Healthy Cheeseburger Soup is full of healthy (sneaky!) vegetables yet heavy on decadent flavor. This comforting soup recipe is gluten-free and easily made dairy-free, too.
Hi hi! How was your Thanksgiving? It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a week since we stuffed our faces with all this goodness. I’d hoped to score a few Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals on gifts for the kids but all I walked away with (or closed my browser with – online shopper only here!) was an end table and eczema cream. Wow, getting old sucks!
Ooo, I did also score a good deal on a heart monitor at my local Orange Theory!
I repeat, getting old sucks.
Anyway, today I’m sharing a recipe that will comfort your “it’s not even December and the wind chill is already -2 degrees!” woes, but won’t derail plans to literally run your booty off at an aforementioned Orange Theory: Healthy Cheeseburger Soup!
Last month Ben, the kids and I were out to dinner and I got to dine on the most scrumptious gluten-free soup. You guessed it, Cheeseburger Soup. I’d been thinking about that bowl for literally a month and therefore jumped at the chance to order a version from a deli we visited last weekend however – skirt! – the soup had cheese of course and I’m newly dairy-free in hopes of clearing up Gwen’s eczema. I couldn’t stop thinking about it though so I made a dairy-free version the exact same day using vegan cheddar shreds and it was fabulous! Totally hit the spot. I went on to eat two more bowls that afternoon and another for breakfast the next day…and the day after that. Can you tell I’m missing cheese?!
That said, if you don’t need to eat dairy-free, use regular cheddar cheese instead of vegan shreds in the soup. Either way you are in for such a treat.
Ok so what makes this soup healthy? TONS of vegetables. And not just the ones you can see (carrots, celery, and potatoes) but also the ones you can’t see: blended cauliflower. Even if you dislike cauliflower I promise you’ll never know it’s there. I steamed then blended florets with chicken broth and another healthy ingredient until it took on the texture of liquid velvet, then used it to thicken the soup instead of flour and butter. I repeat, this soup is SUCH a treat!
Now, I don’t fall into the camp of people who thinks cheese is unhealthy – I mean in copious amounts it is, but what isn’t – so I will never feel bad about consuming it…even in copious amounts. Shrug. That said, my Healthy Cheeseburger Soup has a modest amount sprinkled in and again I used vegan cheese (which I’m not saying is healthy), but you can use whatever works for you and your family.
This soup would be fun to serve with a toppings bar. Scoop into bowls then set out any and all toppings that you’d normally find on a cheeseburger – fresh tomatoes, minced pickles and raw white onion, or chopped bacon. Though not typically found on a cheeseburger, chopped green onions add an awesome zip and crunch.
Ok, ok I’m done – let’s get cooking!
Start by steaming a 10oz bag cauliflower florets in a large soup pot or Dutch oven with a few inches of water and a steamer basket (if you don’t have a steamer basket you can boil the cauliflower.)
Scoop the cauliflower into a blender with 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon salt then blend until completely smooth and velvety.
In case you haven’t guessed, nutritional yeast is the other super healthy secret ingredient in this soup! Nutritional yeast, or “nooch” as its also called, is packed with B vitamins and often used to help lend a cheesy flavor to cheese-less dishes. Even if you’re using regular cheddar cheese in this soup I’d still add it because it boosts the vitamins and savory flavor of the soup.
Pro tip: sprinkle nutritional yeast onto buttered popcorn for the most tasty treat of your life – it is one of Ben’s and my favorite!
Set the blender aside, pour the steaming liquid out of the pot, then return the pot over medium-high heat. Add 3/4lb ground beef then season with pepper and homemade seasoned salt and brown. Scoop the beef into a bowl then set aside. Psst: I’m currently obsessed with Butcher Box’s grass-fed ground beef for its amazing taste and texture. You can get $15 off your first order + free bacon right now!
Turn the heat down to medium then melt 1 Tablespoon butter or vegan butter in the pot and add 1 chopped shallot or small onion, 1 cup shredded carrots, and 2 chopped celery stalks. Season with more pepper and seasoned salt then saute until the vegetables are tender, adding 1 teaspoon each dried basil, parsley, and dill about halfway through.
To the softened vegetables, add 2-1/2 cups chicken broth, the cooked ground beef, and 4 cups peeled and cubed Russet potatoes. That’s about 1 jumbo potato or 2 medium-sized ones. Bring the soup to a boil then place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low, then simmer until the potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
Last couple of steps! Add the blended cauliflower to the pot with 1 cup milk (any kind – I used unsweetened almond milk) then, once bubbling, remove the pot from the heat and stir in 6oz freshly shredded cheddar cheese OR vegan cheddar cheese shreds in three batches, stirring until completely melted before adding the next batch.
This is the vegan cheese we’ve been purchasing in both mozzarella and cheddar shreds for Lincoln for various uses over the past three years or so. I can’t say it tastes like real cheddar on its own, but the shreds deliver in this recipe.
Let the soup sit and thicken for 10 minutes then scoop into bowls and have FUN with the toppings. Chopped pickles, tomatoes, and green onions were great, but don’t be afraid to go for the works (ie bacon). However you serve this yummy, Healthy Cheeseburger Soup, I hope you enjoy!
Healthy Cheeseburger Soup
Healthy Cheeseburger Soup is lighter than traditional versions and full of healthy (sneaky!) vegetables, yet heavy on decadent flavor. This comforting soup recipe is gluten-free and easily made dairy-free, too!
- 10oz bag cauliflower florets
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
- 3-4 cups chicken broth, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4lb ground beef
- homemade seasoned salt (see notes) + pepper
- 1 Tablespoon butter or vegan butter
- 1 shallot or small onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 4 cups peeled and cubed Russet potatoes (1 jumbo or 2 medium-sized)
- 1 cup milk, any kind (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- 1-1/2 cups (6oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese OR 6oz vegan cheddar shreds
- Toppings: chopped tomatoes, green onions, pickles, fresh dill, bacon, extra shredded cheese
- Add a few inches of water to a large soup pot or Dutch oven then place a steamer basket inside. Turn heat to high to bring water to a boil then add cauliflower to basket, place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium, and steam until cauliflower is tender, 5-6 minutes. Scoop cauliflower into a blender then pour out liquid from pot and set aside.
- To the blender add 1/2 cup chicken broth, nutritional yeast (if using), and salt then blend until cauliflower is velvety. Set aside (can be done ahead of time.)
- Place the soup pot over medium-high heat then add ground beef. Season with seasoned salt and pepper then saute until beef is cooked through. Scoop into a bowl then set aside.
- Turn heat down to medium then melt butter inside pot. Add shallots, celery, and carrots, season with homemade seasoned salt and pepper, then saute until vegetables are tender, placing a lid on the pot if vegetables are taking too long to soften. About halfway through the softening process, add dried basil, parsley, and dill then continue to saute.
- Add 2-1/2 cups chicken broth, potatoes, and cooked ground beef then turn heat up to high to bring broth to a boil. Place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, then simmer until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes. Stir in blended cauliflower mixture and milk then bring soup back up to a bubble.
- Remove pot from heat then add shredded cheese in three batches, stirring until completely smooth and melted before adding the next batch. Let soup sit and thicken for 10 minutes then add up to 1 cup additional broth if needed (save any extra for reheating,) add more salt and/or pepper if necessary, and then serve with toppings.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.