Lightened Up Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Nothing comforts and warms the soul like a great bowl of soup! Plus soup makes for great leftovers making our dollars stretch a little further. This soup is made to taste like Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar (which is fabulous!) and it really is very similar! I opted to lighten up this recipe by reducing the amount of butter & flour and using fat free half & half and reduced fat cheese. Feel free to use the original amounts, which I have placed in parenthesis beside the ingredients that I reduced. I will definitely make the original on days I want to indulge a bit more. This soup is creamy, comforting & has a great flavor, plus its a great way to get your veggies in…covered in cheesy, creamy goodness!

Lightened Up Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
Source: Amber’s Delectable Delights adapted from Food Network

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (Indulge with 6 tbsp. butter)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/8 cup all-purpose flour (Indulge with 1/4 cup AP flour)
2 cups fat free half-and-half (Indulge with regular half & half)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves or 1/2 tsp. chopped bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups broccoli florets, about 1 head
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 cups, approximately 8 oz., grated reduced fat sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish (Indulge with full fat cheese)

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook until tender 4-5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, approximately 2-3 minutes. Gradually whisk in half & half until smooth. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, nutmeg, salt & pepper & stir to combine. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium low & cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until slightly thickened.

Next add broccoli & carrots to the broth and simmer approximately 20 minutes, until tender. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return to pot. Whisk in cheese, stirring constantly over medium heat until melted. If soup is too thick add up to 1 cup water to obtain the right consisitency. If it is too thin add a slurry of 1/2 tbsp. cornstartch to 1/2 tbsp. water. Ladle into bowls & garnish with cheese if desired.

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  1. Panera's brocolli soup is my favorite! I'm looking forward to trying this soon. Thanks for posting!

  2. I love soup, and broccoli cheese is one of my favorite soups.