Cauliflower & Loaded Potato Chowder (Dairy Free)

My family loves the winter, but living in the Northeast sometimes means cold and occasionally bone chilling temperatures.  My husband works outside nearly all day.  When he arrives home, thoroughly chilled to the core, there is little that hits the spot better than a hearty, piping hot bowl of soup.

Soup is one of my favorite items to make.  You truly can taste the time and love in each spoonful.  Also the possibilities are endless.  Broth based soups are great, but don’t forget about potato, squash, or cauliflower bases either.  That brings me to the recipe that I want to share with you today: Cauliflower and Loaded Potato Chowder.

I am completely smitten with cauliflower.  So you can imagine how excited I was to find this case of organic cauliflower on sale this week!  They’re beauties, no?    I am looking forward to creating some unique dishes and sharing them with you over the coming weeks.

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But back to my soup:

I use cauliflower, an entire head mind you, for the base of my chowder.   I’ve always loved potato chowder, but there’s no way around it,  traditional recipes are quite carb heavy and  loaded with butter and cream.  Enter cauliflower.  When cooked up and pureed, a downright silky and luxurious sauce emerges.  My soup recipe is free of butter, cream, and milk, but you would never know it.

This soup is simple to make, won’t bust your budget, and is a great way to sneak some vegetables into a meal.  I do admit that the addition of a bit of cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon may not be the most nutritious of garnishes, but the quantities are minimal and are the perfect complement to the soup.  You can certainly opt for reduced fat or even dairy free cheese or turkey bacon to trim down the fat content.

I hope you enjoy!

Cauliflower & Loaded Potato Chowder
Serves 6

1 large head cauliflower, broken up into florets, about 9 cups
1 clove fresh garlic, halved
1/2 of a small yellow onion, halved
3 cups diced red potatoes, scrubbed clean, NOT peeled
32oz. box chicken stock
1 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (begin with the smaller quantity and season to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 strips crispy, cooked bacon, crumbled
3 scallions, ends trimmed, greens thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Break apart the head of cauliflower in florets.  You can discard the thick center stem found in the center of the head.

Add the cauliflower florets, garlic, onion, and potatoes to a large stock pot.  Add in the broth and almond milk.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook for approximately 15 minutes.  The vegetables should be very fork tender.

Puree the vegetables and liquid in a blender fitted with a top vent.  It is best to blend the soup in 2-3 batches, only filling the container 1/2-3/4 full.  The mixture will be hot so care must be taken.  You may also use an immersion blender.

Add in the salt and pepper to taste.  Since the sodium content in broth varies greatly from brand to brand, it is best to start by adding a small amount of salt to the soup and slowly adding more as desired.

Ladle into bowls and top with a bit of cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, and scallion ribbons.

Cauliflower

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