Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I am a big fan of Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheddar soup. Although I usually prefer lowfat/or at least reduced fat soups, I usually can’t resist this soup on a cold (even rainy) afternoon. I have tried a few recipes from different sources and all were way too rich. So I made few changes, increased quantity of carrots and blended the soup for a creamy and rich texture.
Last weekend I made a big batch for my family – served soup and toasted bread for adults and as pasta sauce for little one. I boiled macaroni (overcooked) and mixed with soup for my son. Since my son liked it – one day with pasta, one day as soup and one day with rice, I am happily tagging this recipe as ‘Toddler Friendly’. Even though it is a reduced fat recipe, it tasted pretty much like the original rich soup.

You need:

1.5 tbsp butter
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups milk
6 cups water
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
2 cups carrots, grated (medium size)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 tsp garlic spread/seasoning mix
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 cup cream

1. Heat butter in a large pot.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup-saute garlic

Broccoli Cheddar Soup-saute garlic

2. Add bay leaf and garlic and cook for few seconds. Add onions and saute for few minutes and cook until medium brown.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup-saute vegetables

Broccoli Cheddar Soup-saute vegetables

3. Add the broccoli and carrots and saute for few minutes. Add nutmeg, garlic seasoning and oregano and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Sprinkle flour slowly and cook over low heat, stir constantly for couple of minutes.
4. Add water and bring to boil. Simmer in medium heat for about 25-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
5. Add milk and cream and simmer for another 5 minutes. The soup should be thickened by now.
6. Pour in batches into a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) and puree (I just pureed 3/4th the soup as I like some bigger pieces of vegetables as well).
7. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Adjust salt and pepper.

Serve hot, garnish with shredded cheddar.

Tip: For added flavor, you can also use low sodium Chicken broth instead of water. Although, I usually use water to keep the soup ‘vegetarian’. Chopped garlic and seasonings add lot of natural flavor to it.

Serves 6