The easiest bowl of comfort food! This lightened up classic is made with olive oil and milk instead of butter and cream. It’s loaded with wholesome broccoli and freshly grated cheddar cheese.
Do I have a delicious bowl of comfort food to share today! It’s a classic bowl of broccoli cheddar soup that will warm you up from inside out, leaving you completely satisfied and EVEN leaving room for a cookie or two. Because we know December is all about the cookies. But I figured I’ll take a break from the cookies to share some real food today.
You can whip up this soup in no time. It’s super easy to make with most ingredients likely in your pantry. I really wanted to make this a lighter recipe. Meaning no cream or butter. Because that’s basically two must haves of a classic broccoli cheddar soup. Instead of butter, I used olive oil and to make up for the flavor, I added bay leaf, mustard, and nutmeg to the soup. It flavors the soup just enough without being overpowering. Then in place of cream, I used wholesome milk. I love using milk, stock, and roux base. It’s a good way to lighten up a recipe without losing the creamy rich taste that we love.
As far as the cheese, you can use mild or sharp cheddar. Just make sure to shred the cheese yourself. Freshly shredded cheese is creamier and melts way better than pre-shredded cheese from the store. You want to melt the cheese over low heat. That is a biggie actually. The cheese will break down and look very grainy if melted over high heat.
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- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (3/4 cup)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp. dry mustard
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 2 cups 2% milk (or whole milk)
- 2½ - 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 8 oz. block cheddar cheese*, freshly grated, plus more for serving
- cayenne pepper, for serving, optional
- In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add onion and carrots, and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for additional 30 seconds.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, mustard, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer, then simmer for 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Add broccoli, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until tender.
- Turn off the heat, discard the bay leaf, and stir in the cheddar cheese until melted. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately, topped with extra cheese and cayenne pepper, if desired.
*Only melt cheese over low heat or it will separate and look grainy.
*This soup is best when served immediately. It does not re-heat or freeze well.