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Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Posted Dec 24 2012 10:08pm

Broccoli cheese soup brings back some good memories with a very close friend of mine.

Hi, Tara!

One of the [very few] perks about my former high school was that seniors were allowed to go off campus to get lunch if they wanted to (which everyone did, of course).  There was a new Panera that was just far enough from the school that it was a stretch to make it there, eat, and get back to class on time- but it was doable.

Tara and I used to make the risky trip at least once a week, because we both felt that their broccoli cheese soup was worth getting a tardy slip in math class.

Tara and I in high school
The bad thing about us making this weekly trip is that we both packed on a few pounds by the end of the year :) . It’s no secret that broccoli cheese soup is full of fat and calories thanks to the cheese, cream and butter that is typically used in the recipe.  So, when the craving struck me, I made some substitutions, added a ton of extra veggies, and voila! A recipe for broccoli cheese soup that you can feel good about eating.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

*Note: you will need a blender or food processor for this recipe*

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, ends removed and stalks roughly chopped

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

1 large Idaho potato, peeled and chopped into cubes

28oz reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

3 cups broccoli florets

1 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon curry powder

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

-Place a pot (large enough to hold the finished product) over medium heat and pour in the extra virgin olive oil

-When the oil is hot, add the mirepoix (fancy name for celery, carrots and onions cooked together- feel free to use this term at your next dinner party to impress your guests) to the pot

-Let the veggies soften for 2-3 minutes, then add the potato and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until the potato starts to soften

-Whisk the water and the flour together in a small bowl until there are no lumps, then add to the pot and cook for 2 minutes

-Add the broth to the pot and bring to a simmer

-Once the broth simmers, add the broccoli to the pot and cover with lid.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broccoli softens

-Get your blender or food processor ready. Once the broccoli is cooked, remove pot from heat and use a large measuring cup or ladle to scoop up the mixture in batches and blend together until there are no large chunks of veggies left.

-OK, so not the most visually-appealing recipe I’ve ever made. Basically, once it looks like baby diarrhea, you’re ready for the next step. *TIP*: If  you like a soup with more texture, just blend the carrots, celery, onion and potato together after it’s cooked, add back to the pot and skip the blending of the broccoli- just coarsely chop your broccoli florets before adding to the pot to cook and leave them as is. 

-Add the cheese and mix until melted and well combined

-Next, add the Greek yogurt and mix well

No Panera-esque meal is complete without a side of carbs, so I followed suit and served the soup alongside warm croissants for my husband and sister, and a toasted piece of Food for Life Brown Rice Bread topped with a little melted cheese for me.

Trust me, you won’t miss the calories when you taste my version of broccoli cheese soup!

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