Run Oregon Test Kitchen – Cauliflower, White Bean and Cheddar Soup

The Cauliflower, White Bean and Cheddar soup by extremely amateur photographer Kelly Barten. It tastes better than this picture would indicate.

The Cauliflower, White Bean and Cheddar soup by extremely amateur photographer Kelly Barten. It tastes better than this picture would indicate.

Beginning in March, Run Oregon bloggers were provided the Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes by Matt Fitzgerald. This series showcases our attempts at making some of the healthy and delicious recipes within the book’s pages.

I love that this cookbook is divided into three sections based on your self-identified cooking abilities. I started out in the “For Athletes that Don’t Cook” section and looked for something I could make quickly, but without constant attention. Such is the life of a toddler’s momma!

I picked the Cauliflower, White Bean and Cheddar Soup because I could remember the ingredient list as long as it took me to pick Eliza up at daycare with the stroller and run to the store, and because the listed prep time was 15 minutes. That’s important on nights when I try and run a little longer or the weather’s so nice that NOT taking her to the park would be silly.

How it went: I had nearly all the ingredients on hand, just needing frozen cauliflower, vegetable broth, and a can of white beans, so the shopping was a piece of cake. The directions included opening packages and dumping into a saucepan with very little measurement or chopping required.

My issue was that I only read the ingredient list and assumed I was completely in control. When I got to the second step of the recipe, I realized I’d have to figure out pretty quick which one was the food processor and which one was the blender. Fortunately for me, I guessed correctly and the first one I got down from the top of the fridge had a button that said “Blend” on it. (And far too many other buttons, in my opinion.)

Blenders, as long as you have someone else to take it apart and clean it for you, aren’t so bad. My biggest issue was that my blender wasn’t big enough for all the soup to fit in one go, and I had to blend it in two batches.  But once I poured it into my bowl I was pretty proud of myself – it looked nice and creamy and smelled delicious. A quick look at the nutrition information and I knew I could afford seconds – apparently, using cauliflower instead of a cream base really cuts down on the calories! Who knew?

As for how it tasted, I’d give it a 7 out of 10. Being from a cookbook designed to help you achieve “race weight,” I know why they didn’t add bacon, but I really, really wanted to. I think someone with a little more cooking skill could add some spices that would jazz it up a little bit, and next time I make it – yes, there will be a next time – I think I’ll add some green onion with the shredded cheddar on top. And maybe some bacon bits.

Cooking Expertise: I’m really, really good at cooking the following items: Chili, Mexican Bean Dip, Orzo/Cranberry/Spinach salad, Tuna Melts, Frozen Pizza, Mac & Cheese. I can also read, so according to Gusteau (Ratatouille, anyone?), I can cook. Just not very well. Give me my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, butter, eggs, and flour, though, and I can bake just about anything. Just not much that’s healthy or provides any resemblance of nutritional balance.

Running & Athletic Expertise: I started running in organized meets in 7th grade and have run for fitness since then. In college, I rowed for a Division I team, yet managed to graduate with remarkably little knowledge on what types of food would best prepare me for training and competition. Then I turned 30 and started realizing that weight gain was a thing, and that tater tots and beer do not a meal make. Even if they are cajun tots.

Most of what I know about nutrition was learned while I was pregnant and read that I’d have a better chance of raising a healthy kid if I introduced a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and grains as soon as possible. Since then, I’ve realized exactly how delicious things like Brussels sprouts, squash, and red onions can be in their own ways.


racing-weight-cookbookRacing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes that will help athletes hit their ideal weight without compromising performance. The book is the third in the best-selling Racing Weight Series™ and is now available in bookstores; bike, tri, and running shops; and online. Preview the book and try recipes at

About Author

We started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. We also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support local race organizers.

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