I love soup. The richer and creamier the better. I've been known to make a big pot of broccoli cheddar soup and eat if for several days in a row. Even for breakfast. That's how much I like it.

I love broccoli cheddar soup because it's easy to make, customize, and it's jam-packed with nutrients. It's about as perfect as food can get. I start with a base recipe and tweak it according to my mood, the occasion, and the contents of my refrigerator.

I've spent years perfecting my base broccoli cheddar soup recipe, along with several different variations to suit my mood and fancy. I've never shared the recipe until now.

Read on for the recipe and to learn how to make my famous broccoli cheddar soup. You're going to love it!

Ingredients

Delicious cheddar cheese, block and shredded.
  • 1 bunch of chopped broccoli (stems and florets separated)
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup grated aged cheddar cheese
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

One of the things I love about my making broccoli cheddar soup is how easy it is to is to whip together when you're in need of a last minute meal. A key factor of this is how easy it is to substitute ingredients according to what you have on hand. For instance, if I'm out of cream, I can easily substitute milk or half and half. I can also substitute vegetable stock for chicken broth, increase the garlic or use pepper jack or gruyere cheese instead of cheddar. The list goes on.

Directions

Chicken broth.
  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot.
  2. Add the chopped onion to the pan.
  3. After four minutes add the garlic.
  4. Cook until the onions are translucent, stirring frequently, approximately 3-5 more minutes. .
  5. Add the broth and broccoli stems
  6. Bring to a simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Add broccoli florets and simmer for another 4-6 minutes.
  8. Remove the onions and broccoli from the broth with a slotted spoon and add it in small batches to a food processor until smooth (alternatively you can puree in the pot with an immersion blender, adding cream as you go).
  9. Return to the pot and stir in the cream.
  10. Add the grated cheese in small batches, stirring to allow it to melt into the soup as you go.
  11. Serve with your favorite topping (more cheese, sour cream or pepper flakes are favorites at our house).
  12. Enjoy! Leftovers can be frozen.

Variations

A few suggestions to change up the recipe and help you make a broccoli cheddar soup to your tastes.

Cream of broccoli soup in a bowl.

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

If you a member of your household is vegan or allergic to dairy, simply omit the cheese and substitute olive oil for the butter and cashew milk or coconut milk for the cream. Use vegetable stock in place of chicken broth. I like sprinkling in a little curry to taste to compensate for the flavor that would normally be provided by the cheese. Top with a non-dairy sour cream substitute for visual appeal and extra creaminess. This soup is good you'll want to make it even if you aren't cooking for anyone with dietary restrictions.

Spicy Jalapeno Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Soup

A fresh jalapeno pepper.

I love adding a little spice creamy soups and broccoli cheddar is no exception. To spice up this recipe, follow all of the steps above, but add a chopped, de-seeded jalapeno to the onions when they're cooking in step one. The amount of jalapeno you add can be customized according to your personal taste and tolerance for spice. If this is the first time you're making the recipe, I suggest starting with one jalapeno and then adjusting in future batches. It's far easier to add more spice than it is to subdue the heat if you've gone too far.

Crumble crispy pieces of bacon over the top when serving.

Extra Veggie Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Fresh celery, garlic cloves, and crushed red pepper.

Can't get enough veggies in your broccoli cheddar soup? Pile them on! Add 2 large chopped carrots to the broccoli stems in step five and one stalk of chopped celery to the florets in step seven. Reserve a few pieces of shredded carrots as a garnish.

Broccoli Goat Cheese Soup

I love broccoli cheddar soup, but if you're out of cheddar, or simply searching for a different flavor profile, 10 oz of crumbled goat cheese is a fabulous substitute. The result is creamier, earthier and I'd dare say, more elegant. When I make this version I also substitute a teaspoon of freshly grated orange peel for the garlic. This soup is amazing finished with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts and a dollop of truffle oil.

Toppings

Freshly made croutons on a baking sheet.

Toppings add a touch of visual pizzaz to your broccoli cheddar soup, but they also add texture and flavor. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Sour cream (or sour cream substitute)
  • Infused olive oil
  • Toasted nuts
  • Carrot shavings
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese
  • Bacon pieces
  • Croutons

Happy eating!

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