Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup With Vegetables

This version of the beloved Broccoli Cheddar soup is lightened up and packed with vegetables. It’s so creamy and rich in flavor but is healthy and delicious.

A bowl of healthy broccoli, vegetable and cheese soup.


Broccoli cheddar soup is so comforting and each spoonful is creamy and rich. I love the flavor combination of broccoli with cheddar cheese. This recipe is a lightened up version of the classic favorite. Even though this recipe is a skinnier version, the only thing missing are a lot of the calories, the flavor is still incredibly delicious and the soup is delightfully creamy too.

The addition of all the other vegetables in this soup makes the flavor so much more concentrated and also makes it more dimensional. This creamy, velvety soup is just as comforting and hearty, while leaving you feeling light and healthy after finishing the bowl.

How To Make A Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Instead of thickening the soup with a roux made from butter and flour, I omitted that step completely and used the vegetables to create that creamy texture instead.  The potatoes and cauliflower are the secret to getting the amazing creamy texture that is vital for this soup.

My other goal was to see how little cheese I could get away with without losing any flavor or texture and I found that using only 4 oz was more than enough. Honestly, I often don’t add the cheese at all. For the cream, I used a really small amount too, but it’s just enough to make the soup feel decadent and velvety.

I also added more flavor and nutrients to the soup by using a combination of other vegetables too. The onions, carrots and garlic are the foundation of almost every other soup, so, of course, I stated with them. There are also tomatoes and zucchini, which give it some color, sweetness and acidity. The cauliflower and potatoes give it a hearty texture and flavor and when pureed, it’s silky smooth.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Other Healthier Options For Broccoli Cheddar Soup:

  • Instead of using regular potatoes, you can use sweet potatoes, yams or butternut squash.
  • You can also omit the potatoes completely and use more cauliflower instead.
  • Instead of chicken broth, use vegetable broth.
  • Omit the heavy cream. There is such a small amount, you can just not use it, or use any of your favorite dairy free alternatives, such as coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, etc.
  • Omit the cheese or use a dairy free/vegan cheese product.

Ingredients:

Ingredients for Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup With Vegetables
  • butter or oil, for sautéing the vegetables
  • Aromatic Vegetables: onion, carrot, garlic (Sometimes I use celery and or leeks)
  • Broccoli – Use both the stalks and the florets in this soup
  • Vegetables that will thicken the soup and make it creamy: cauliflower, potatoes
  • Other Vegetables: tomatoes, zucchini (you can also add canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes, other vegetables:bell peppers, although they have a much more pronounced flavor, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.)
  • chicken or vegetable broth
  • heavy cream, optional
  • cheddar cheese, you can also use any other cheese that melts well, like Colby, Monterey Jack, Swiss, Gruyere, Parmesan, etc.
  • Salt, ground black pepper, spices and herbs, to taste. Use salt and pepper to season the soup throughout the different steps. You can also add some other dry herbs and spices to add more flavor, such as ground nutmeg, paprika, granulated onion and garlic, bay leaves, chili powder, cayenne pepper, dry rosemary, thyme, marjoram, parsley, chives and much more.

How To Make Healthy Broccoli Cheddar and Vegetable Soup

Prep all the ingredients.

Peel the stalks of the broccoli to remove the tough and fibrous outer layer then slice the stalks into 1/2″ thick pieces and cut the broccoli florets into smaller pieces.

Set aside about 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets. I sauté those separately and add them to the pureed soup later to add some color and texture to the soup.

Cut the cauliflower into florets.

Chop the onion, peel and grate the carrot, peel the garlic. Peel and chop the potato.Coarsely chop the zucchini. Remove the seeds and stem from the tomatoes and chop them. Grate the cheese.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat up the oil and then add the onion, carrot and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Pour in the broth and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, add a drizzle of oil and add the 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 1-2 minutes on medium high heat. Pour in 1/4- 1/3 cups of water to the skillet, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook the broccoli until it is cooked to your preferred doneness. I like mine to be softened but still be vibrantly green and have just a bit of crunch to it. Set it aside to garnish the soup at the end.

Add the remaining broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and zucchini to the soup. If needed, add a bit more water or broth to the soup. The liquid should just barely cover the vegetables. Season with more salt, pepper and other herbs if you’d like. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer again. Cook, covered, until all the vegetables are completely cooked through and soft, about 15 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender in several batches. Don’t fill the blender more than about halfway, keeping in mind that the volume of the soup will increase as you’re blending it. If you’re not careful, it will make a giant mess and the lid may even come off if you overfill it. You can also use an immersion blender to puree the soup, although it won’t be as smooth and silky in texture.

