Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup
Delicious healthy broccoli cheese soup that's creamy, packed with cheddar cheese flavor, and just as tasty as the original version but with half the calories.
As much as I love buying fresh veggies at the farmer’s market, with colder weather and winter approaching it isn’t always easy (or affordable) to find your favorite fruits and veggies. Luckily when that happens, I know I can turn to frozen fruits and vegetables to get the same nutritional punch.
That’s why today I wanted to share a delicious recipe for Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup made with frozen broccoli. There are a few things I love about this recipe that make it quicker and healthier than a traditional broccoli cheddar soup. For starters, not having to wash and chop 6 cups of broccoli florets saved lots of prep time and cost about half as much. Plus, this soup is packed with delicious broccoli and cheddar flavor but without all the fat and calories.
As you probably know, typically broccoli and cheese soup is packed with cream and more cheese than necessary. For this recipe, in order to cut calories, save time, and add nutrients I used extra frozen broccoli, evaporated skim milk, and just 1 cup of extra sharp, full flavor cheddar cheese to create lots of flavor.
And bonus news? This recipe freezes great so make up a big batch.
How do you make a healthier broccoli cheese soup?
Making this soup is so much easier thanks to the help of frozen veggies!
First, you want to heat the olive oil over medium heat in a soup pot. Next, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook this all together for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
Add the broccoli and broth to the pot. Bring it all to a simmer and cook for about another 10 minutes or until the broccoli is tender as well.
Finally, turn off the heat and stir in the milk and cheese. Keep stirring it continuously until the cheese is completely melted. Take out half of the soup and blend it in a blender, adding it back to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to blend up about half of it.) This creates a creamier consistency.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Can I add cauliflower or other vegetables?
Absolutely! This soup can work great with lots of different vegetables or combinations of vegetables. Consider using cauliflower florets, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, or even spinach. Just make sure to choose a vegetable that has a flavor you enjoy since the veggie flavor is a large component of the soup.
What to serve with broccoli cheese soup?
There are so many different options to serve with this warm and comforting broccoli soup. From traditional options like crusty bread to some extra protein or greens, here are some favorites:
- There is nothing better than dipping crusty bread in soup so reach for some crusty whole grain bread to dip in the cheesy soup.
- Soup and salad is a natural pairing so consider serving this alongside a yummy Kale Caesar Salad or a simple salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
- Make a sandwich to serve on the side, like this Healthy Chicken Salad or Tuna Salad.
- If you want to make the soup itself more filling and hearty, consider adding in some cooked whole grain pasta, chickpeas, rice, quinoa, or farro.
How to make this low carb or keto friendly?
For a lower carb version of this broccoli soup, use whole fat evaporated milk or swap in half and half or cream. Skim evaporated milk has more carbohydrates than some of the higher fat alternatives, so it's an easy swap to reduce the total number of carbs.
Can this be made with fresh broccoli?
This recipe will work with fresh or frozen broccoli. Normally I opt for frozen since it saves on prep time, but both options work great. Just make sure the broccoli is soft and tender before blending.
Is broccoli soup good for you?
Most of the time, broccoli cheese soup isn't the healthiest option since it has lots of cheese and heavy cream. This version is lightened up with evaporated skim milk and less cheese. It also uses extra vegetables that are blended to create some of the creaminess in the soup.
Is frozen broccoli bad for you?
No, as I said above, frozen broccoli, and frozen vegetables, in general, are just as healthy as the fresh stuff. Frozen broccoli has just as many vitamins and minerals as fresh broccoli. When it's frozen, it's just been "paused" as they say, stopped in time, but nothing is diminished, nutritionally.
So go ahead, load up on those frozen veggies and use them often — they're good for your health and an important part of a nutritious diet.
Let’s talk about frozen fruits and vegetables for a minute. Contrary to popular belief, a University of California, Davis, study revealed that frozen fruits and vegetables are generally as rich in nutrients, and often more so, than their fresh counterparts. They found that freezing is basically nature’s “pause button.” When produce is picked at its peak ripeness, this locks in nutrient value, which means it is just as healthy as when it is fresh.
Moreover, buying frozen produce can help to reduce costs and save time. Frozen produce is often much less expensive than “out of season” fresh produce and there is no worrying about your produce spoiling before you use it. It’s also much more convenient in some recipes.
Is frozen broccoli already cooked?
Some frozen food companies do partially cook the veggies before freezing them using a method called blanching. The purpose of blanching vegetables is to stop enzymes from breaking down the vegetables (which can cause them to become mushy or flavorless) and locks in their bright color. Blanching also cleans the surface of the veggies from dirt and organisms.
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Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup
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- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 20 oz. frozen broccoli florets
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup canned evaporated nonfat milk
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Salt and pepper
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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