Happy 2018! I’m so excited to be back at creating content after a very busy holiday season! This recipe is inspired by everyone’s favorite New Year’s Resolution to hate: to start eating better. While I’ve given up on dieting as a concept – I’ve discovered that it makes me profoundly miserable – everyone likes to eat healthier if it’s delicious and painless. This soup is perfect to help you start 2018 off with your resolutions going strong.
Adapted from a recipe in the Washington Post, originally by Ellie Krieger, it’s the lightest broccoli cheddar soup you could make, with all of the flavor and richness of a soup that’s usually heavy on cream and cheese. Cannellini beans are the star of this show, blending together perfectly to substitute for a lot of that heavy cream. I’d never even eaten a cannellini bean before experimenting with this recipe, so I can attest, with no long-harbored love of them, that they really don’t alter the flavor of the soup at all – just the texture and creaminess. Shelled chickpeas work just as well in this recipe, so you could use those instead. My changes to the original recipe are mostly changes to the seasonings. With so much of the fat removed from this recipe, it felt like it needed a good flavor boost, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.
I’ll admit that when I make this soup, I think to myself that it’s so healthy, it won’t matter if I top it with a little extra (read: way too much) cheddar cheese. Cheddar is in the name, after all. Every year, my brother makes a New Year’s resolution to eat a Five Guys burger at least once a month for the whole year, and I’ve found that really inspiring. Imagine making a resolution that you know for sure that you’ll be able to keep – and thoroughly enjoy! So, I’m resolving to have extra cheese on my food whenever I feel I should. I’ll let you know how it goes. My other resolution is to save money, so my husband and I can buy our first house this year, so this recipe is about to become even more of a staple in our home. It’s the least expensive way to make broccoli cheddar soup – especially if you make your own chicken stock, as I do. I guess you could call this double-whammy broccoli cheddar soup, since it’s easy on the wallet and the scale. Are you sold yet? I’m adding more broccoli to my grocery list as I type this.
You can play around with the amount of milk and cheese you add, depending on just how calorie conscious you want to be with it – you already know what I suggest doing. You can also blend it until it’s completely smooth, or opt to leave chunks of broccoli, if you’re into that. Either way it’s a perfect starter or lunch, especially served with some kind of cheesy roll or toasty garlic bread.
I’m well aware that my cheese obsession is out of hand. Don’t send help.
Lighter Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Adapted from Broccoli Cheddar Soup, by Ellie Krieger, as printed in the Washington Post.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces about 6 cups
- 1 14.5oz can cannelini beans or chick peas
- 1 tsp powdered mustard
- 2 1/2 tsps salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground thyme
- 1/8 tsp ground sage
- 3/4 cup 1% milk
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnishes
Add onion and butter to a large pot and cook over medium heat until onions soften and start to brown.
2. Add the chicken broth, broccoli and beans. Turn heat up to high and allow the soup to come to a boil. Stir in all seasonings. Reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Let the soup cool slightly, and then blend until smooth (I used my NutriBullet, as always) and return to the pot. Stir in the milk and cheese until well combined. Serve immediately and garnish with extra cheese on top.