January 12, 2021

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup that is perfectly thick, creamy, and delicious without any cream! If you love a broccoli cheese soup like I do, you’ll love this recipe. Made with simple real food ingredients and topped with smoky crispy bacon, this hearty soup is hard to beat!

broccoli cheddar soup in bowl

Creamy and Delicious Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Healthy broccoli cheddar soup! Yes, we’re doing it…we’re making a delicious broccoli cheddar soup made with simple real food ingredients, packed with veggies, and filled with flavor. Broccoli cheddar is such a delicious soup and the Panera version is one of my favorites.

I wanted to create a healthier version of the classic soup that was made with simple ingredients and so easy to make, even on a weeknight. This recipe uses pureed cauliflower to create a smooth and creamy soup base without the use of any milk or cream. A little crispy bacon on top brings everything together for the most delicious bite.

broccoli cheddar soup ingredients

Ingredients

This soup is extra special because it is thick and creamy without the use of any cream, coconut milk, or thickeners. All of these real food ingredients come together to make a delicious soup that is perfectly satisfying.

Bacon: This is optional, but I mean you cannot go wrong with crispy bacon.

Veggies and Aromatics: This soup uses plenty of onion and fresh garlic to help create flavor. Of course, there are also grated carrots for that classic broccoli cheddar soup deliciousness.

Cauliflower: This soup gets its delicious creaminess from a secret ingredient – cauliflower! Once it’s blended, it creates a thick and creamy base for the rest of the soup without the use of any thickeners or cream.

Broccoli: Can’t have broccoli cheddar soup without plenty of fresh broccoli!

Chicken Broth: You could use veggie broth if you prefer!

Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Extra sharp cheddar cheese has the most delicious flavor. You can use mild, if you prefer, but I love the flavor of sharp cheddar in this soup.

broccoli and carrots in dutch oven

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Step One: Start by heating a large dutch oven over medium heat and then add in the bacon lardons. Sauté the bacon until crisp, and then use a slotted spoon to carefully remove it from the pan. 

Step Two: Next, add the minced garlic, diced onion, cauliflower florets, salt, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Sauté everything for three to four minutes until fragrant. Next, add three cups of chicken stock to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer. Let everything simmer for around fifteen to twenty minutes until the cauliflower florets are tender.

Step Three: Use a ladle to carefully transfer the soup to a high powered blender. Blend everything until  until smooth, creamy, and there are no remaining lumps. 

Step Four: Carefully pour the pureed soup base back into the pot. Next, stir in the remaining chicken broth, grated carrot, and chopped broccoli florets until well combined. Let the soup simmer for 5-10 minutes until the broccoli is tender.

Step Five: Lastly, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until well combined and the cheese is thoroughly melted into the soup. Serve the soup warm topped with crispy bacon and sliced green onion.

broccoli cheddar soup in bowl

How to Serve

I love to serve this soup with plenty of crispy bacon and green onion on top! If you want, you can also serve it with your favorite fresh bread or crackers on the side, although I truly think it is filling and hearty all on its own.

Storage and Freezing Instructions

You can store this soup in the fridge in an airtight container for three to four days. If you would like to freeze the soup, I recommend transferring it to a freezer safe container and then freezing for up to three months. When you are ready to reheat the soup, transfer it to the fridge to let the soup thaw and then reheat on the stovetop.

Tips and Tricks

  • I highly recommend shredding your own cheese for this recipe. Pre-shredded cheeses often contain stabilizers which make it harder for them to break down and melt. Instead, grab a block of your favorite cheddar cheese and use your box grater for freshly shredded cheese and the best results.
  • If you would like to make a vegan version of this soup – you can sauté the vegetables in olive oil instead of the bacon fat and use veggie broth instead of chicken broth. Although I have not tried it myself, when it comes to the cheese, you will likely able to use your favorite dairy-free cheese!
  • Be sure to blend the cauliflower and broth until completely smooth. This is going to form the base of the soup so you want it to be nice and creamy.

More Delicious Soup Recipes You’ll Love

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Soup

Tomato Basil Soup

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

Loaded Cauliflower Soup

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup

broccoli cheddar soup in bowl

I hope you give this Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup a try! It’s the perfect spiced loaf and the cream cheese takes it over the top!

If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings on Instagram. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.

Print

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free
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Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 4 strips bacon
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional 
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 4 cups chicken stock, divided 
  • 6 cups broccoli florets, chopped 
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon lardons, sauté until crisp, and then remove from the pan. 
  2. Add the minced garlic, diced onion, cauliflower florets, salt, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Next, add three cups of chicken stock to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
  4. Carefully transfer the soup to a high powered blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
  5. Carefully pour the pureed soup base back into the pot. 
  6. Next, stir in the remaining chicken broth, grated carrot, and chopped broccoli florets until well combined. Let the soup simmer for 5-10 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
  7. Lastly, stir in the shredded cheese until well combined and thoroughly melted. 
  8. Serve the soup warm topped with crispy bacon and sliced green onion.

Keywords: broccoli cheddar soup, healthy broccoli cheddar soup, broccoli cheese soup, panera copycat broccoli cheddar soup

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Recipe rating

    20 comments
  1. This soup was even better than I expected! The cauliflower base is so creamy and nutrient dense without using and milk! I was amazed! We’ll definitely be making this again!

  2. This is amazing and so creamy!! You can’t taste the cauliflower at all (which is a good thing in my book). I even made a few small changes (left out onions and garlic and blended the carrots in with the cauliflower) and it was delicious. Highly recommend. Thanks, Ashlea for a great recipe.

  3. Big snowstorm last night so I needed a warm cozy meal, and this hit the spot! I couldn’t even tell that it was made without all the heavy cream. Love how many veggie servings I got in this delicious soup!

  4. This was delicious!!! So creamy, you would have no idea there wasn’t any milk in it. I did not have nutmeg but I added a little smoked paprika for extra flavor.

  5. Delicious and so smooth!! made this soup for the Superbowl tonight! I was able to make it dairy-free by subbing nutritional yeast for the cheese but I followed the recipe for everything else. Sooo good!!!

  6. Love love love this recipe! So many broccoli cheddar soups are too dairy for me, but this is hearty without all the dairy! Love it and will definitely make again.

  7. Oh my gosh when I tell you this soup is magnificent….I am a forever lover of Panera’s Broc Ched and I would put this up against it every single day of the week. Absolutely delicious in every way! Thank you for another fabulous recipe Ashlea!

  8. I made this recipe today and it was amazing! I didn’t have any nutmeg spice but I don’t think it altered the flavour at all. It was impossible to tell that it was made without cream or milk. I will definitely be making this again in the near future.

  9. This was so delicious and so healthy! I was missing a couple of ingredients, but what I did have turned into a fantastic soup. We didn’t even miss heavy cream in this recipe!

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