Panera's Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanks again to my friend Gwen who again has Faithfulness Farm the blog up and going. I appreciate your hanging in there with me!

Last year a Panera Bread opened in the town I work in. I have eaten at Panera many times in the past (pre-low-carb) and while many were excited to see them come to our area, not so much me. Not that I didn't like them or have nice experiences when I've eaten there in the past BUT with BREAD in their name, they are not so low-carb friendly.

Then a friend from work brought in their nutrition facts and I saw that there were a few things that would work for me -- Cauliflower Cheese Soup being the first thing on my list to try. I was amazed to see that Panera actually has this recipe on their webpage (Panera's Recipe). I was thrilled to see it had no thickeners that often are in creamy soups and add carbs. The recipe was  low-carb as is but a little tweeking and it is PERFECTLY low-carb. Enjoy - either at a Panera near you or this versoin at home!!

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp salt

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Set aside 12 bite-size cauliflower florets. Coarsely chop remaining cauliflower and set aside. Drop the 12 florets in boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chopped cauliflower, broth, half-and-half, thyme, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender. Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Stir in the cheese and salt until the cheese melts and the soup is heated through, 3 minutes. Serve topped with cauliflower florets. Makes 6 servings. Panera's version contains 7 net carbs per serving -- mine is 4.