Skinny Secret Ingredient Broccoli Cheese Soup is a lightened-up version of the Panera bread favorite, and made creamy with blended cauliflower not heavy cream!
Hello everyone, I have a major announcement to make: Taylor and I FINISHED OUR MBA PROGRAM. We are grad students!! And it feels so good.
Actually, it hasn’t really hit us yet, but I do have time to make dinner now and it’s kind of strange.
In fact, I had so much time the other night I made Taylor something yummy for lunches during the week. Just because I had some time. Weird.
He’s a soup-lover for easy lunches, (who isn’t though) so I made one of his favorites: broccoli cheddar soup. Except it’s me, so I secretly made skinny secret ingredient broccoli cheese soup and he didn’t even notice it was healthy.
Shhh, don’t tell him, but the SUPER creamy texture comes from blended cauliflower, not heavy cream. Let that bomb sink in. Yes, this Panera Bread copycat recipe is GOOD for you. Like SO good for you.
(P.S. I worked at Panera for like 3 years in High School so I know what I’m talking about)
To make the base of the soup, you cook down onion, celery, garlic, cauliflower, veggie broth and a little milk and then purée until perfectly smooth.
I used this immersion blender below because it’s super easy to stick right in the pot:
But you could also totally use a regular blender by transferring the soup in batches and carefully blending before returning to the pot.
So whip this up for an easy fall dinner, (whole grain bread for dipping maybe??) and then pack it up for simple lunches. You could even through a side salad together if you’re feeling extra. Either way, this is an amazing, HEALTHY way to transition into fall while tricking your tastebuds.
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 small white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- Black pepper
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup 2% or skim milk
- 1 head cauliflower, florets removed and chopped
- 1 head broccoli, florets removed and cut into small, bite-sized pieces
- 1 carrot, shredded (1 cup carrot shreds)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until the vegetables get soft.
- Add the garlic, and season with salt, a pinch of black pepper, and nutmeg.
- After 30 seconds of the garlic cooking, pour in the vegetable broth and milk, and stir until combined.
- Raise the heat to medium-high, and let come to a boil.
- Add the cauliflower, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Let the cauliflower florets simmer, cooking, for 10-15 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Remove the pot from heat. Using an immersion blender, (or using a regular blender and transferring the soup in batches) blend the soup until completely smooth.
- Return the soup to medium-low and add the carrot shreds and broccoli florets. Cover again and cook about 10 minutes until broccoli is done.
- Remove the lid, stir in the cheddar cheese until completely melted, and serve.