Broccoli is cooked with vegetables like carrots and aromatics like garlic and onion to make a flavorful and comforting soup. Cheddar makes it a creamy and cheesy soup, while herbs add flavor. Broccoli cheddar soup can convert any broccoli hater into submission.
This broccoli cheese soup recipe displays the power of alchemy. Take an unappetizing vegetable like broccoli, which many run away from, and turn it into the most delicious, creamy, and appetizing yellow soup. Seriously, why wasn't I introduced to broccoli in this fashion?
Cooking the broccoli in the soup makes it tender, and since it cooks in all the aromatics and cheese, the broccoli florets get flavorful and tasty. The cheddar cheese makes the soup makes it a comfort food on cold nights.
There is not much prep other than chopping broccoli and vegetables like carrots, and this flavorful soup takes just 30 minutes to make on the stovetop.
Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable and, along with others, makes this soup healthy and nutrition rich. It is packed with carbohydrates, fiber, and other minerals. The cheese in the soup has fat and protein and can be high in calories; decent portions will be healthy for you, and you will not have to worry if it might fatten you.
Cheddar cheese is used here as it is high in moisture and has a low melting point making it ideal for melting easily while cooking the soup and making it creamy. It has a sharp flavor profile and is easily available.
The Broccoli cheddar soup recipe, along with the two main ingredients as part of its name, needs a few aromatics, spices, and herbs for flavor. These are everyday pantry ingredients and are not difficult to find. The roux needs just ingredients to thicken the soup.
Broccoli - Your best chance lies in the winter seasonal produce. Get broccoli that has uniform green and closed florets. The stems should be firm and, overall, should not feel slippery. Chop broccoli into small florets, which are easier to chew, and also one spoonful of the soup should have the creamy soup along with small florets.
Grated Carrot - Grating carrots into long thin slices makes for easy cooking and eating.
Diced onion & Minced Garlic - usual aromatics used in most dishes that require sauteeing.
Bay leaf - a spice used for its aroma.
Half & half - is half heavy cream and half whole milk, adding a creamy texture to the soup.
Mustard powder - adds a slightly pungent yet heightened aroma to the soup.
Black pepper & salt - Pepper is added for that little heat. You may start with a little and sprinkle more if you like it. Salt balances all the flavors.
Cheddar Cheese - is a sharp flavorful cheese. You may get pre-shredded cheese for convenience. Makes a world of difference to a normal vegetable soup. Gruyere and fontina are other suitable alternatives that melt easily.
To make the Roux
Roux is made as a base to thicken the soup and uses -
Butter - to be melted and is the source of fat.
All-purpose flour - widely used for thickening sauces and gravies.
Chicken Stock - used for both as additional fat and the flavor to the base. Vegetarians can use vegetable stock.
Substitution & Additions
Vegetables - That is all I added to the soup. You may add vegetables like red peppers or Spinach.
Chicken broth - The chicken broth is a very good substitute for stock. The broth is made of chicken pieces, unlike the stock, which is made of bones. Homemade broth is preferable over store-bought ones if you can make out time to make it.
Onion and garlic powders - A lazy and quicker way to make the base is to use onion powder and garlic powder. This will make your work easier by compromising on a bit of flavor. Also, sauteeing freshly chopped onion and garlic give a body to the soup that powders cannot provide.
Vegetarian soup? - you can easily make a vegetarian version of this soup using vegetable stock. Get a store-bought one or make one easily at home but do not forget to include mushrooms while making stock(if you like them), as they impart the most flavor.
How to make broccoli cheddar soup
Prep the broccoli
It would be best if you chopped the broccoli into small florets. Makes for quicker cooking and easier eating. One way to turn people away from broccoli forever is to have them chew up large florets.
Add boiling hot water to it and let them soften up for a minute. Strain the hot water away and keep the broccoli aside.
Alternatively, you can also microwave the broccoli for a minute. It should do the job of making it easier to cook while making the soup.
Make the roux
Roux is made as a base of the soup and helps it thicken. Roux is made by slowly whisking flour in butter and stirring in the stock. It forms a creamy mixture to which we add the rest of the ingredients.
Start, on medium heat, by melting butter in a pan. Saute diced onion, minced garlic, and bay leaf until the onion softens.
Switch to low heat, stir in the flour, and cook for a minute while taking care not to burn it. Add chicken stock slowly while stirring to avoid forming any lumps. Stir in Half and half, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Cook to a soup
Add the softened broccoli florets and grated carrots and keep it simmering for 5 minutes. The florets should have been cooked by now. Next, add shredded cheddar cheese and mix it with the soup.
Serve & enjoy!
You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for four days. It tastes great on the second day as it absorbs all the flavors and seems settled. Do so in air-tight containers. You can also freeze it in the freezer for weeks.
If you plan to freeze it, I recommend not adding the stock and freezing them separately. When serving, take them out of the freezer and defrost them, add the stock later, and simmer it for 15 minutes.
This salad with cheese and veggies is a fulfilling meal if you want to take it lightly. You can also go with salads, bread, or other sides.
Salads - Serve with a fresh salad like this Asian Cucumber Salad or any salad with a lemon or vinaigrette base.
Meat - meatballs go well with this creamy salad, like this Chicken Meatball in Plum Sauce. Also, you may pair it with grilled recipes like Easy Grilled Chicken with Buttermilk Marinade, Grilled Rosemary Chicken Kebabs, or Grilled Shrimp.
Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup
- Soup Pot or Dutch oven
- Ladle to stir, mix and serve
- 2 medium heads Broccoli
- 1 large carrot grated
- 3 tablespoons Butter
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 medium Onion
- 2 teaspoon minced Garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1.5 cup Chicken Stock
- 2 cups Half & half
- 1 teaspoon Mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1.5 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Roughly chop broccoli. Add boiling hot water to it and let it stay for a minute. Then drain and keep aside.
Cook the roux
- In a deep soup pot or dutch oven melt butter. Saute onion, minced garlic, and bay leaf until the onion has softened.
- Stir in the flour and cook for a minute on low heat, taking care not to burn.
- Add chicken stock slowly to the pot and keep stirring to avoid any lump formation.
Make the soup
- Stir in the half and half, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Bring everything to a simmer.
- Add broccoli florets and grated carrot, and keep it simmering for 5 minutes. The florets should have been cooked by now. Next, add shredded cheddar cheese and mix it with the soup.
- Serve it in soup bowls.