Friday, November 9, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup is one of my favorite lunch time choices at Panera especially in the winter. If I'm allowing myself to indulge I usually get it in a bread bowl. The soup is so warm and creamy with the crusty bread it's the perfect combination. Because it's not the healthiest of choices I tried to make my version a little lighter. I used skim milk instead of half and half, low sodium chicken broth, margarine, whole wheat bread bowls and fresh vegetables instead of frozen. Just a quick word to the wise, this recipe makes a lot of soup. We had dinner, leftovers and froze two containers for future use so if you want to make a smaller batch I'd cut everything in half.

4 Carrots - Peeled and Diced Small
1 Onion - Diced Small
3 Large Broccoli Heads - Diced into Florets
4 Tbsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
3 Cups Skim Milk
2/3 Cup Flour
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
16 oz Shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese 
4-6 Individual Whole Wheat Bread Bowls - Hallowed Out

Adapted from:

Start by prepping all of your veggies, dice up your onion, carrot and broccoli. In a large pot melt your margarine or butter. Add the diced onions and carrots, saute for about 5 minutes until the onions soften. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. If you are keeping this vegetarian you can obviously substitute the chicken stock for vegetable broth.
Add the broccoli and cover the pot allowing it to steam for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the chicken stock and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
 In a separate bowl whisk the flour into the milk. Reduce the heat down to low and slowly pour the milk and flour mixture to the pot. The broccoli should be soft by now so using the whisk break up the large pieces of into smaller ones. Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Allow it to cook another 10 minutes on low, stirring occasionally to begin the thickening process.
Slowly whisk in the shredded cheese a few handfuls at a time. I used 8 oz of a cheddar and monterey jack cheese mix and then another 8 oz of cheddar cheese but you can use just cheddar or another combination of cheeses. As the cheese melts, the soup will thicken even more. 
 Once all of the cheese is added it will need to cook another 10 minutes but be careful you don't want it to stick, burn or get too thick so watch is closely stirring frequently.  While the soup is finishing you can prepare your bread bowls, cut the tops off and then using your hands rip the pieces of the bread out until it is just a shell. Ladle the soup into your individual bread bowls that have been hallowed out. Garnish with a little extra shredded cheddar cheese. Use the extra bread for dipping and make sure to eat your bowl!!
Enjoy!! - Nicole


  1. This is going to be my new broccoli soup recipe. I usually use the pkg mix, but since I started reading labels, I wont use it with all the preservatives in it, so I have been looking for a recipe to make my husbands favorite soup. Thank you very much for sharing this. Enjoy your day!

  2. I would love for you to share this (or any of your other great ideas) at the link party going on now at ‘Or so she says …’. We’ve also got a fun “Favorite Things” giveaway going on right now. Hope to see you there!

  3. Great recipe and easy to cut in half for just hubby and me. It's a perfect meal for our rainy, cold Oregon days. Hope it's ok. I'm pinning this -

  4. Just wanted to let you know that I made this soup for dinner tonight and it is Wonderful! Hubby and I both love it. Thanks for sharing this great, healthy recipe.

    1. That's so nice to hear, glad you liked it!! Thanks :)

  5. This is such a classic soup.. can't believe I forgot it about it. Please share this on my foodie friday party today...folks will love it.

  6. I love broccoli and cheese soup, but I have never made it. I'm going to have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday. Please come back Sunday to vote!

  7. Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. I love the presentation and the ingredients! For sure going to be cooked by me soon.

  9. I adore the broccoli cheese soup at Panera. I am so excited to try this recipe:-)

  10. That's my FAVORITE Panera soup too! In fact I was going to go see if they have it today, but now I'm just going to make it myself! I love soup and love finding new recipes. Thanks for sharing at Creative Thursday :)

  11. This look yummy! Pinning it up to try! :)


  12. This is under vegetarian recipes, and you used chicken broth (maybe a typo). It looks delicious, but vegetarian's use veggie broth instead. :)


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