Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Thank you for all the well wishes, everyone — I really appreciate them :). I was planning to head to Cincinnati today to celebrate my friend’s birthday with her. Needless to say, I had to give her a rain check. 🙁 I braved going out to dinner with Mr. Prevention last night — Mexican. I’ll spare you the details (good food ahead!). I am following up with my primary care physician on Monday and will bring her the notes I’ve been taking regarding my symptoms, severity, etc.


On a completely unrelated note, the tease of spring didn’t last long here in central Ohio and when I saw this slime green-colored soup, I was very intrigued and developed an instantaneous craving.

I’ll be honest, it took me a LONG time to try a Green Monster (a fruit smoothie with plentiful amounts of fresh spinach thrown in, turning the smoothie a vibrant green color). I’m someone who gives high marks on the looks of food, even though that is far from fair. Some of the best meals churned out in this kitchen have been the ugliest.

When I hear of Broccoli-Cheddar Soup, I think of Panera’s version. Sadly, 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) comes in at 290 calories, 16 grams of fat (9 g. saturated), 1540 mg. sodium, 24 g. carbohydrate, and 7 g. fiber. Not that the soup isn’t delicious, but 9 grams of saturated fat and 1540 mg. sodium? Eek.

This version (for the same portion size) comes in at 191 calories (33% less), 9 g. fat (44% less), 781 mg. sodium (49% less), and 7.9 g. fiber (12% more). And the taste? Delicious!!

Sold!

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Broccoli-Cheddar Soup adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March/April 2011 and Pink Parsley

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 1/2-3 cups water
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 oz baby spinach (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) 2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, onion, dry mustard, cayenne, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli and onion are fragrant and slightly softened, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and baking soda. Cover dutch oven and cook until the broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring periodically, scraping the bottom.

Add the broth and 1 cup of water, and bring to a simmer. Add the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Puree soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Return soup back to the pot, and bring to a light simmer. Thin the soup out with the remaining water, if necessary (I didn’t use this last bit of water). Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. Yield: 7 1/2 cups (~6 servings, 1 1/4 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 163 calories; 7.7 g. fat; 15 mg. cholesterol; 668 mg. sodium; 14.5 g. carbohydrate; 5 g. fiber; 11.1 g. protein

Result: A delicious, lightened up broccoli cheese soup! A conversation starter and crowd-pleaser all in one! I think kids would love this, too. Very simple (and cheap!) to make, too! Enjoy!

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Question: Has spring moved in to your area?

Have a great weekend!

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8 Comments

  1. March 5, 2011 / 12:44 pm

    Wow…the soup looks great. Thanks for adapting and sharing the recipe. Spring WAS here a couple of weeks ago, but then the snow came back, and now it’s warmer but raining. Can’t wait for full-on spring!!! Have a great weekend.

  2. March 5, 2011 / 9:57 pm

    I always get broccoli cheddar soup at Panera – so good. Love your lightened up version too 🙂

  3. March 5, 2011 / 10:00 pm

    Sorry you aren’t feeling well. Hope your doctor will figure out what exactly is wrong…

    The soup sounds great!

  4. March 5, 2011 / 11:34 pm

    Broccoli cheddar soup is my all time favorite kind of soup. I am so bookmarking this recipe! 🙂

  5. March 6, 2011 / 7:31 am

    I’m happy to hear you are feeling better, despite not being able to go see your friend 🙁 OH well, sometimes your health has to come first! Actually, it always should….

    I just woke up to an iced-over lake in our back yard. So..it snowed over night?! And dropped about 20 degrees?! Goodness gracious. So yeah, spring is not quite here in Ohio, but that’s ok, we can give it a couple more weeks.

    This soup sounds fantastic. I love Panera’s broccoli soup, but I would much rather have this one if it actually tastes good (which I assume it does!). I am marking this on my list of recipes to make, as this would be ONE soup I think Nick would eat!

  6. Cara
    March 6, 2011 / 7:03 pm

    Is the cheese just for topping or did you blend some in when you blended it?? Looks great!

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