Broccoli Soup

Hubby and I love broccoli. We always have some crowns in the fridge. This week we had excess, though, because I had bought some and housed it toward the back of the fridge. Hubby didn’t see it, so then he bought some, too. Hence, excess broccoli.

So what to do with all that? Broccoli soup!

Until the night I made this, I had never eaten broccoli soup before. I remembered seeing a recipe for a lightened version in Cooks Illustrated, though. Sure enough, great recipe as per usual from the cooks at America’s Test Kitchen. This soup is not laden with cream, hence its lightness. Instead, it’s flavored with a few other goodies. And of course, it has cheese, both parmesan and cheddar. Since hubs loves to slather melted cheddar on his steamed broccoli, I knew he would love this soup. And indeed he did.

Broccoli Soup

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  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds broccoli, florets roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces; stems trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/4-in thick slices
  • 1 medium onion, rough chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 ounces baby spinach (2 loosely packed cups)
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • ground black pepper


  1. Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add 1 cup water and baking soda (baking soda speeds up the release of the broccoli’s sulfurous compounds). Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
  3. Add broth and 2 cups water; increase heat to medium-high. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute (the spinach will give the soup a bright green color).
  4. Add cheese a handful at a time, allowing each handful to melt before adding more.
  5. Transfer soup to blender (in batches, if needed) and process until smooth. Alternatively, you can process in a food processor or you can use an immersion blender (which I preferred because I could control the chunkiness of the soup).
  6. Return soup to Dutch oven, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Adjust consistency of soup with up to 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

SOURCE: adapted from Cooks Illustrated, March/April 2011

8 thoughts on “Broccoli Soup

  1. Pingback: Turn broccoli and cheese into a healthy soup « Red Pen Recipes

  2. I finally got around to making this soup (I had a bunch of broccoli from the garden) and it was delicious. I followed the recipe and used immersion blender.

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  4. This recipe is fantastic. We make it once a month or so. We are everything free, so we substitute coconut oil for the butter, and coconut milk for the remainder of the diary. We double up on all the sulfur rich items like garlic and onion and toss in a few leeks. The biggest mod for us though is at the end. Rather than the baby spinach, we toss in a huge bunch of kale and a huge bunch of collard greens, stems and all (the Vitamix takes care of the rest). The nutritional payoff from this delicious recipe cannot be overstated. I caught this episode of America’s Test Kitchen a while back and was inspired to modify it for our paleo/maxiumum nutrient diet. Thank you for posting!

    • The last time I made this, I filled two quart containers, so that’s 8 cups of soup. The number of servings depends, then, on how much an individual eats and what else you serve with it. We often make a meal out of just soup, so we eat a lot in one sitting! If the meal includes meat and salad and bread, you probably wouldn’t eat as much in one sitting. So, best I can do is let you know that I got 8 cups out of it.

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