Nothing beats a flavorful, satisfying vegetarian broccoli cheddar cheese soup. Really nothing. It’s a wonderful late winter comfort food treat.
Make this and you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before, or is that me? Yeah, it’s me.
My vegetarian daughter is visiting this week from the frozen tundra. Somehow we were talking about either going to a restaurant or eating at home. Broccoli cheddar cheese soup was brought up in the conversation and the restaurant idea could wait until tomorrow.
Having never made it before, I searched for recipes. I decided to take bits and pieces from 3 or 4 recipes and see what happens. Specifically Serious Eats, since I have his new cookbook, The Food Lab. Also America’s Test Kitchen, Averie cooks, and The Girl Who Ate Everything.
The first time I made it, (I made it two days in a row), the technique was bad or the cheese misbehaved. I used whole milk and straight cheddar cheese. I think I overcooked the milk and it started to separate and turned a little grainy. It may have also been due to using straight sharp cheddar and not mixing in some good quality American cheese for smoothness, as Serious Eats recommended.
The second day, I mixed in some American cheese and used half and half rather than whole milk and added it at the very end so I knew it wouldn’t get overcooked. This turned out fantastic…smooth, creamy and delicious.
A Lodge 6 quart Dutch Oven is perfect for making this soup. Get yourself one for your birthday if you don’t have one already.
To properly cook all the parts of the broccoli, I separated the stems from the very tops of the florets so they could cook longer to soften. Once the stems, onion, carrot and celery were cooked some, I used the immersion blender to break down the veggies in the vegetable broth. This seemed to intensify the broccoli flavor. To use all the thick broccoli stems, use a vegetable peeler to remove the thick skin and get down to the softer flesh. Then chop it into 1/2 inch pieces.
Give this recipe for vegetarian broccoli cheddar cheese soup a try while it is still kind of cold out. It’s satisfyingly good.
Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup
Great soup for a cool day.
- 1 large head broccoli , florets removed and stems chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 med. onion , diced
- 2 med. carrots , diced
- 1 celery stalk , diced
- 1 med. Yukon gold potato , peeled and diced
- 1/2 tsp ea. salt and ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth , I made mine with Better than Bouillon Veg. Base
- 1/2 tsp . mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp . baking soda
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 8 oz . sharp cheddar freshly grated
- 4 oz . good American cheese , like Boar's Head, freshly grated
In a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven on medium to medium high heat add butter, broccoli stems, onion, carrots,celery and salt and pepper and saute for 8 to 10 minutes without browning.
Sprinkle the flour in and stir to combine, about 1 minute.
Add the vegetable broth, stir to combine with the flour and bring to a slow boil.
Reduce the heat and cover the pot 10 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, (optional)
Add the remaining broccoli florets, diced potatoes, mustard and baking soda and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes to soften the florets.
Keeping the heat low, add the half and half and the grated cheese and stir in until melted.
Serve hot and garnish with more grated cheese and slivered carrot if desired.
Croutons may be a good addition too as well as pumpernickel bread.