When I think of broccoli cheddar soup, I think of Panera. I am usually able to talk myself out of the high-calorie selection and opt for something on the healthier side, but I’m not going to lie…I always want to get the broccoli cheddar soup. Just not the calories or fat.
When the most recent issue of Food Network magazine found its way into my mailbox, I instantaneously started drooling over the cover shot of this soup.
I hurriedly thumbed through the pages only to find that the recipe totaled nearly 600 calories and 34 grams of fat per serving. Ouch. When I posted the link to the recipe in my Weekly Menu, Biz quickly asked if I would be modifying the recipe to be lower in calories. She, too, quickly realized that the recipe wasn’t exactly nutritious.
My answer to Biz was, “Of course I am!”
The base of this soup is low fat milk, half and half, broth, and a puree of vegetables. Using white potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, and onion in a thick, pureed soup is brilliant. I also used part-skim sharp cheddar and bulked up the broccoli by a lot. 😀
Broccoli-Cheddar Soup adapted from Food Network
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup fat free milk
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups chopped broccoli florets
5 oz 2% sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3 cups)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, half-and-half, milk, both potatoes, bay leaf, 2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tablespoons water and season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes; drain.
When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender. Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape (or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender). Return the soup to the pot and thin with water, if necessary. Return to a simmer over medium-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.
Add the cheese and stir until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls. Yield: 6 servings (2 cups each).
Nutrition Information (per serving): 338 calories; 11.3 g. fat; 31 mg. cholesterol; 529 mg. sodium; 45.8 g. carbohydrate; 7.5 g. fiber; 15.3 g. protein
Result: FAN-TAS-TIC! This is such a creative recipe to use onion, celery, sweet potatoes, and russet potatoes as a base and to use half and half and cheese to enhance the soup. The end product is very rich-tasting, but much, much lower in calories, fat, and sodium. This was simple to make and loved by both of us. Some of the reviews on the Food Network website report a gritty texture to the soup, but we didn’t find that to be the case at all. Two thumbs up from yours truly..and the peanut gallery. Enjoy![/print_this]
A day or two late, but here’s the weekly menu.
Weekly Menu: September 25th – 29th
- Sunday: Mr. P’s Birthday Dinner at Bonefish Grill
- Monday: Prosciutto, Manchego, and Apple Sandwiches on Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
- Tuesday: Thai Peanut Noodles
- Wednesday: leftovers
- Thursday: Salmon with Red Pepper Pesto and Roasted Potato and Okra Salad
I arrived back in Columbus with plenty of time to take that hubby of mine out for a birthday dinner. He requested Bonefish Grill. It was delicious and we lived on the wild side with our two waters 😉 For his birthday, Mr. Prevention asked for a weights set, weight bench, and mat to add to our home gym. We still have to put together the weight bench, but I will take photos once it’s all assembled.
This is a 6-day work week and my first full week of classes. It’s so hard to come off of such a fun weekend into such a harsh reality! At least today starts with a few errands and appointments, and a lot of lesson planning, before teaching tonight.
Question: What’s your favorite kind of soup?
Yay, the long-awaited broccoli-cheddar soup! This looks delicious and oh-so creamy!
YUM! That looks ssooooo cheesy! You almost cut the calories in half Nicole, so impressive. Hope your long week goes smoothly.
Totally going to steal your modified version Nicole! Hope you had a nice dinner out and Happy belated bday to Mr. P. Did you get the bang bang shrimp? It’s so good!
I’ve bookmarked this recipe but have yet to make it:
Yum. I love broccoli cheddar soup, but the nutritional stats on some of them are staggering!!
Broccoli cheddar may be my favorite soup. Or at least its tied for first with potato soup. I can actually very clearly remember the first time I had broccoli cheddar soup. My family was at a restaurant when I was young – maybe 6 or 7, and thats what I ordered. My dad was shocked that out of everything, thats what I would order, but I loved it. Actually, just that memory may be why its one of my favorite kinds of soup.
That is my thought every time I go to panera. My weakness is creamy soups, especially brocolli cheddar. I am definitely gonna make this when the whether cools down.
Excited you’re making thai peanut noodles. They were amazing!
This is sooo rescuing me! I too was fantasizing over the soup cover shot on the Food Network Magazine! You’re a saint!
Your healthifications of this are spot on awesome! This is a soup I would totally love to eat (the original heavy version…not so much.) Pureeing the veggies in – total genius!
That soup sounds wonderful on a crisp autumn day! My fav is lobster bisque.
Do you need any Asian ingredients? Let me know and I can mail them to you when I’m home next month.
I like using potatoes to thicken soup. I make a creamy potato leek soup that has no dairy in it and it it thick and creamy just from the starchy potatoes. Works like a charm.
Also, happy birthday to Mr Prevention! I like his choice of birthday gift. Weights- the gift that keeps on giving. Until you have to move houses, then all the friends that are helping you move basically hate you.
This looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I don’t make soup very often…not because I don’t like it. In fact, I’m not sure why! haha. My favorite is probably chicken tortilla.
Yummy! This soup does look awesome and so much healthier than the original version!