What comes to mind when you think of broccoli cheddar soup? Creamy? Decadent? Yummy? Healthy? Probably not that last one. Many restaurants I have enjoyed it at go heavy on the cream and cheese, light on the broccoli. It's good, but it's not clear if there are actually vegetables or any redeeming health benefits.
This soup is not that.
It is loaded with healthy veggies- lot's of broccoli, carrots, potatoes (skin on for more nutrients), onions, and garlic.It is blended and topped off with some milk (I used unsweetened almond milk but any unsweetened milk will do) and a bit of minimal ingredient, no food dye cheddar cheese. Even though it's healthy, it doesn't skimp on any of the deliciousness. In fact, I think it is even more delicious than many I've tried.
Broccoli- Immune boosting with lot's of Vitamin C, and as a cruciferous veggie it gives you a nice dose of prebiotic fiber, supporting gut health and digestion. It also has a surprisingly high dose of protein!
Carrots- Again, good for immunity because of it's beta carotene content, along with supporting eye function. It's also got a decent amount of fiber.
Potatoes- Potatoes need to revamp their image. When you enjoy them in a healthy way (not deep fried) they have some great benefits! When you consume them with the skin on, you get a great big dose of potassium, ideal for managing cholesterol. They also have lot's of fiber and plenty of vitamin C. Don't be afraid of the potato!
Give this soup recipe a try if you want an easy, fiber full, immune boosting, filling meal that feels like comfort food.
Real Food Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Makes about 6 servings, takes about 35 minutes
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
5 small skin on potatoes or 2 large, chopped
2 heads of broccoli, chopped
1 tablespoon avocado oil, divided
4 cups broth
1-2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
3/4 cup unsweetened milk of choice
1 1/2 cups high quality cheddar cheese * See note below for vegan option.
Pepita seeds for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place a handful of broccoli florets on a baking sheet and set aside.
Warm 1/2 the avocado oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, remaining broccoli, carrots, and potatoes in the pot and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth, salt, pepper, and chili pepper flakes to the pot, turn stove to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the veggies are soft.
While the soup is simmering, drizzle the remaining avocado oil over the broccoli on the baking sheet. Toss so the broccoli is coated and place in the over to bake for about 5-10 minutes, until they just start to brown. Remove, toss the broccoli and move to the side of the pan. Place the pepita seeds on the other side of the pan and return to the oven, toasting the seeds until brown, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
When the veggies in the soup are tender, turn the stove off. Add the milk and cheese and stir.
Using an immersion blender (or working in batches with a regular blender), puree the soup until you have reached your desired consistency. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Serve in bowls topped with roasted broccoli and pepita seeds!
Naturally Gluten-Free and Vegetarian
Can make vegan by replacing the cheese with 1 can of rinsed, white beans. Add them when you add the milk.
Meal Prepping Tip: Make a big batch of this at the beginning of the week. Keep in glass containers, portioned for each day. Keep the baked broccoli and pepita seeds in separate containers in the fridge. When ready to eat, top the soup with the broccoli and pepitas and warm.