Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Driving home from a weekend away, we wondered why it was getting so dark. Sure, it was raining. Sure, there were overcast skies. But the real reason was because it was 4pm and the sun was starting to set. Welcome to Fall. It’s time to make soup.

Continuing on the theme of butter becoming my signature scent, I thought I’d whip up a broccoli-cheddar soup that would be a little but sunny (because cheddar is orange!) and a whole lot comforting because that is what creamy soups do best.

According to my nutritionist, broccoli is the #2 superfood second to kale. I don’t much care for kale although I have discovered that covered in expensive cheese, it’s quite alright. Broccoli though, I can eat that plain; by the fistful even. While it’s no number one, I make up for it in volume. It would be appropriate to note that I do realize I’m mentioning how I eat broccoli plain in a recipe for it covered in cheese but hear me out, it’s not expensive cheese. It’s regular cheese. Take that, Kale.

This soup is about 45 minutes start to finish, although I think you could shave some time off the last simmer if you were getting hungry. You could shave off even more time if, like me, you opted to not puree it. I finely diced the vegetables and sort of enjoyed the pretty bits and pieces of carrot and broccoli floating around in the creamy soup. Even after two bowls, it’s a decision I do not regret, but puree if you must. It’s between you and your immersion blender.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

(adapted ever so slightly from the Food Network Kitchens)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion or half of a large onion, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups low-sodium light colored vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 cups broccoli florets, finely chopped
1 cup diced carrot, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In 3 quart heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt butter. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes until translucent.

Whisk in flour and cook 2-3 minutes more until just starting to brown.

Add in half-and-half, whisk to incorporate. No lumps!

Add broth. Stir. Add nutmeg, bay leaves and a pinch or two of pepper. If your broth is salty, you might not need salt. If not, taste and add if necessary. Remember the cheese will up the saltiness, too. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add broccoli and carrot and return to a simmer. Let simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Take off heat and puree if you’d like. Once smooth or if you are keeping it chunky, now is the time to stir in the cheese. When melted into the soup, it’s ready to serve.



  1. Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, bookmarking this one. I’ve got broccoli coming in our CSA this week.

  2. altrooheather
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Ooo good timing! I bet the little one would like this soup, too. Hidden vegetables are the favorite vegetables of little kids!

  3. Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Yum! This looks delicious. I love broccoli, and in my mind, soup can do no wrong! :)

  4. altrooheather
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Broccoli rocks! This soup is really good, hope you make it and adore it!

  5. Jon
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    I am making this right now and it smells great. I can’t wait to share it with my friends.

  6. altrooheather
    Posted November 20, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    O! Hoped you liked it! It was an instant favorite over here!

    (P.S. Sorry for my slow reply, I’ve been sick and then crazy busy … excuses, excuses … but I appreciate your note!)

  7. Posted November 17, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Yum. Just made it… Really tasty and comforting, perfect for the first cold snowy day… THanks!

  8. altrooheather
    Posted November 20, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    It’s the perfect winter soup. So delicious and satisfying. I’m glad you liked it!

    (P.S. Apologies for my slow reply. Sick and then busy — a bad combo! Thank you for your comment!)

  9. Posted November 30, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    THis soup looks great! Tempted to make it for a long lunch on the 8th…. One question… for fear of sounding stupid…. what’s half-and-half?

  10. altrooheather
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Hiya! Your question makes me wonder where you live! It’s half whole cream, half milk. People use it in coffee … does that help unravel the mystery?

  11. Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    Easy, healthy, colorful…and delicious. My family loves broccoli and soup is practically a necessity for winters in New England. Can’t wait to try this one.

  12. altrooheather
    Posted June 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    I hope you liked it! It’s an incredibly tasty soup. Thinking of it makes me sort of happy that this Seattle summer has been lovingly dubbed Juneuary. It’s still soup weather!

  13. Posted December 20, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    A day of snow kiting here in England made me reminisce of the Broccoli Cheddar Soup in Whistler. A google search later your recipe looked the most picturesque – thanks! Ah so that’s what half-and-half is, I read the comments after I’d enjoyed it without and wondered why mine looked less creamy. I’m curious what the first 20 minutes of simmering does. 5 minutes frying the onion (and chopped broccoli stalks) + 15 minutes with the broccoli seems enough?

  14. altrooheather
    Posted June 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peter! Yay for google! I can’t imagine you are in a soup mood during a English summer but if you are (or for fall!). You know, I’m not sure what the first 20 mins does. I assumed it sort of incorporates the flavors but I bet that could be shortened with little consequence. The final 15 minutes is more important since it gets the broccoli and carrot all mushy for the puree. Good questions!

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