Pour in the heavy cream, if you’re using it and then the grated cheese. Mix to combine.

Serving and Storing Broccoli Cheese Soup

Serve the pureed soup garnished with the sautéed broccoli. You can also garnish it with extra grated cheese and even croutons.

Store the soup refrigerated in an airtight container for about 5 days.

You can freeze the soup too, but it may separate a bit when you thaw and reheat it from the cheese. If you make this with the purpose of freezing, store the pureed soup in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container, leaving the cheese out and then add it when reheating and serving for the best results.

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup With Vegetables

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Soups

Description

This version of the beloved Broccoli Cheddar soup is lightened up and packed with vegetables. It’s so creamy and rich in flavor but is healthy and delicious.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 Tablespoon oil or butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 24 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 broccoli stalks, florets removed and the stalk peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 large potato (or 2 smaller potatoes), peeled and chopped
  • 2 cup of cauliflower florets (about 1/2 of a medium cauliflower head)
  • 1 small zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 56 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/41/2  cup heavy cream, optional
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Prep all the vegetables. (Set aside about 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets to be cooked separately and used as a garnish in soup later.)
  2. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil and then add the onion, carrot and garlic. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the chicken broth and add the potato. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 5-7 min.
  4. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat a drizzle of oil and cook the 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 1-2 minutes on medium high heat. Pour in 1/4 – 1/3 cups of water, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the broccoli is cooked through to the texture that you prefer.
  5. Add the remaining broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and tomatoes to the soup. Add more water or broth, it needed. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. You can also use some other spices and herbs for more flavor, if you want. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  6. Puree the soup in the food processor in batches until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender.
  7. Return the pureed soup to the pot, add the cream and the cheese, if using. Mix to combine.
  8. Season to taste, if needed.
  9. Garnish with the sautéed broccoli.
  10. Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Keywords: Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Broccoli Vegetable Soup, Creamy Broccoli and Vegetable Soup, Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This recipe was originally published on February 2, 2012. I updated the photos and clarified the instructions, to make this recipe even better. 

11 Comments

    • Olga K.

      I was pleased as punch when my experiment turned out well. The texture is awesome and the flavor is really great with all the other vegetables added in. I was going to use cheddar, but I sent Sergi to the store and he came back with Colby Jack:)

  • Marina

    Why oh why didn’t I check your site for a broccoli soup before using a random recipe off Pinterest?! I was, of course, disappointed in the outcome, It had way too much flour (should have listened to my instincts). I am going to try your version after I bring myself to throw out the one that’s hanging out in the fridge…

  • Veranika@VerasCooking

    I just made this wonderful soup. I had neither cauliflower nor zucchini, so I just added more broccoli. The soup turned out rather green, but when my 4 year old asked for more, I knew it was a success. Thank you for the recipe. Pinned.

  • Mila L.

    I was wondering if double batch is made, if it will freeze OK for future? I’m trying to find some recipes that freeze well to avoid eating out or buying too much junk to keep up with our busy family life.

    • olgak7

      I’ve never frozen this soup, although as a general rule of thumb, I don’t freeze anything with potatoes, since they have a funny texture after freezing.
      Here is a list of recipe ideas that you can look through for Freezer Cooking.

  • Anna Platte

    Looks yummy. Can’t wait to try it! But I’ll also be adding all the fat and dairy I would normally include. Here in Russia, people haven’t fallen for the propaganda that fat is “bad”, so dairy product packages boast of their fat content, and more is better. Also, the substitution of dairy fat substitutes is clearly unpopular, because the shelf signage in every store indicates the products free of these substitutes prominently.
    I love the idea to load the soup with lots of veggies, but let’s not take away the important whole fats which deliver the fat-soluble vitamins for a healthy body and good growth. Perfect for maslenitsa, too!

    • olgak7

      I agree with you 100%, which is why I do use whole fat dairy, not any of the fat free, reduced fat versions:).
      I personally don’t like things that are swimming in grease for the flavor aspect as a personal preference, so reducing the amount of cheese not only is healthier, but I really enjoy the texture and flavor more. That’s why I add just a bit of cream and cheese, first of all, because some people actually have to reduce how much calories they are consuming for health purposes and include dairy substitutes because there are also people who are lactose intolerant. If you are not restricted by diet, then, by all means, use as much dairy as you like.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.