Week 17: Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder

One of my least favorite times of year is right before summer, when Los Angeles seems to bounce between perfect sunny days and those gloomy depressing ones. It’s not quite hot out on these days, but it’s definitely not cold- just an in between temperature with nothing exciting to look forward to. Today was one of those days and the perfect day for a healthy soup recipe. Don’t be fooled this recipe is not only healthy, but it satisfies cravings for real baked potato soup and fills you up at the same time!

1 package center-cut bacon, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
4 cups shredded cauliflower (1/2 head)
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups 2% milk
3-4 dashes hot sauce (or more or less)
2-1/2 cups (12oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (half used for garnish)
2 green onions, chopped

Use a food processor to mince the garlic, chop the vegetables and bacon, as well as to shred the cheese.

Whisk together flour and 1/4 cup chicken broth in a small bowl then set aside.

Sauté bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate then remove all but 1 Tablespoon of drippings from the pot. Add chopped onion, celery, and garlic to the pot, then season with salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Add cauliflower to the pot then stir to combine. Add water then place a lid on top and steam cauliflower until tender, stirring a couple times, about 5-7 minutes. Add remaining chicken broth and milk then turn up heat and bring to a boil.

Slowly whisk in flour and chicken broth mixture while stirring; then turn down heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until chowder has thickened. Turn off heat then stir in 2 cups cheddar cheese until smooth, then stir in half the cooked bacon. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and/or hot sauce if necessary.

Serve topped with remaining shredded cheese, cooked bacon, and green onions.

Caloric info: 257 calories per 1 cup serving


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