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Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Courtesy Panera Bread

This time of year is tricky - 70 degrees on day, 30 degrees the next. So there is still room on our menu for warming and delicious soup. We repost one of our favorites from Panera Bread.

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion,
1 rib of celery,
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
Set aside 12 bite-size cauliflower florets. Coarsely chop remaining cauliflower and set aside.
Drop the 12 florets in boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add chopped cauliflower, broth, half-and-half, thyme, pepper, and nutmeg.
Cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender.
Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pot.
Stir in the cheese and salt until the cheese melts and the soup is heated through, 3 minutes.
Serve topped with cauliflower florets.