8cupschopped cauliflower florets, about 2 medium heads cauliflower (see note for frozen or riced cauliflower)
4cupschicken or vegetable broth
1teaspoonsalt, I use coarse, kosher salt
Pinchof black pepper
¼cupall-purpose flour (see note)
1cupshredded sharp cheddar cheese (see note)
Cooked, crumbled bacon
Chopped chives or green onions
In a 6-quart or larger pot, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion or leeks, celery, carrots and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the veggies start to soften, 4-5 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, broth, salt and pepper to the pot. The broth won't fully cover the vegetables; that's ok. Give the mixture a good stir and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower and other veggies are very tender.
Use an immersion blender, potato masher (or transfer half of the soup to a blender - taking care to vent the lid when blending the hot soup), and blend or mash the soup until the cauliflower is the desired consistency. I prefer some small bits of texture rather than blending until completely smooth.
Whisk or blend together the milk and flour until smooth. Pour the mixture into the soup, stirring constantly, and cook the soup over medium heat until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes.
Off the heat, stir in the shredded cheese until melted. Add additional salt and pepper, to taste, if needed.
Serve the soup, if desired, topped with bacon, chopped chives or green onions, sour cream, and extra shredded cheese.
Nutrition Facts: the nutrition facts for this recipe were calculated based on the soup (but do not include the optional garnishes as those are added based on personal preference). Cauliflower: if you end up with a bit more or a bit less cauliflower, it's ok. It doesn't have to be exact. You can also use the stems (might need a few extra minutes of cooking to soften). UPDATE: readers reporting everywhere that they used the frozen riced cauliflower and it worked great (it'll pack down more in the measuring cup, so I'd say use 7-9 cups riced cauliflower, fresh or frozen). Broth: I always use low-sodium broth (chicken broth for this recipe, but vegetable broth can be substituted for a vegetarian version)Flour: for a gluten-free version, try 2 tablespoons cornstarch in place of the flour (or a gluten-free flour blend, although I don't know how well gluten-free flours thicken soups).Cheese: sharp white or orange cheddar cheese will work in this recipe (so will medium or mild, but the flavor will be better with sharp cheddar). Using freshly grated cheese will melt better than using preshredded cheese (which is often coated with a powdery substance to keep it from sticking, but it also makes it melt less well).