Hi, Friends. On this happy Friday I give to you my Healthier Loaded Baked Potato Soup!
Don’t you just love ordering a piping hot bowl of loaded baked potato soup at your favorite restaurant? It’s like a baked potato that has been made into soup form, two wonderful things have been combined to create one magical dish! You scarf down the creamy, cheesy, starchy magical loaded baked potato soup enjoying every single bite. And then you sit there feeling too full, too bloated, and like you need to be removed from the restaurant by a fork lift. Okay, maybe that’s just how I feel. Either way, I had a mission, to make a healthier version of Loaded Baked Potato Soup. One that was still satisfying, creamy, a little cheesy, a little potato-y, and of course with bacon. We just can’t skip the bacon. Smoky, salty, crispy bacon is what life is about!
You guys, the mission was a success!
The secret to a healthier loaded baked potato soup, that really doesn’t taste healthier is….wait for it…..
That’s right, that beautiful white vegetable is how we make our loaded baked potato soup healthier. We boil the cauliflower in the broth, puree it up until it’s as smooth as can be, and that, my friends, is how we make this soup creamy without any cream. Plus there are four cups of good-for-you veggie packed into this soup!
But, does it taste like cauliflower? Great question. Nope, not at all! Once we add in the cubed russet potatoes – come on, we still have to have some potatoes in there – and a little sharp white cheddar cheese, it just tastes like pure creamy potato soup bliss.
I originally contemplated calling this soup “Creamy Cauliflower Loaded Baked Potato Soup”, but I didn’t want everyone to get hung up on the cauliflower part. Some might not check out this recipe because they don’t want their potato soup tasting like cauliflower, which is understandable. I really don’t want anyone to miss out on this soup! Honest, guys, no one will ever be able to tell that the base of this soup is not heavy cream but cauliflower, scout’s honor!
My other little secret to making this soup a bit healthier is to melt sharp white cheddar cheese into the soup, rather than mild or medium or any other wimpy cheese. The flavor of the sharp cheddar is much stronger than a mild or medium, and a little goes a long way. That way you can cut down on the amount of cheese you use.
Do me a favor and make yourself a batch of this Healthier Loaded Baked Potato Soup tonight. Then you can come back here and tell me how much you loved its rich, creamy base that’s studded with potato chunks, and topped with crispy fried bacon, more cheddar cheese, cooling sour cream, and some green onions. You will be satisfied with warm soup belly. Sound like a plan?
- 8 slices bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken stock (can also use vegetable stock)
- 4 cups cauliflower florets, cut into even pieces
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled, and chopped into ½ inch cubes
- 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A few dashes hot sauce (optional)
- EXTRA TOPPINGS (OPTIONAL):
- Sliced green onion
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- dollop sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Dashes of hot sauce
- Heat a large stew pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon. Cook until most of the fat has rendered from the bacon and the pieces have crisped up, about 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces, drain them on a paper towel-lined plate, and set aside.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease from the pot. Heat the bacon grease back up over medium heat. Add the onion, saute for 5 minutes, or until translucent and tender. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken stock, and use your spoon to deglaze the pan by scraping up any burnt bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the cauliflower, turn the heat up to high, cover and allow it to come to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fork- tender. Remove from the heat.
- Transfer the cauliflower, onions, and broth to a blender, working in batches so that you only fill the blender half full at a time. When blending hot liquids it is very important to not fill the blender all the way, as that can cause the blender to form a suction and the hot liquid to explode. Blend until everything is smooth, about 1 minute per batch. Alternately you can use an immersion blender, which is usually my go-to for blending soups, but I found my immersion blender didn't get the cauliflower as smooth as I like because of the cauliflower chunks, so I recommend using a blender.
- Return the cauliflower mixture to the stew pot. Turn the heat on high, add the cubed potatoes, and cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Turn the heat to low. Stir in the white cheddar cheese half at a time, and stir until well melted.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and hot sauce to taste.
- Remove from the heat. Serve immediately. Garnish with reserved bacon pieces, plus any other desired toppings. Suggestions are listed in the ingredients list above.
- Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the bacon pieces in a small container at room temperature.
Nutrition info is based off of 6 servings without the toppings, because everyone likes different portions of their own toppings. However, I did include the bacon in the nutrition facts, because bacon!