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You're looking for a soup that's rich, comforting, and, duh, full of cheese, but not one that's going to put you to sleep immediately following your meal. We got you. Our better-than-ever broccoli cheddar is lighter, brighter, and less gloppy than the kind you'd find in your corporate cafeteria, with creaminess that comes from blended potatoes and broccoli stalks rather than heavy cream. Because we missed the bread bowl (how you could blame us?), we added something even better and a little more reasonable: cheddar cheesy croutons for every bowl.
Halve 2 onions. Peel and coarsely chop. Peel and smash 4 garlic cloves, then coarsely chop. No need to break out your best knife skills because it’s all going to get blended, but try to cut everything into somewhat even pieces so they cook at the same rate.
Melt 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes; season with salt and black pepper. Stir to combine, then cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to take on color, 8–10 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim bottoms of 2 heads of broccoli, then peel. Separate hefty stalks from florets (the thin, little stalks attached to broccoli tops are fine to leave attached to the crowns). Set aside florets. Coarsely chop stalks into 1"–2" pieces. Peel 1 medium russet potato. Coarsely chop into 1"–2" pieces.
Add broccoli stalks and potato pieces to pot and stir to coat in butter. Pour in 5 cups water, add 1 Tbsp. salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and keep at a simmer. Cover pot and cook until broccoli stalks and potatoes are completely tender (test with a cake tester, paring knife, or fork), 20–25 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop reserved florets into small pieces (you can take the time to separate them into baby florets or just have at them with your chef’s knife). Grate 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater. You should have about 2 1/2 cups.
Add half of florets to pot, cover, and cook until bright green, 3–5 minutes. Transfer to a blender, let cool for 5 minutes, and purée until smooth. Some blender advice: Don't fill your blender more than halfway—work in batches as necessary. To avoid explosions, remove the center lid from the blender and cover with a kitchen towel. Alternatively, use an immersion blender. Your soup won’t be quite as smooth, but it will still be great. Return purée to pot.
Return to medium heat and add remaining florets. Cover pot and cook until bright green, another 3–5 minutes. Add 2 cups cheddar cheese and stir until smooth. Cover and reduce heat to low; set aside while you make the cheddar croutons.
Heat broiler. Broil 4 thick slices rustic white bread on a rimmed baking sheet until lightly browned (watch closely: broilers vary dramatically in power!), 2–3 minutes. Turn bread over (soft side up), then sprinkle with reserved cheddar cheese and a few flecks of red pepper flakes. Continue to broil until cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, 2–3 more minutes.
Remove soup from heat and stir in ½ cup plain Greek yogurt. Season generously with black pepper; taste for salt.
Cut cheese toasts into 1" (spoon-sized!) pieces. Divide soup among bowls. Top with cheddar croutons.
Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup Your Ultimate Comfort Food
This homemade broccoli cheddar soup is creamy and extraordinarily rich in flavor. It’s a family favorite and ultimate comfort food. Ready in 30 minutes!
If you are craving for the Panera version, this is the only recipe you will ever need on how to make broccoli cheddar soup Panera style!
I genuinely love this soup especially in the cold winter months but since all the ingredients you need are available all year round, why not make this as often as you want.
Of course, this is not my original recipe. This is actually a remake of this recipe for broccoli cheddar soup. I modified some of the ingredients according to my palate. Hopefully, my take on this soup works for you.
Broccoli cheddar soup or broccoli cheese soup is a soup dish that is prepped using cheese as the number 1 ingredient. Cheese is what makes this dish so tasty and cream is what it makes creamy along with the broth. For this recipe, you need cheddar in ample amounts either shredded or grated.
One thing I like about this soup is the number of ways you can cook it. You may choose to prepare this in a pot on a stovetop, in a crockpot slow cooker, or even in an instant pot.
This soup is perfect with butter toast. You can make butter toast by melting butter in the microwave, soak in the bread, and toast in a pan or oven.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Gently fry the onion, leek and garlic, stirring from time to time to make sure they cook evenly, for about 10 minutes or until the onion and garlic have softened.
Add the potato and broccoli stalk to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the stock and bay leaf. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, half cover the pan with a lid and bring to a very gentle simmer. Continue to simmer the soup for about 20 minutes until the potato and broccoli stalks are tender.
Remove the bay leaf and add the remaining chopped broccoli and milk to the pan. Stir well and continue to cook for another 3–5 minutes until the broccoli is tender. This timing will depend on the size of your broccoli pieces – be careful not to overcook the broccoli, it should still retain its vibrant green colour. Add the cheddar, stir to combine and then blend the soup until smooth using a stick blender.
Taste and add more seasoning, if needed, before spooning into bowls and topping with crisp croûtons and crumbled blue cheese.
Stilton is commonly used for its strength and salinity, but milder blue cheeses work really well too!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Garlic Brown Butter Croutons
What a surprise. I’m sharing another soup recipe with you today. How original.
