Mustard & Cauli Soup with cheese crispy crumbs

Makes 4 servings, 85-101 cals (freeze leftover portions)

For me, cauliflower cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but making a proper cheese sauce involves lots of calorific ingredients like flour, butter and whole milk – not recommended on a Fast Day. So here, I’ve made a tasty, creamy soup with cauliflower and mustard, then added a cheese crumb topping at the last moment to maximise the Cheddar taste: all the comfort at around 100 calories per bowl. Recipe from my book, The 5:2 Good Food Kitchen.

½ tsp butter or olive oil 19–23 cals

1 white onion 38 cals

1 medium cauliflower, florets only 100 cals

600ml homemade vegetable stock 15 cals or water and 2 tsp Marigold bouillon 24 cals

2–3 tsp Dijon mustard 15–30 cals

200ml almond milk 26 cals or semi-skimmed milk 98 cals 

30g reduced-fat mature cheddar cheese 65 cals

20g breadcrumbs 55 cals

salt and pepper

Calories per serving: 53 made with almond milk; 71 made with semi-skimmed milk, plus 30 with topping

Preparation time: 8 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

  1. Add the butter or oil to a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 2 minutes then add the cauliflower and let it brown lightly for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 18–20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft enough to blend.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and the almond or semi-skimmed milk and blend, using a stick blender or move the mixture to a blender goblet to blend, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you like more mustard, add it now.
  4. To serve, preheat the grill to medium. Divide the soup between heatproof bowls. Gently sprinkle over the cheese and breadcrumbs so they don’t sink. Place the bowls under the grill and let cook until the crumbs are brown and the cheese has melted.

Recipe from The 5:2 Good Food Kitchen

See also a picture of the Broccoli & Cauli version I made in October 2015 - simply substituting using half cauliflower and half broccoli, and using vegetable stock (Marigold Bouillon Powder is my favourite ready-made) in place of the alm

This soup freezes well (but without the cheese and crumb topping). Defrost and reheat, then add topping. Try blue cheese in place of cheddar in the cheese crumb topping. Or use wholegrain mustard in an alternative topping: simply mix together 1 level tablespoon 0% fat crème fraîche (6 calories) and 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard (8 calories) and swirl into each portion just before serving. Add chopped cashew or peanuts in place of the eggs plus some cubed tofu for a vegan version. A splash of coconut milk at the end of cooking is yummy too.