Easy and healthy, this lightened up broccoli cheddar soup uses cauliflower for a creamy base and packs a ton of veggies into a comforting and cheesy bowl of soup. Vegetarian and gluten-free.
Broccoli cheddar soup brings me back to my childhood! As a kiddo, I wasn’t a huge fan of vegetables besides potatoes and corn. #carblover I would eat green veggies like broccoli, but only when it was smothered with butter or cheese. That said, I always loved broccoli cheddar soup! The ultimate comfort food then and now.
Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Traditional broccoli cheddar soup is made with a melted butter and flour roux and a hefty serving of milk. I decided to skip all of those extra calories and made the base out of vegetables and broth blended with an immersion blender. It’s so creamy and delicious, you won’t even realize I switched up the recipe to include more veggies. 😉
vegetables – yellow onion, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots
broth – either bone broth or vegetable stock is great!
cheese – I used cheddar cheese
spices – nutmeg, salt and black pepper
One serving is under 270 calories – no guilt here and plenty of room for delicious sides!
What to Serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup
I love pairing this broccoli cheddar soup with a couple of sides to make it a more filling meal. I need more than 270 calories to fill me up! I love bread with soup – cornbread is always delicious (my pumpkin cornbread is amazing, as is my vegan cornbread) or you can keep it simple and toast up a slice of honey whole wheat bread. A side salad (like my garlicky kale salad) would also be a light, refreshing accompaniment to this soup.
Storing & Reheating Soup
When it comes to soup, I feel like some soups taste better as leftovers, after the flavors have had more time to mesh, and others are better right away. This broccoli cheddar soup falls somewhere in the middle. I think it’s best fresh, but it also stores and reheats really well from the refrigerator. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this soup because the cheese may change consistency/break up in the freezer. Refrigerate leftovers for up to five days and reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
1head cauliflower, core removed and chopped into small florets
Pinchof cayenne pepper, optional
4cupsbone broth or vegetable broth
5cupsbroccoli fresh florets or frozen
1-2large carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
8ouncesshredded cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top, if desired
green onions, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, cayenne (if using), salt and pepper. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
Add the broth to the pot and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for at least 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender (soft enough to mash with a fork).
Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth and creamy.
Return the soup to the pot over medium heat and add the broccoli and carrots. Bring to simmer and cook 20-25 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender (if you use frozen broccoli, you’ll only need to cook until the broccoli is thawed and heated through).
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese a little at a time. The soup will be pretty thick. If you want a thinner soup, add additional broth or water to reach a desired consistency. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.
Serve soup sprinkled with additional shredded cheese and green onions.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the cauliflower soup base to a regular blender for pureeing, but do so carefully and in batches so the soup doesn’t splash out. Alternatively you can use a potato masher to mash the cauliflower. This will result in a chunkier soup.