A healthy Creamy Vegetable Soup that’s seriously delish and has super low calories? YES IT’S POSSIBLE. The secret – a seasoned broth made with pureed cauliflower, peeled zucchini, onion and garlic. It’s thick and creamy, just like when it’s made the traditional way using butter and flour……except this has 90% less calories….
Though my recipe feed doesn’t exactly scream “healthy eating” by any stretch of the imagination, the more discerning may have noticed that most of my dinner recipes actually have a sensible level of calories. I don’t often cook with cream. I control my use of butter (sometimes reluctantly). And I am pretty sure I can count the deep fried recipes on this blog on one hand.
I believe that food is for enjoying not just survival. I don’t believe in butchering great dishes of the world for the sake of drastic calorie reduction and compromising taste. A classic example is “zoodles” (zucchini noodles). I really wanted to like it, but they are so far from the real deal I just don’t get it. Instead, my philosophy is to eat half of a normal serving of real noodles, and/or bulk it out with more noodle shaped things, like cabbage and bean sprouts and shredded carrots!!!
While I can’t settle for cauliflower crust pizza, I do have a thing for creating seriously tasty, super low cal meals that are filling. I have a few friends I often brainstorm with for calorie controlled food intake ideas. (Well, they brief me on exactly what they’re after and I do the brainstorming).
This is the product of one such session – a Healthy, Creamy Vegetable Soup that’s just 124 calories for a big bowl and it’s seriously delish!
This recipe is sort of an extension of my Creamy Cauliflower Soup. Which I initially used as the soup broth for this healthy Creamy Vegetable Soup and while tasty, it had a distinct cauliflower flavour which was not what I was after. I was specifically trying to make a super low cal cream of vegetable soup, so I wanted the white soup broth to have a fairly neutral but seasoned flavour.
The solution? Two zucchinis in the bottom of my fridge past their used by date. Peel off the green = almost pure white flesh. I knew it would thicken the soup and add silkiness just like in my Creamy Zucchini Soup – except this soup would be white.
The soup broth is also flavoured with onion and garlic which is cooked with the cauliflower and zucchini in vegetable broth and water until soft, then whizzed up until silky smooth. Pour it into the pot loaded with even more veggies, simmer to bring it all together and this is what you end up with – a big pot of HEALTHY Creamy Vegetable Soup that looks like it’s been made with tubs of cream.
I’m not going to lie to you. Is it as good as making a real Cream of Vegetable Soup made using a big chunk of butter and 1/2 cup of flour to thicken milk? And let’s add a nice swish of cream while we’re at it, and we’d be mad not to sauté the veggies for the soup in more butter, because after all, butter = flavour. Then we must, oh we MUST serve it with big hunks of grilled cheese on toast, and don’t hold back on the cheese please, and while you’re at it, please slather the bread with butter before topping with cheese.
No, this Healthy Creamy Vegetable Soup is not “as good” as that.
But does it stand on its own as a seriously delicious soup for a ridiculously low amount of calories for a gigantic VERY filling bowl?
YES IT DOES.
I know some people would use all the calorie credits for a little sweet treat. Not me. Bring on the grilled cheese. – Nagi x
PS No further crazy Japan Travel Fails to report at this stage. Made it in one piece to the snow, weighed down with all luggage in tow. The snow is excellent – I love that good snow makes me feel like a better skier than I actually am. No dramatic tumbles to date, but then again, I had to be sensible for the first few days because it dawned on me when I arrived that I didn’t have travel insurance, so I quickly arranged it but there was a 3 day wait on all medical. Today is Day 4. Time to carve it up!!!! 😈
It's a cream of vegetable soup.... without the guilt! Super low cal and gluten free, the soup broth is made using whizzed up peeled zucchini, cauliflower and onion. Using zucchini tempers the distinct flavour of cauliflower so the broth is more of a neutral flavour. It looks just like creamy soups thickened using butter and flour (and often cream!) and tastes really great - but with 90% less calories! Recipe VIDEO below.
- 1 medium head of cauliflower , about 600 - 700g / 1.2 - 1.4 lb (Note 1)
- 500 g / 1 lb zucchinis (2 large), peeled and cut into 1.5cm / 3/5" slices
- 1 large onion , roughly chopped (brown, white, yellow)
- 2 garlic cloves , whole
- 2 cups / 500 ml vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups / 500 ml water
- 1 cup / 250 ml 0% fat milk (or other milk of choice)
- 1/2 tsp each garlic powder and onion powder (or 1 tsp of one of them)
- Pinch black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 onion , chopped (brown, white, yellow)
- 2 large carrots , cut into 1.25cm / 1/2" pieces
- 3 celery sticks , cut into 0.75cm / 1/4" slices
- 2 red capsicum / bell peppers , cut into 1 cm / 2/5" pieces
- 500 g / 1 lb zucchinis (2 large), peeled and cut into 1.25cm / 1/2" slices
- 1 tsp dried thyme (or other herb of choice)
- Salt and pepper
- Finely chopped parsley , optional garnish
For soup - Break off 1/4 of the cauliflower into small bite size florets and put aside to use in the soup.
For broth - Break up the rest of the cauliflower into medium florets. If you have a small cauliflower, use the stem too - peel then rough dice.
Place cauliflower for broth in a large pot. Add zucchini, onion, whole garlic cloves, vegetable broth and water. (Note 2)
Place lid on, bring to boil then adjust heat so it's simmering energetically. Cook for 15 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.
Transfer to blender (Note 3), add garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and milk. Place lid on, place tea towel on lid and hold down very firmly, then whizz to puree soup, starting on low then getting faster.
Remove lid. Marvel at super low cal ultra creamy soup broth.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 1 minute. Then add carrots and celery, cook for 2 minutes.
Add thyme, capsicum and zucchini. Cook until softened, around 2 minutes.
Pour in soup broth. Adjustment consistency with water to achieve desired thickness. Add reserved cauliflower.
Simmer 5 minutes to bring flavours together. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve, garnished with parsley. Or splurge your calorie credits on a piece of grilled cheese to dunk into the soup!!
1. Cauliflower - diameter of about 25 cm / 10", about the size of a basketball ( <-- The weird way I measure veggies!). Don't get too hung up about accuracy of size, there's flex in this recipe in terms of soup thickness.
You could also use 500g / 1 lb frozen cauliflower florets - reserve about 1/4 for the soup and use the rest for the broth. Cook from frozen, use per recipe.
2. Liquid won't cover veggies - that's fine, it gets jostled about when boiling and also steams.
3. Work in batches if your blender is on the small size. Also, stick blender will work here but because it's not as powerful, the soup won't be quite as silky smooth. Also, I suggest cooking the vegetables for an extra 5 minutes to make them even softer.
4. STORAGE: This keeps very well in the fridge for up to 4 days. It also freezes very well!
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings (about 2 heaped cups, one generous sized bowl which is filling).
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
A familiar sight: a furry head peeking around the bench to check out if anything of interest (to him) is going on in the kitchen….. In this case, no, just raw cauliflower!