for decoration
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the sliced onion and fennel, and cook until the fennel has softened and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to soften. Reduce the heat if it starts to brown. Turn off the heat and move the pan aside.
- In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Divide the cauliflower into florets of roughly equal size so they cook evenly and place in a steamer basket. Place the basket in the pot over boiling water and cover. Leave to steam for 15 minutes, until fully cooked. Remove the cauliflower and drain.
- Drain the water from the pot and place it on the stove over medium to high heat. Add the chicken broth, cauliflower, fennel, onion, and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook until chicken broth has reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add the almond milk, reduce heat and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and liquid in the saucepan until it thickens and all the pieces are smooth. If it gets too thick, add more almond milk until it becomes a creamy chowder-type consistency. Reduce heat to a slow boil and continue cooking.
- Taste the soup and finish with a pinch of kosher salt and white pepper to taste.
- Spread goat cheese on top of the crostini. Grill over high heat until the cheese has softened but not long enough for it to brown.
- Put the soup into bowls and top each with goat cheese croutons. Garnish with a sprinkling of fennel leaves and serve hot.
While the chicken broth veers away from the vegetarian title of this recipe, I love the flavor it adds. Almond milk is an underused ingredient that once used in this soup will become your new secret weapon. The almond-crunchy touch balances well with all the other bold ingredients and adds the unmistakably creamy texture needed to pull this soup together. While the goat cheese toast is optional, it adds a crunchy contrast.
Your seat at the table: If you love this Cajun cooking story then this Cajun recipe is for you aAccept my personal invitation to sign up by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page. It is fast and painless. You’ll receive an email alert and be the first to see when new Cajun cooking stories and Cajun recipes are added.