Healthy soup alternative: Cauliflower and arugula

Book: “The Essential Low Fat Cookbook: Good Healthy Eating for Every Day”; 256 pages, $35, by Antony Worral Thompson. Published by Kyle Books, 2012.

About the book: Thompson has compiled recipes “for food lovers who want healthy food as well as delicious food.”

In their own words: “I’m in the healthy groove, having written five books geared toward people with diabetes. I love to prove that you can diet, and still enjoy your food. I’m not a health messiah, but I do intend over the next few years to tackle many of the problem eating areas that plague us all. I enjoy being challenged; how do you cook lovely food when you can’t use the chefs’ favorite ingredient, fat?”

What you get: All of the 200 recipes contain no more than 30 percent fat. The book is divided into sections: breakfasts, soups and snacks, light lunches and suppers, main courses, salads and side orders, and desserts and cakes. I’m looking forward to trying Turkey and Lettuce Cups, P. 76; Poached Salmon in a Herb and Tomato Broth, P. 140; Peppered Chicken with Tomatoes and Zucchini, P. 182; and Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes, P. 211.

What we made:

Cauliflower and Arugula Soup (P. 62)

Serves 6-8


1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 stick of celery, thinly sliced

1 large floury potato, peeled and thinly sliced

1 large cauliflower (2¼ lbs.), two-thirds roughly chopped (including the core) , one-third cut into small florets

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon chopped thyme leaves

1 quart good vegetable stock

1 pint skim milk

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 handfuls of argula leaves

½ teaspoon ground white pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat half the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium to low heat to lightly color and soften the onion. Add the potato, and cook until the potato starts to stick, and the edges start to soften.

Add the roughly chopped cauliflower, bay leaf, thyme and stock to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the milk, and warm through without letting the soup boil.

Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower florets with the remaining oil in a bowl, then add the cumin and toss again. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 12-15 minutes, until the cauliflower beings to brown, but still retains some bit.

Process the soup in a blender with the arugula and white pepper. Blend it in batches, then pass through a fine sieve. Check the seasoning.

Drain the roast cauliflower and divide between the hot soup bowls. Pour in the soup and serve immediately.

Our assessment: Several tasters appreciated the light flavor of this soup, but more than not wanted a little more flavor. Their suggestions: add a pinch of salt, a dash of tabasco, parsley or cilantro, maybe some mushrooms for texture. Even bacon, but that would definitely defeat the point of this low-fat soup.

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