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A warm, comforting bowl of this Low-Fat Cream of Broccoli Soup will leave your tummy full, and your body happy. Loaded with fresh broccoli, onions, garlic, broth and spices, pureed together and topped with cheddar cheese. Serve this soup as an appetizer, for lunch, or for dinner with a green salad.
What could be better on a cold winter night than a hearty bowl of creamy (healthy) soup? Well, maybe a huge chocolate cake that was all mine! Kidding! (Make that sort of kidding, I mean I AM pregnant ;)) So, besides a gigantic chocolate treat, there aren’t too many other things that could make for such a perfect meal on a freezing cold night.
I first made this soup a few years ago when we were living in Atlanta. I figured I would try to put my own (much healthier and even better tasting) spin on everyone’s favorite Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Panera Bread. I mean who doesn’t love a huge bowl of thick, creamy broccoli soup?
Over the years, I have experimented and tested quite a few variations of a healthy cream of broccoli soup. One time I added spinach, cheddar and parmesan right to the soup and then pureed it. The verdict, tasty, but not it. I wondered if it was worth sautéing the broccoli stalks and trees separately? No, too much work and an unnecessary step. A few times I pureed half of the soup, and left the other half chunky. I thought that having some texture might be a great addition. The verdict, we preferred it creamy. It seems that with this soup, it just worked better to puree it all. So, now you can see a few of the changes that this recipe has gone through in order to become a winner.
This Low-Fat Cream of Broccoli Soup is fairly simple and easy to make! It is filled with vitamins and nutrients AND tastes amazing! This soup also reheats incredibly well, and makes for great leftovers. There is just something so satisfying about creating a great meal one night, and enjoying it again the next. Loved by adults and kids, this creamy soup has quickly become a new favorite around here.
Low-Fat Cream of Broccoli Soup
*For an even healthier soup, whole milk may be substituted for the half and half. The soup will not be quite as rich, but the flavors and consistency will remain the same.
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions (or 3 medium), diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 pounds broccoli floretts
- 1 1/2 cups half and half*
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cheddar cheese, shredded (for topping)
- Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add onions and salt, and cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the flour, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then whisk in the wine and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, until absorbed.
- Whisking continuously, gradually pour in the broth. Add bay leaves, and turn heat to high. Bring broth to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until broth has thickened slightly.
- Add broccoli, and stir. Then cover pot with lid, and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes. Cook until broccoli is soft, but still green. (Don't overcook the broccoli.)
- Remove soup from heat, uncover, and let cool slightly for about 10-15 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
- Working with about one-third of the soup at a time, carefully spoon one-third of the mixture into a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour blended soup into a large, clean bowl. Repeat this step two more times, until all of the soup has been pureed. (When blending, make sure the lid is tight and secure, and place a kitchen towel draped around the top of the blender, incase the mixture should splatter.)
- Wash and dry stock pot, and return pureed soup back to pot.
- Stir in the half and half, and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, until soup is hot. Do NOT boil. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Top with cheddar cheese.
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