Friday, June 7, 2013

creamy cream-less broccoli and cheddar soup

Today is one of those rainy days when nothing seems more exciting then lazying around with a book and a cup of tea. Unseasonably chilly and soggy days call for the warm, satisfying comfort food. Today's choice: classic broccoli and cheddar soup with a twist. It's the perfect blend of vegetable and cheese in a bowl of creamy goodness. I've spent months searching for the perfect homemade broccoli and cheddar soup. We've tried at least six different recipes that all claimed to be the BEST. Some were truly delicious, but loaded with cream and calories. Then I found this Broccoli and Cheddar Soup recipe from EatingWell and the search was over! We found our winner! Thanks to the addition of cannelini beans, this soup is creamy, filling, and flavorful without the addition of cream! AND ready in 30 minutes!! Serve with a side of salad and a slice of crusty bread, pat yourself on the back, and call it a night!

I've tweaked Eating Well's recipe to give it some extra umpphh and tastiness. Feel free to spice my version up or down depending on your own personal taste.  Note: Bear with me on some of these pictures - the lighting, camera, and I were not agreeing...

Creamy Cream-less Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
Adapted from Eating Well

1 onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 cans of chicken broth (preferably low sodium)
3 large broccoli crowns (about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lbs), chop the stalks off so it's pretty much the florets you have left
1 can of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
4 dashes of hot sauce
1 tsp. worcheshire sauce 
 salt and pepper
1- 1 1/2 c. extra sharp cheddar cheese 

Chop the first three ingredients and smash the garlic.
Heat the canola oil on medium high in a large pot. Add the onion, shallot, carrot, and garlic. Saute until soft and starting to turn brown.
Add the 2 cans of chicken broth and let it come to a boil.
While the broth is coming to a boil, roughly chop the broccoli crowns.
Once the broth has come to a boil, add the broccoli crowns. Cover and allow to cook in liquid until tender (about 6-8 minutes). Use a fork to test their tenderness. Sometimes there isn't liquid for the crowns to cook in, so I add an additional 1/2-1 c. of water to the pot. 
While the broccoli is cooking, grate the cheese. When I have a huge cheese block, I pull out my Cuisinart and let it go to town grating for me then I freeze the leftover for the future. If you prefer to get an arm work out then, pull out your trusty hand grater...
I always take out the two smashed garlic cloves before I add the beans. I prefer the flavor, but not the aftertaste that comes with eating garlic. If you are a garlicholic then by all means leave the cloves in and puree them up with the rest of the soup. Add the beans and cook for another minute. 
Stir in cheese, salt, pepper, worcheshire sauce, and hot sauce. 
Puree with an immersion blender until smooth and green. Or transfer very, very careful to a blender and blend portions at a time...
Garnish with some homemade croutons or a little extra cheese and serve with a side of crusty bread for dipping. Slurp up with glee!
I realize the finished product doesn't quite look as amazing as it should, but 1) we were starving and 2) trust me it was simply delicious! Get cooking, my friends! 


  1. If only I liked broccoli! This looks so amazing. :)

  2. You could try it with cauliflower...but maybe cauliflower is in the same category as broccoli for you??