Low fat choices: Warm up winter with Spicy Cauliflower Soup

1 of 5

Staff Photo by Thomas J. Turney Pasquotank County Extension Director Ellen Owens making Buffalo Cauliflower Bites.


By Ellen Owens
Pasquotank Extension

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A winter chill is still in the air. That makes this time of year perfect for some hearty stick-to-your-ribs type soups or stews to warm you from the inside out. You may be having difficulty finding recipes that are tummy-filling and rib sticking, yet healthy.

Consider alternatives to filling high-fat foods such as beef that are found in many soups and stews. You’re probably worried that you’ll have to give up some of your favorite foods if you try to incorporate more veggies into your diet, but this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the dishes you love most. Pretty much anything you love to eat can be made with plant-based ingredients – even really meaty dishes like burgers, meatballs, and Buffalo wings. It just takes a little imagination.

A filling alternative to meat that you may want to consider is cauliflower. Cauliflower is in season in the summer months; however, you can purchase this nutrient packed vegetable in the produce section of your local market all year.

Broccoli and cauliflower are flowering members of the cabbage family. Other cabbage family members include Brussels sprouts, cabbage and turnips. Together, they are known as cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables have health benefits. Increasing consumption of all fruits and vegetables helps decrease your risk of chronic diseases such as cancers, heart disease, or diabetes.

Cauliflower is a rich source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium. Cauliflower contains phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds; they help our body get rid of toxins and carcinogens. Keep in mind that the phytochemical activity of these vegetables is increased when they are combined with other vegetables. Here is a recipe for a delicious Spicy Cauliflower Soup, that is sure to warm you up on these cold winter nights!

Spicy Cauliflower Soup


· ¼ cup coconut oil

· 1 onion, peeled and diced

· 1 carrot, peeled and diced

· 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed

· 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed

· 1 teaspoon * chile powder

· ¼ teaspoon turmeric

· ¼ teaspoon dried chile flakes

· 1 teaspoon salt

· ½ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

· 6 cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped

· 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed of green leaves and coarsely chopped (about 6cups)

· 3 cups vegetable broth

· 3 cups water

* the term chili powder usually refers to a dried ground chile (or chiles) mixed with other spices and chile powder refers to the ground powder of one specific dried chile pepper.

· For garnish:

· 1 cup yogurt

· Chopped cilantro or mint

· A squeeze of lime juice


1. DIRECTIONS: Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chile powder, turmeric, chile flakes, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring often, over medium heat. When very soft but not browned, add the cilantro sprigs, cauliflower, vegetable broth, and water. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 30 minutes. Stir vigorously with a spoon or whisk to coarsely purée the soup. You may need to add more broth or water to thin the soup if it is too thick. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve hot. Garnish each serving with yogurt, cilantro or mint, and a squeeze of lime juice.


Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

The next recipe is one that I love because the fat content in one of my favorite foods, buffalo chicken wings, is quite high. This recipe, “Buffalo Cauliflower Bites” is an alternative to high fat wings. Believe it or not, they are tasty and quite filling! I even use plain greek yogurt as the base of my favorite blue cheese dressing to help reduce the fat even more.


· 8 cups 1½-inch cauliflower florets

· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

· ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

· 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot

· 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

· 1 tablespoon butter, melted

· 1 tablespoon lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Toss cauliflower, oil and salt in a large bowl. Spread on the prepared baking sheet; reserve the bowl. Roast the cauliflower until it's starting to soften and brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine hot sauce, sriracha to taste, butter and lemon juice in the large bowl. Add the roasted cauliflower and toss to coat. Return the cauliflower to the baking sheet and continue roasting until hot, about 5 minutes more.

Nutrition information

· Serving size: ¾ cup

· Per serving: 99 calories 7 g fat(2 g sat); 3 g fiber; 8 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 0 mcg folate; 5 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 169 IU vitamin A; 70 mg vitamin C; 33 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 288 mg sodium; 439 mg potassium

· Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (117% daily value)

· Carbohydrate Servings: ½

Enjoy! For additional nutrition information, contact Ellen Owens, County Extension Director at the Pasquotank Cooperative Extension Center, 338-3954.


Staff Photo by Thomas J. Turney

Pasquotank County Extension Director Ellen Owens making cauliflower buffalo bites.

Staff Photo by Thomas J. Turney

Ingredients for cauliflower buffalo bites prepared by Pasquotank County Extension Director Ellen Owens.