I’m so into this soup right now. I guess you really can’t go wrong with cheesy deliciousness, but I think the key to this soup is the spices. This recipe is a great vegetarian option – I think even a meat-lover wouldn’t notice the lack of meat. And even though there’s a decent amount of cheese I feel like it’s pretty healthy (you know, in my expert opinion and stuff).
This definitely isn’t a “spicy”, but it packs a lot of flavor. I adapted this recipe from a Panera copy cat Broccoli Cheddar recipe. I don’t know if I’ve ever had their Broccoli Cheddar soup, but I’d imagine it’s good – and I had our resident Panera employee/neighbor try it and he gave his stamp of approval(thanks Johnny!!). Dan loved this despite the liquid cheesiness. I think it helped that he knew it wasn’t made out of super processed cheese. Also – I am now a true believer in shredding your own cheese. The pre shredded stuff just doesn’t melt the right way.
No go forth and get on this cheesy goodness❤️
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 small/medium sweet yellow onion, diced small
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced finely
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (chicken stock may be substituted)
- 2 cups milk - I used 2%
- 3 cups cauliflower florets, diced into bite-size pieces
- 2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into very thin rounds, about 1/16th-inch
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional and to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste (doesn't make soup spicy and serves to enhance flavor)
- 8 ounces grated high quality extra-sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls
- In a large heavy bottom pot, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently.
- Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn.
- Add 2 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is thickened. You are making a roux and it's very important the mixture is thick or soup will never thicken properly later.
- Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly.
- Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.
- Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the 'skin' that inevitably forms, this is normal.
- While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots. After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside.
- Add the salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. If you don't have these seasonings on hand, it's okay, but they do add subtle depth of flavor. Stir to combine.
- Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the 'skin' that inevitably forms, this is normal.
- While soup simmers, grate the cheese. It's important to use a high-quality cheese (not the cheapest thing you can find) because the flavor of the soup depends on it. Do not use pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags because that cheese is resistant to melting and won't incorporate well. After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute.
- Transfer soup to bowls, and garnish with reserved cheese.