Broccoli Cheese Soup {Healthy}

Broccoli Cheese Soup {Healthy and Easy}

One more soup, before we head for spring?

Despite my public affection for kale, broccoli was probably my first green veggie love. When I was young, my brother and I would split the broccoli duties: I would eat the florets, and he would take the stalk. Don’t take this to mean we got along, this is just how we got through dinner.

As further evidence, I recently found a picture a friend drew for me during a college summer program to cheer me up when I was sick, featuring a “Broccoli Tree.” I don’t remember what that was all about, but it no doubt resulted from some sort of combination of our summer-long capers in the Harvard cafeteria, intertwined with my love for broccoli.

Broccoli Cheese Soup {Healthy and Easy}

I love a good broccoli-cheese soup, but I don’t like thinking about my arteries sobbing softly to themselves as the rest of me dives in to the creamy, cheesy concoction. The “broccoli” in most variations is just a trick to get you to think the dish is healthy, like Palak Chaat (= deep. fried. spinach.) from a favorite local Indian restaurant, Rasika. Is it a “green vegetable side”? Er, no. Leave the deep-frying for potatoes, please (and then, feel free to deep-fry them all day long).

This recipe eliminates all the guilt and leaves me with a pot full of healthy, flavorful soup that I feel good about eating; sure, it is thinner than a broccoli-cheese soup you would order at a restaurant, but it doesn’t weigh you down after a bowl (or two) in the same way that a creamier, cheesier soup would. And the little kick of cayenne? Yes, please.

Broccoli Cheese Soup {Healthy and Easy}

This simple soup recipe follows a typical soup trajectory – saute/cook base ingredients, combine everything and simmer, then blend. It is easy to plan for or to recall the key ingredients at the store; namely, one crown of broccoli, one potato, chicken broth/stock, skim milk, and sharp cheddar cheese.

Broccoli Cheese Soup {Healthy and Easy}

Zest some cheese over the top – this is one of my tricks for using less cheese but still getting the flavor – and enjoy. The original recipe calls for bacon to be crumbled over the soup, but that changes the flavor palette, to me. If you are looking for a healthy thick soup on which to crumble bacon, may I suggest this Creamy Baked Potato Soup. Let’s stick with broccoli and cheese here.

Broccoli Cheese Soup {Healthy and Easy}

Broccoli Cheese Soup {Healthy}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A lightened-up take on a cheesy classic.
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 large crown of broccoli, florets chopped into 1" pieces, stem peeled with a veggie peeler and sliced into .5" chunks
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut in to .5 - 1" dice
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • .5 t dry mustard {this is a spice, not liquid refrigerator-door material}
  • .5 t kosher salt
  • dash of cayenne powder (= ⅛ t, or less if you're not the type)
  • 2 T flour
  • 2.5 c low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • .75 c skim milk
  • 4 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • more sharp cheddar cheese, zested, for topping
  1. Fill a large dutch oven or soup pot with enough water to have 1" of water in the pot.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Drop in the broccoli, and cook for about 30 seconds (it should turn bright green). Don't over-cook it, you will be simmering it for a while down the road.
  4. Immediately drain and rinse the broccoli with cold water, and set it aside.
  5. Return the pot to the stove top and heat over medium-high.
  6. Melt the butter in the pot.
  7. Add the potato and onion, and saute for 5 minutes (the onion will become translucent).
  8. Add the garlic and stir and cook until you can smell it cooking (about 30 seconds).
  9. Stir in the dry mustard, salt, and cayenne.
  10. Add the flour and stir again.
  11. Pour in the chicken or veggie broth and add the broccoli florets.
  12. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  13. Cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until you can pierce the potato with a fork.
  14. Pour in the milk and add the cheese. Stir until everything has combined and the cheese has melted.
  15. In two batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and process with a few long pulses. If you would like your soup smoother, pulse for longer.
  16. The soup is now ready! Either transfer back into the pot to keep warm or serve, or transfer to a pitcher with a snap-top lid for storage. Leave the lid off until the soup cools.

Broccoli Cheese Soup {Healthy and Easy}Adapted from

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