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Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

200-Calorie Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Casey Barber
Cook Time:
1 hr
Prep Time:
10 mins
Servings:
6
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(297)

Chef notes

Broccoli cheddar soup is a favorite of many, most likely due to how decadently creamy it is. It’s the soup equivalent of a warm hug, thanks to its richness, but unfortunately not light in calories. You can trim down the cozy treat at home without too much fuss, so that you can enjoy your own pot of broccoli cheddar soup just about anytime you want without having to make a trip to the cafe. This version is only 200 calories per serving, thanks to a few smart tricks. But don’t worry: It’s still as cheesy and satisfying as the original. 

There are two secrets to this low-calorie copycat: A Parmesan rind and broccoli stems. Both are ingredients that are often thrown away but here they are the keys to success. The Parmesan rind lends a deep umami flavor to the soup as it simmers. Once you taste how brilliant this trick is, you’ll find yourself always saving the rinds of spent Parmesan cheese wedges (though you can also buy rinds at the grocery store). It’s a smart habit to get into and the rinds will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for months. Use them to flavor other soups, stews and pasta sauces, too.

Peeled and diced broccoli stems are also thrown into the pot to add extra bulk. The fiber-rich stems help ensure the soup is nice and thick once it's puréed, while also keeping you feeling full after enjoying a bowl. 

Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it. 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 heads broccoli, about 1 pound
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 cups reduced fat milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
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Preparation

1.

Slice the florets off the heads of broccoli, rinse in a strainer, and set aside.

2.

With a vegetable peeler, remover the tough outer woody layer from the broccoli stems and finely dice the tender green inner stems.

3.

Heat the olive oil in a medium (3- to 4-quart) stockpot or Dutch oven over medium low heat.

4.

Add the broccoli stems and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are translucent and tender.

5.

Stir in the carrot and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more until the carrot is softened. Add the Parmesan rind and vegetable broth. Cover the pot and increase the heat to medium. Bring to a boil, then uncover and reduce the heat as needed to keep the broth at a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove the Parmesan rind with tongs or a slotted spoon.

6.

Add the milk and heat until the soup returns to a simmer. Toss the shredded cheese with the cornstarch and mustard powder in a small bowl, then stir into the soup until melted. Add half the reserved broccoli florets and cook for 5 minutes until tender.

7.

Remove the soup from the heat. Carefully purée the soup with an immersion blender or countertop blender for 10 to 15 seconds, just until the florets break up.

8.

Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Add the remaining broccoli florets and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Serve immediately.