Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Skinny-Broccoli-Cheddar-Soup

I have a couple interesting discoveries to share today.

Discovery #1: Broccoli cheddar soup can be a lot healthier and still taste delicious.  (For this soup, I took out all the flour, butter, and cream and thickened the soup with a cauliflower and onion purée.  I loved it, but – to my amazement – it was also 100 percent Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy approved)

beagle-in-drivers-seat

Discovery #2: My beagle Calvin was a race car driver in a former life.

Lately, whenever  we take him along for a drive, he does whatever it takes to get himself from the backseat to the front (pitiful whining and whimpering and throwing himself over any obstacles in his way) so he can take the driver’s seat (blurry photos courtesy of my iPhone).

Perched so he can see through the windshield, taking the wheel with both front paws.

beagle-at-wheel-of-car

Or just one paw if he’s feeling a little more leisurely.

beagle-takes-wheel-of-car

The best part is when this perch gets tiring, in which case Cal gets inventive and uses his nose to help himself balance at the wheel.

If he wasn’t a race car driver, he was surely the proud chauffeur for a very wealthy family.  I’ve never seen Calvin more pleased than when he’s sitting in the driver’s seat.

Skinny-Broccoli-Cheddar-Soup-(Healthy)

But back to the soup, this Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe is my healthier, more veggie-filled version of the hearty, classic winter comfort food.

ingredients

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need.

chopping-onion

Begin by chopping an onion.

No need to spend time perfectly dicing it either – it will be puréed after it’s cooked.

Chopping-Cauliflower

Next, roughly chop some cauliflower.

Place the head of cauliflower right side up on the cutting board and quarter it.

Prepping-cauliflower

This makes it easy to slice off the stem: cut into the first quarter, angling your knife so it removes the core and green leaves without cutting into the florets.

The florets should break apart as you cut out the core.

chopping-broccoli

Grab some fresh broccoli and chop off the stalk so that the florets break apart.

Chopped-Broccoli

Pile up the florets and chop in all directions, cutting the florets into small, bite-sized pieces.

Grated-carrot

Next, grate a carrot.

grated-cheddar-cheese

And puh-lenty of cheddar cheese.

Use the extra sharp kind for the fullest flavor.

saute-onion

Heat some olive oil in a large sauce pot.

Cook the chopped onion for a few minutes, until it begins to soften.

Cooking-Cauliflower

Then add the cauliflower and cook for several minutes more.

When the cauliflower is softened too, turn off the heat.

Add some 1 percent milk and season the mixture with salt and pepper.

 

puree-cauliflower

 

Then grab an immersion hand blender and purée until you’re left with a smooth, creamy mixture.

If you don’t have an immersion hand blender, transfer the mixture to a food processor to purée.

If you want to add an immersion hand blender to your holiday wish list, this is the one I use. It’s worked very well and I’ve found it so useful for adding healthy veggie purées to soups and other dishes. Biggest bonus: it’s about 100 times easier to wash than a food processor.

All the cauliflower in this purée, by the way, adds a ton of healthy nutrition to the soup.  Cauliflower is full of phytochemicals, which protect against cancer and provide strong anti-aging benefits. It also provides lots of filling fiber and Vitamin C.

cooking-broccoli-and-carrots

Next, grab a large stock pot and heat some olive oil over medium heat.

Add the broccoli and cook for a couple of minutes.

Then add the shredded carrots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the veggies are lightly softened.

Cooking-Broccoli-Soup

Add some chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish) and bring it to a boil.

The recipe calls for only 1 1/2 cups of stock, which doesn’t look like much.  But keep in mind that the cauliflower purée will add a lot more “broth” later on.

Immediately reduce the heat to a light simmer and stir in some Dijon mustard, honey, and paprika.

This combo of (healthy) seasonings adds so much flavor to the final dish.

making-cheddar-broccoli-soup

Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the cauliflower purée and the shredded cheddar cheese.

Season to your taste with salt and pepper.

Skinny-Broccoli-Cheddar-Soup-(Healthy)

This is a slightly sneaky dish because you can’t actually taste the healthy cauliflower purée.

But it does add a ton of nutritional value to the soup, along with a surprising amount of rich flavor.

Serving Note: This soup is not starchy enough to hold its consistency when stored and reheated as leftovers. I recommend cutting this recipe in half if you’re only cooking for two.

Skinny-Broccoli-Cheddar-Soup

I’m now convinced that broccoli cheddar soup doesn’t need a ton of butter, flour and cream to taste amazing.

It just needs the right combo of fresh ingredients and flavorful seasonings.

On the next cold, dark, wintry night, pair this soup with some freshly baked bread and let me know if you agree!

Here is the complete printable recipe:

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Healthy Soup
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups 1 percent milk
  • 2 pounds broccoli, stalks removed and florets chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1½ cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • 3 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it's softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook until softened, about 7 minutes more. Add the milk and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Use an immersion hand blender to puree the mixture until it's smooth and creamy (or transfer mixture to a food processor to purée).
  3. Heat 1½ tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the broccoli and shredded carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are softened, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to a light simmer. Stir in the dijon, honey, and paprika. Turn off the heat.
  4. Carefully stir in the cauliflower purée and the shredded cheddar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Comments

  1. says

    I love that you still kept all the cheese! Sometimes I feel like it’s too much to eliminate ALL the “bad” stuff from a recipe…it compromises the taste! This looks great, I’ve been meaning to try cauliflower puree lately on its own but it sounds even better in this :)

  2. says

    Ooooh, broccoli and cheddar is one of my fav combos! Yum! Also, I can’t believe Calvin is the same puppy from your amazing dog biscuits post (I still make those for my guy btw, he loves them!) – he’s grown so much. Still a cutie though :)

  3. Eha says

    Absolutely love the inclusion of honey here: that extra touch! Oh, Calvin, why do I feel he would be better around the wheel than some with whom I drive :) !

