Restaurant style, creamy soup without the restaurant style, hefty calories: Low calorie, broccoli-cheddar soup??!: Sounds like an oxy-moron, does it not? However, if you have ever wanted to make (or slurp up), a cheddar cheese soup with the rich, creamy flavor that we have all come to love, but were afraid to do so because of the hefty calories, check out this lighter, but just as creamy version of broccoli-cheddar soup, made with 1% milk, no cream (you heard that right), and a fraction of the butter and cheese that the traditional version calls for. The silken texture of pure cheddar makes this soup lip-smacking good, but at 200 calories per 1 cup serving, it won’t break your calorie bank!
Packed with antioxidants, phyto-nutrients, iron and fiber, from broccoli and anti-inflammatory substances from garlic, this recipe blends two nutrient super-stars, into a creamy, cheesy, flavorful soup that is guaranteed to have the family flocking back for second helpings!
Level of difficulty: Intermediate
Servings: Approximately 2
- 2-2.5 cups broccoli florets
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 3/4-1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
- 3 cups 1% milk, divided, + slightly more (as needed for thinning sauce )
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt or per taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste and for garnish as desired
- 2 tbsp of cornstarch
- 2 -3 tbsp sharp, cheddar cheese + 1 tbsp for garnish
- In a medium, thick bottomed saucepan, heat 2 cups of the 1% milk to boiling point. Stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan, allow the milk to simmer on low to moderate heat until milk thickens and reduces to 1.5 cups.
- While the milk reduces, in another medium, thick bottomed saucepan, add 1 tbsp. of the butter on low heat until it melts.
- Add the finely chopped garlic, stirring on low heat until fragrant and a light, golden brown, regulating the heat to ensure the garlic does not brown.
- Add the chopped onion and saute until it turns soft and translucent.
- Now add the broccoli florets, stirring for a couple of minutes till well blended with the garlic-onion mixture in the pan.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli-onion mixture to a clean platter and set aside.
- In the same saucepan, add the remaining tbsp of butter on low heat until it melts.
- Add the cornstarch a little at a time, whisking quickly with a wooden spoon or wire whisk to form a roux.
- Slowly added the reduced milk from step # 1, continuing to stir to allow the milk to blend into the roux. Regulate the heat to ensure the mixture in the pan does not burn.
- At this point, you will notice that the milk begins to thicken, may coat the back of a spoon, resembling a sauce.
- Add the remaining cup or more of the milk as desired, until the sauce thins out to a soup-like consistency
- Add the reserved, broccoli-onion to the soup in the saucepan, and allow to simmer until the broccoli becomes tender to the touch.
- Add salt and pepper to the soup, stirring gently.
- Allow the soup to cool slightly before stirring in the cheese until it melts.
- Ladle into bowls and serve hot, garnished with the remaining cheese.
Registered Dietitian’s tip:
If you have a functional gut disorder such as IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome, please use only lactose free milk, lactose free cheese (albeit, cheddar is typically well tolerated by most folks with lactose intolerance, as the lactose content is relatively low). Also, broccoli belongs to a class of fermentable carbohydrates called galactans or galacto-oligosaccharides, that are small chains of single sugar units or mono-saccharides called galactose. Human beings do not have the enzymes to digest these carbs, and hence they are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. When they enter the large intestine or colon, the are rapidly fermented by the little critters we call gut bacteria in the colon, leading to copious gas production. Gases expand, causing the classic symptoms of bloating, abdominal distension and discomfort. People with IBS are particularly sensitive to the effects of these fermentable carbs also called FODMAPs, (fermentable oligo- saccharides, disaccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols), and would benefit from a consultation with a Registered Dietitian who is skilled in the symptomatic management of functional gut disorders.