Broccoli cheese soup is such a classic, but this preparation is especially easy…on the eyes. While it may look fancy, there’s nothing fussy about it. Just think of it as the more uplifting version of the classic. It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s light, not to mention totally makeshift for your preferences.
And that vibrant chartreuse color? Totally intentional.
You could add the broccoli in the beginning, but you lose so much of the nutrients and that verdant green, so I recommend adding the broccoli at the last minute for more oo-la-la and less blah.
Even if you’ve never made soup, you will breeze through this recipe, all in 1-pot! So, if you have an especially hectic schedule…this one will help you work some vegetables into life. I’m talking onion, carrot, celery, and (of course) broccoli.
Healthy Broccoli Soup That’s Allergy Friendly and Adaptable for Cheese Lovers
You can swirl in as little or as much cheese fix-ins at the end, so it’s incredibly adaptable for families with allergies or preferences. I’ve made this soup vegan, gluten free, paleo, aip (no potatoes) with vegetable or chicken stock. It’s plenty good with or without cheese, making it significantly healthier than your standard broccoli cheddar soup from Panera.
What’s the best cheese for broccoli cheese soup?
I like freshly grated sharp cheddar or straight Parmesan best, but you could also try Gruyere or cream cheese. You could even swirl in nutritional yeast for a dairy free cheese-like flavor. I know some people like a little heavy cream too, but I like how buttermilk gives a slightly acidic flavor to lighten things up a bit, making for a pretty swirl (pictured below).
For an elegant dinner, a soup course is really nice. As a side or appetizer, just serve in small bowls. For a main course, I love to load up a big bowl with all the fix-ins and plenty of crusty bread for dipping like this Irish soda bread. It would also pair nicely with a simple savory main like these roasted chicken thighs.
Broccoli Cream Soup With or Without Texture
By adding a little starchy potato, you can achieve a thick and creamy blended consistency without all the heaviness associated with cream soup. Before blending the broccoli, I like to reserve a handful of the florets for a little textural contrast (pictured below). Then, I just layer a small amount of dairy right at the end for more impact.
And, while I haven’t tested this yet with frozen broccoli florets, they should work equally well (so let me know if you try it).
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Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1 head broccoli, 4-5 cups florets
- 1/2 an onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 ½ tsp salt
- 1 small potato
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, optional
- buttermilk, optional
- Remove the broccoli stem and roughly chop the flower into small florets. Set aside. Chop the onion, celery, and carrots to form a mirepoix. Warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mirepoix and salt. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent browning.
- Peel and chop the potato and garlic and stir into the mirepoix. Saute until softened, stirring occasionally, 6 minutes.
- Add vegetable/chicken broth and simmer 10 minutes then turn off heat. Scoop the simmered vegetables with a slotted spoon along with two cups of broth into a blender. Add 3 cups of broccoli florets (reserving 1 cup for texture) and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Return the blended soup to the pot along with remaining 1 cup florets. Bring to a simmer and turn off heat to preserve the green color. Ladle into bowls and grate in cheese. Top with a spoonful of buttermilk and create a swirl for a gourmet presentation. Store and refrigerate leftovers in the dutch oven for easy reheating for up to 3 days.
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