Cauliflower Cheese Soup

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By Ellen Miller-Goins

“This is the best soup I’ve ever had,” my niece Helena exclaimed after dinner tonight.

She is a thoughtful dinner guest, but there is a reason I go back to this and other favorites from the original Moosewood Cookbook: It is full of delicious vegetarian recipes even a meat-eater can love. (Recipes_Moosewood-2016-01-03 19.38.48_SMJust so y’all know, I am not a vegetarian — I love a green chile cheeseburger as much as the next person — but Mollie Katzen could make a convert out of anyone. Seriously.)

The Moosewood Cookbook has since been revised to include low-fat versions of its recipes, hence the dog-eared cookbook you see here (I’d rather fight than switch!). Whole milk, sour cream, cheese, butter… many of these recipes are far from low-fat. The “Rarebit” — an old-fashioned Welsh cheese sauce spiked with beer — is, perhaps quite literally, to die for. The “Cream of Spinach Soup” made a vegetable eater out of my vegetable-shy son, William. I will share old favorites soon. This one — “Cauliflower Cheese Soup” — is warm, delicious and filling on a winter day. I have altered the original recipe to suit my tastes. Check out the Moosewood Cookbook for the unaltered version.

  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled, and diced
  • 1 large cauliflower, stems removed and florets separated*
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill (or 1/4 teaspoon dried dill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Black pepper

Place the cauliflower florets, potato, carrot, garlic, onion, salt and water into a pot. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.**

Puree with a high speed immersion blender (like a VitaMix, Blendtec, etc.), or in batches in a blender. Return the soup to the pot. Add cheddar cheese, milk, dill and mustard. Season to taste with black pepper and salt.

Optional : Serve with grated cheddar cheese or shredded parmesan cheese, diced chives and crusty bread.

*Confession: I’ll use frozen cauliflower in a pinch.

**Once again, I want to tout the joys of cooking with a quality pressure cooker. With this useful tool for high-altitude cooking, the vegetables cook in a little over 6 minutes.