I think I’ve been averaging one soup recipe a week on here this winter. It’s getting kind of obnoxious. I can’t help myself! It’s a reflection of real life. We eat soup EVERY SINGLE WEEK. As I’ve said many times before, it’s a go-to for me in the chilly months. It’s easy to throw together and covers us for a few meals which makes it perfect for the workweek. As I mentioned last time, I’m still getting over a nasty head cold, so this sort of thing is even more up my alley now than usual (and that’s saying something!). Soup is all I have an appetite for these days. Well, soup and this ice cream.
That said, I still cannot WAIT for warmer weather. This past weekend was such a tease! The temperatures were near 60 degrees and the sun was shining bright all weekend. Gorgeous. Made me want to eat my weight in fresh caprese salad and bowls upon bowls of guacamole (and, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I succumbed to the latter craving on Sunday). But now, we’re back into the 20’s and 30’s with snow flurries and runny noses (Sorry. Maybe that’s just me. I’m gross.). Sigh. A few more weeks of winter are left. Hence, more soup recipes are coming your way.
This particular recipe was inspired by my favorite Panera Bread soup: the broccoli-cheddar. No matter what my original intention is when I first walk into that place, I always end up ordering the broccoli-cheddar soup. I can’t help it. It’s so cheesy, creamy, and comforting. Paired with a light salad (or a gooey panini), it makes the perfect lunch. Love it.
I wanted to try recreating it at home. This is what I came up with, and I think I represented PB pretty well in my home kitchen. It tastes pretty darn close to the original! I tried to remember all the flavors and textures of the version I know and love, and mimicked them the best I could. I did add a little fontina cheese to the mix because, well, it’s one of the best cheeses on this planet and I wanted the soup to be extra creamy and gooey. Fontina is perfect for that. It melts like a dream. The cheddar definitely shines through, though! You need a good sharp cheddar for this one, folks. Otherwise, you’ll end up with something kind of flat tasting. Invest in a good hunk of cheddar. You won’t be sorry.
And then, because I’m so predictable, I topped the soup with croutons. I know. I’ve already told you guys a million times that I love texture in my soups, but this one really is such an incredible combo. Crunchy buttery nuggets of bread floating in a bowl of melted cheese. Hah. Oh yeah, and broccoli. Let’s not forget the broccoli. Cheese and broccoli just belong together, don’t they? My mom rarely served us broccoli with cheese sauce (for health reasons, I’m sure), but when she did, it was basically the best thing ever (aside from her killer mac & cheese). Even my sister, Rosie, aka the Pickiest Eater on Earth, would eat the green stuff if it was covered in a river of melted cheese. Can’t blame her there.
Creamy Broccoli Soup with Cheesy “Everything” Spiced Croutons
Nothing quite beats a creamy, luxurious soup that tastes like it has cream in it, but in actuality relies on vegetables for its body and texture. Yup, this soup requires no roux. It’s pretty much a dump and cook kind of soup with a little puréeing at the end. It’s. That. Easy.
This soup came about in part because I was on a puréed soup kick (I made many variations of this soup), but mostly because G loves roasted broccoli (thank God, it’s so easy). I like to roast the florets and reserve the stalks for snacking on and dipping, but one can only eat so many toot-inducing stalks before enough is enough. So we had A LOT of broccoli stalks piling up in the fridge.
“Aha! These stalks could make another fabulous puréed soup!” I didn’t have to turn around to know Greg was rolling his eyes. Obviously I threw caution to the wind and ignored him.
And damn, I’m glad I did. This soup is my kind of comfort food. It’s a two-bowl kind of soup, creamy, comforting, and leaves you feeling satisfied but not weighed down. It's finished with Cheesy “Everything” Spiced Croutons—and more broccoli—to bring the meal full circle.
What to serve with broccoli cheddar soup
I like to serve my soup up with an extra sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a couple grinds of black pepper. It’s also delicious topped with croutons or even diced ham!
If you’re looking to bulk the meal up with a couple of side dishes or extras, here are some yummy ideas!
Aside from the croutons, this soup likes crusty, toasted walnut bread, or olive bread. It likes a good sheep feta in place of cheddar if that's what you happen to have on hand, or a kiss of harissa whisked into a bit of olive oil. I know people like to pair broccoli with blue cheese. Personally, I find that to be over-powering, but if you really love blue cheese, that might be another direction to explore. If you have any other ideas, let me hear them - I make this soup often enough that I need fresh angles to work!
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Broccoli Soup Health Benefits
Our Broccoli Almond Soup recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of leeks can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
An excellent source of bone-strengthening vitamin K and immune-boosting vitamin C, broccoli is also rich in a group of phytochemicals that may help protect against several types of cancer.
Containing more protein, fibre, vitamin E and calcium that other nuts, almonds may reduce the risk of heart disease, keep your bones healthy, and help your body absorb essential nutrients.
Celery is a great source of antioxidants, reduces inflammation and supports digestions.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Nutmeg is said to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function and improve blood circulation.
Serve Broccoli Almond Soup in large bowls and garnish with aged cheddar cheese and roasted broccoli florets.
Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Croutons
Cheesy, creamy broccoli soup is a family-friendly dish that's a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. The crispy Cheddar croutons add a satisfying crunch. For a lighter finish, replace the sour cream with Greek yogurt.
- 1 broccoli
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 leeks (white and light green parts only) sliced
- 2 yellow-fleshed potatoes (about 450 g total) peeled and (cut in 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes
- 4 garlic sliced
- 3/4 teaspoons dried savory
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 pkg (900 ml) sodium-reduced vegetable broth
- 1 cup shredded extra-old white Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 3 cups cubed (1/2 inch/1 cm) baguette (about one-third baguette)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup shredded extra-old white Cheddar cheese
Nutritional facts per each of 8 servings: about
- Fibre 4 g
- Sodium 31 mg
- Sugars 5 g
- Protein 11 g
- Calories 279.0
- Total fat 13 g
- Potassium 550 mg
- Cholesterol 31 mg
- Saturated fat 7 g
- Total carbohydrate 32 g
- Iron 21.0
- Folate 43.0
- Calcium 24.0
- Vitamin A 36.0
- Vitamin C 72.0
Broccoli Soup: Cut stem from broccoli head cut head into florets to yield 5 cups. Trim bottom end from stem peel outer layer. Slice stem to yield 3/4 cup. Set aside.
In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat cook leeks, potatoes and broccoli stem, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened, about 12 minutes. Add garlic, savory and mustard cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in broth and 2 cups water bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in broccoli florets simmer until broccoli stems and potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in Cheddar until melted stir in parsley.
Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. Pour into clean Dutch oven or large saucepan heat over medium-low. Whisk in sour cream, salt and pepper cook until heated through. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.)
Cheddar Croutons: While soup is simmering, in bowl, toss baguette with oil to coat. Arrange in single layer on parchment paper&ndashlined baking sheet sprinkle with Cheddar. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven, turning once, until baguette is golden and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Break apart croutons serve over soup.
Tip from The Test Kitchen: When blending a hot soup, work in small batches and remove the vent from your blender lid, covering the hole with a folded tea towel to relieve any pressure caused by escaping steam.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This Broccoli Cheddar Soup is creamy and delicious…and it’s a favorite for these cold winter days!
Excuse me, sir, would you like some cheese soup with that broccoli? Why, yes, yes I would! Broccoli is one of those funny vegetables. It gets a bad rap from years and years of parents saying, “Now you have to eat all of your broccoli before you can get up from the table.” (I feel like that statement is immediately followed by the family dog getting some “treats” under the table…)
Or there is the whole ‘cover broccoli with melted cheese’ thing. I mean if you ever need to make something more delicious, just cover it with melted cheese. Success! Who doesn’t like melted cheese? Unless we’re talking about chocolate cake. But, then again, why would you need melted cheese for chocolate cake…the cake is already delicious enough as it is.
I’m one of those weird kids who liked broccoli. My Mom didn’t have to cover it with cheese or tell me it’s like a dinosaur eating a tree. I just liked it. And get this…I liked it raw the most! And now that I’m older, one of my favorite snacks is a classic veggie dip with a whole plate of raw broccoli. Man, I can tear that one up! Followed by a piece of chocolate cake, of course. Because it’s chocolate cake.
Today’s recipe is along the lines of broccoli covered in melted cheese…but it’s reversed. It’s melted cheese (in soup form) with a bunch of broccoli in it. And this Broccoli Cheddar Soup is amazing! It’s packed with flavor, and I could hardly wait for dinner last week when I knew we had leftovers of this one sitting in the fridge. We served up small bowls of this soup alongside some toasted garlic bread and a side salad. Epic winter comfort food right there!
I recall ordering broccoli cheddar soup at a restaurant once, and I recall not liking it very much. It was this strange combination of cheese and broth…and the two didn’t quite mix together very well. But this at home version is legit, y’all! And, honestly, it doesn’t take that long to make a pot of this Broccoli Cheddar Soup. You could even make this for a weeknight dinner. However, like all soups, this one tastes better the next day after all of the flavors have had a chance to meld overnight. I’ve even been known to make soup the day before and put it straight into the fridge…just to eat it in leftover form!
Since this soup is loaded with delicious cheddar flavor, do me a favor and use a good cheddar cheese, ok? I personally prefer using Cabot’s Extra Sharp Cheddar when cooking. Cabot describes this one as ‘sharp cheddar without the training wheels,’ and they are totally right. I love, love, love sharp cheddar cheese, and it was a real battle to make sure all of that cheese ended up in the Broccoli Cheddar Soup instead of in my mouth. (I might have cheated just a little…)
Oh, and while we’re talking favors…do me another favor and shred your own cheese for this soup. Grab a block of sharp cheddar and grate it up at home. It will melt better than pre-shredded cheese, and that will lead to a creamier soup. (I suspect this may have been the problem with that restaurant version that I ordered a while back…)
If you’re anything like us, then you’re hunkered down by the fireplace trying to stay warm this winter. Well take that fireplace day to a whole new level with a bowl of this Broccoli Cheddar Soup! Stay warm, my friends!