Last year around this time, I invented a craaaaaazy good soup recipe. At first, I intended it to be nothing more than a boring, healthy, weeknight dinner for our boringly healthy month of October. Something warm and nourishing for Halloween night. But my husband and I loved it SO much, we both agreed it had to be shared! Especially since it is so very very very healthy.
We have since made it dozens of times (even for company!) and NO ONE can believe it has only 170 calories per cup.
Believe it or not, this unassuming soup has a whopping 4 cups of vegetables hiding within! It is also a great source of fiber and protein, thanks to a secret ingredient 😉 Spoiler alert: The secret ingredient is white beans.
The idea for this combination of flavors actually comes from a very similar (and yummy) soup from Olive Garden. You should definitely go there sometime for lunch on a Sunday and order the all-you-can-eat soup & bread sticks. (Sometime after our “extra good” month of October, I mean.)
But while the Olive Garden version is loaded with cream, this version gets its thick, silky texture from blended cauliflower, white beans, and just a few potatoes. It contains just the slightest amount of fat from the sausage, and the kale adds awesome texture, taste, and nutrients!
Start by gathering up a few potatoes (I like red potatoes, but Russets work well too), some kale, frozen cauliflower, celery, onion or leek, garlic, and a tube of breakfast sausage…
Roughly chop the onion, celery, garlic, and half of the potatoes. Leave the remaining potato(es) whole (if using red), or cut just in half lengthwise (if using Russets.)
Set the veggies aside for a moment and grab a large soup pot. Throw in 1/3 tube of breakfast sausage and let it crisp up over medium/high heat.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a separate bowl, leaving the rendered sausage fat in the pot. (If you wish to make the recipe even lower in fat, you can spoon out and discard a few tablespoons of fat before continuing. I like to leave it in there for flavor. By the time the soup is complete, the fat disperses into a very small amount per serving anyway.)
Slide the onions, garlic, & celery into the pot along with a pinch or so of salt and pepper. Let them sweat for a minute in the sausage fat… then add in the frozen cauliflower, the diced potatoes, the whole potatoes, the rosemary, and enough chicken broth to cover it all. (Add a little water to the pot if the broth doesn’t quite cover everything.)
*A little tip~ If you buy fresh Parmesan cheese regularly, don’t throw away the rinds! I love adding them to soups for a kick of awesome aged, cheesy flavor! (Alternatively you could just add a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan to the finished soup, but using the rind is a great way to get every last drop of flavor out of that fancy fresh Parm.) Now’s the time to add a Parmesan rind if you have one. Just let it simmer in the soup while the veggies soften.
Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and let everything simmer for about half an hour (you want all the veggies, even the whole potatoes, to be fork-tender.)
While the soup is simmering, separate the kale ribs from the greens and give the kale a rough chop. (No need to dice it too finely… it will wilt a lot in the soup!)
When the veggies in the pot are nice and soft, fish out the whole potatoes with a slotted spoon. Set them aside on a cutting board to cool a bit. When they are cool enough, thinly slice them into discs.
Add 1/2 can of white beans (rinsed & drained) to the pot. (This step not pictured because I am an airhead.)
Then just take your handy-dandy immersion blender and blend up the soup right there in the pot! (If you don’t have an immersion blender, RUN to the store… or to Amazon… and get one. It’s one of my most frequently used kitchen tools.) This turns the soup from a chunky mass of vegetables to a silky-smooth soup that would fool anyone into thinking it’s full of cream. But nope! It’s full of cauliflower and white beans, baby!
Now, just add the sausage & thinly sliced potato discs back into the pot. (Also add in the remaining 1/2 can of white beans.)
Lastly, toss in all that power-packed kale you chopped! Kale is so amazing for you… high in Vitamins A, C, & K… high in calcium, loaded with fiber, and rich in antioxidants. You need to be eating this vegetable! (And surprisingly, it tastes pretty amazing in this soup.)
And that’s it! Let the kale wilt a moment, then taste the soup to see if it needs any extra salt and pepper. (I usually add about 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp. pepper… but I use low-sodium chicken broth. Your salt & pepper amounts may vary… just taste and see what it needs!) Now is also the time to add a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese if you weren’t able to throw in a rind while the soup was simmering.
Here’s the printable recipe. You must put this on your family’s menu soon! It’s amazingly hearty and will warm you up on these cool Fall evenings. AND it will help fill you up without filling you out… yey-uh!
- -1/3 tube of spicy breakfast sausage (or about 5 oz.)
- -1 cup roughly chopped celery
- -2/3 C. chopped onion or leek
- -2 cloves garlic, minced
- -2 cans low sodium chicken broth (28 oz total)
- -1½ cups water
- -4 small red potatoes (skin on, scrubbed clean)
- -2 cups frozen cauliflower, thawed
- -1 sprig of fresh Rosemary (or ½ T. dried)
- -1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
- -2 tsp. black pepper (more or less, to taste)
- -1 tsp salt (more or less, to taste)
- -3-4 large leaves of kale, ribs removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- -2-3 T. grated Parmesan cheese or one Parmesan rind (optional)
- Roughly chop onions, garlic, celery, and 2 of the red potatoes. Leave the other two whole, (if using Russet potatoes, slice remaining two potatoes in half lengthwise.)
- In a medium soup pot, brown the breakfast sausage until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Set the meat aside in a small bowl.
- Add the chopped onion, celery, & garlic to the pot along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until slightly tender.
- Add about an inch or so of chicken broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the flavorful bits from the bottom.
- Add the remaining chicken broth, the water, rosemary, cauliflower, diced potatoes, & whole potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. (If you have a Parmesan rind, add it at this time.)
- Cover the pot with a lid and simmer over low heat until the celery, cauliflower, and potatoes are completely tender.
- Add in half of the Great Northern beans.
- Use a slotted spoon to fish out the whole potatoes. Set aside on a cutting board and allow them to cool. When cool, slice into thin discs.
- Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the contents of the pot until the soup is smooth and silky in texture. (If using a regular blender, blend in batches to prevent accidental burns.)
- Once soup is blended, stir in remaining white beans, reserved sausage, and sliced whole potatoes.
- Lastly, add the chopped kale to the pot and allow it to wilt before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed with salt & pepper. Add 2-3 T. grated Parmesan cheese at this time if no Parmesan rind was available during the simmering stage.
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