  4. says

    Such a good idea to puree the veg! I love broccoli cheddar soup but I usually steer clear and try and be a good girl :) Will have to try your version, this is like the ultimate comfort food

  5. says

    THis looks incredibly delicious. You had me surprised because I totally thought you would have added flour and a little butter to thicken this up, cauliflower is brilliant. Of course, you definitely need lots of cheese to compensate for the lack of butter, but at least it’s good for you. I love this idea, bookmarking it.

  6. says

    We’ve been going soup crazy over here at my house…it’s been pouring down rain for days on end so soup has been hitting the spot. We haven’t made a broccoli cheddar yet and it sounds soooo good! I’ll try your recipe and let you know how it goes!

  7. mjskit says

    I better never find out where you live, because I’ll come and steal Calvin. :) Thanks for the pictures of the little four legged race car driver. Love the broccoli soup recipe. I bet the cauliflower not only adds flavor, but a little thickness for the soup as well. It sounds good to me!

  8. says

    The cheddar plays a big part. I always wondered what type of soup stock is best for soup or risotto. I’ve tried the Knorr’s non-MSG chicken and veggie cubes, they don’t seem to taste right. I must try THIS recipe. I love the creamy cheddar and broccoli in soup.

  9. says

    This recipe sounds fantastic! I love brocolli cheese soup – I’ll definitely have to try this one. And the pictures of Calvin are just adorable!

  10. says

    This soup is a favourite in our house but we don’t eat it too often because it was so high in fat before, thanks for your lighter recipe which I will definitely be trying!!

  11. Natalia says

    I’d love to try this recipe, but was actually hoping to make it as a make-ahead lunch to bring to work – would the consistency be way too off for me to try??

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says

      Hmmm, I think it will depend on your taste and you may like this soup as leftovers (I don’t love it as leftovers myself). I think it may be worth trying, especially if you eat a bowl fresh on the day that you make it (when it tastes best).
      I do have a couple of other soups that I think hold up a bit better as leftovers: Creamy Chicken Florentine, as well as 8-Veggie Soup. :)

  12. amy says

    just wondering what you recommend as a substitute for mustard in this soup. neither my husband or i like the taste of mustard, and i’m always wondering what to replace it with in recipes.
    thanks!

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says

      My best suggestion for this soup as a substitute for mustard would be turmeric (maybe about 2 teaspoons) and white wine vinegar (maybe about 2-3 teaspoons). These two things combined should help season the soup a bit if you’re leaving out the mustard.

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says

      I know everyone has their own tastes, but in this case I do recommend puréeing the cauliflower-cheese mixture. This will provide the thick, rich consistency you’d want in a broccoli cheddar soup.

  13. Kate says

    Using the base of this recipe to make a healthy zucchini and corn queso chowder tonight! It smells so good. Thanks for the idea!!

  14. Elle says

    Made this for supper last night and although I’ll have to tweak it a bit, I really enjoyed it (and hubby ate it too, which was a shock). For some reason the cauliflower puree and veg. broth didn’t mix well and it was more of a veg. broth with cauliflower puree bits mixed in. I didn’t mind it, but it wasn’t creamy as it was intended. Perhaps an immersion blender would help (just used a food processor).

    Thanks for the recipe!

  15. says

    Thank you for this recipe! Just made it today and LOVE it!! Just starting to venture into the world of making stuff with cauliflower puree… this was spot on!

  16. Brenda says

    I just made this soup and loved it. Added some crispy leftover ham bits as a garnish on my husband’s portion – very tasty and good way to get some good veggies in!

  17. Maggs says

    Can I add cut up chicken breast to this recipe? I love the idea of pureed cauliflower! Do the leftovers separate too much?

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says

      Yes, I think chicken would work well in this recipe. Season the cubed chicken with salt and pepper and brown it in a bit of olive oil in the large stock pot first before you start cooking the broccoli and carrots. Then scoop it out of the pot, transfer it to a bowl and cover with foil. Add a bit more oil to the pan and follow the recipe from there, cooking the broccoli and carrots and so on. Add the cooked chicken back in at the end, when you’re adding the cauliflower purée and cheddar.

      And yes, you’re right, I’ve found that the leftovers separate. Mainly, it seems, because the cauliflower contains so much water.

  18. Michelle says

    Total cook time of 40 minutes? 2 and a half hours late I am exhausted, but the soup is really yummy and fits the bill for the next week of lunches.

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says

      To all beginner cooks who may happen to read this: the prep work does get easier with time, much easier! I remember one of my first Rachael Ray “30-minute meals” took me 1 1/2 hours to complete. With practice, though, the process speeds up and gets a lot more fun along the way too! :)
      Time Savers for this recipe that save tons of prep work: try a bagged, pre-shredded organic sharp cheddar cheese 2) try chopped frozen cauliflower florets (thawed in the microwave) 3) try chopped frozen broccoli florets (thaw in microwave and just be sure to chop them up into smaller, bite-size pieces before adding to the soup) 4) buy bagged, shredded carrots.

  19. Lynette Farrand says

    First of all, made this for dinner last night for extended family and everyone LOVED it. (Makes the hubby nervous when I prepare brand new recipes for guests – you’d think he’d be use to it by now.) As far as leftovers, I wish I could tell you what I did differently, but mine didn’t separate and is just as delicious as last night, if not more so because the flavors have melded. For convenience sake, I did buy frozen cauliflower & broccoli (and used sliced onions I had in the freezer). I kinda did a double recipe, but didn’t measure anything. It was really thick, so I probably didn’t end up adding as much milk as the recipe called for, maybe that accounted for no separation. But it was (and still is) really, really yummy!!

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