Friday, February 17, 2012

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup {Velveeta Free}

Becca here with a recipe I'm super excited to share!  This "Homemade Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup"  recipe is what first got me thinking about the possibility of making a Velveeta-free soup.  I've made a similar soup before, but it used lots of Velveeta, which is on my current 'do not buy' list, (even though I honestly love the way it tastes, ha!!) because of it's long list of problem ingredients, like artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, etc.  So I was super excited to come up with this version that not only is avoiding the 'bad' stuff, but also contains the requisite broccoli, as well as sneaking cauliflower that even my husband, who claims to strongly dislike cauliflower, didn't notice at all!  I added a bit of bacon crumbled on top because this was our main dish, but you could definitely leave it off to be meat-free.  See my tip at the end about serving soups to young children too :)  Enjoy!!

Becca's Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup {Velveeta Free}
Makes 1 large pot full (my family ate this twice as a main dish)

1 heads of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
6 cups of chicken broth (I use my slow cooker homemade stock but store bought would be fine)
1 1/2 cup milk or half & half** (see note below)
an additional 3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
3-5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt & pepper, to taste (amount will largely depend on using homemade or prebought chicken broth)
Optional Ingredients:
1 cup Greek Style Yogurt
Cooked, crumbled bacon

Wash broccoli & cauliflower, and remove florets from the stalk.  Place it all into your soup pot, add a enough water just to cover the vegetables, cover with a lid, and cook until tender, approximately 6-8 minutes.  You want it just past bright green; definitely not dark green & mushy, but tender enough to easily chop it with a wooden spoon, not still crunchy.  When it is finished, pour it into a fine colander in the sink to drain, and then finely chop both the broccoli & cauliflower.  I used a wooden spatula to chop mine right in the mesh colander in the sink. 

Return the same pot to the stovetop, and begin heating 1 cup of milk or half and half and chicken broth.  Meanwhile, in a tightly lidded container (I use a canning jar), combine the other 3/4 of milk and 3/4 of flour.  Shake well to combine, and then slowly stir into soup base in your pot.

Continue heating and stirring occasionally (I wouldn't walk off and leave it, although constant stirring isn't required either) until your soup base is heated through, and starting to bubble a bit.  It will also begin to thicken as well.  At this point, stir in your chopped broccoli & cauliflower, and grated cheese.  Continue to stir occasionally until heated through and cheese is melted.  Serve, topping with bacon bits if desired, and enjoy! 

When serving soups like this to my youngest (15 months), I crumble a few triscuits into the bottom of his bowl first and ladle his soup up first, so that it cools and is thickened by the triscuits and ready for him to eat when we do.  He always eats what we eat, and actually does a great job with a soup bowl & spoon already.

**fat free half & half may be used, but note that fat-free has 10 extra ingredients, including corn syrup, sugar, artificial color, and artifical flavor, all things that the "regular" half & half does not.  According to my research on Market Pantry (Target's Store Brand) January 2012 :)


  1. I will have to try this because I have gotten it at Panera and like it. It is probably healthier (or lower in carbs)than the potato chowder with broccli soup we eat because I noticed there aren't potatoes in this soup.

    1. Lynda - Samuel actually guessed potatoes at first, because of the cauliflower, so I bet it is similiar to the one you make. I was super excited he didn't realize there was cauliflower in it though, ha!