Healthier Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup: A Lighten-Up, Real Food version of a classically heavy and overly processed dish, that tastes just like Panera’s version.
My husband is in love with Broccoli Cheese Soup.
He told my mom that her soup ranks above prime rib for him. Like WHOA! That was a revelation we were not expecting.
My mom’s version of Broccoli Cheese Soup is beyond decadent and there is nothing good about it for you expect the broccoli. She uses heavy cream, tons of butter, and A LOT of processed cheese.
I can not eat it. She make me Minestrone–thanks, Mom!
But once a year, she serves her Broccoli Cheese Soup up to the family and they devour it.
I never tried to make the soup at home–there seemed no way for me to trick my husband into eating my version over my mom’s.
But one day, when my hubbie and I met up for lunch at Panera, he choose to have their Broccoli Cheese Soup. He took a bite and told me that he really enjoyed it.
That was it! I knew that there were plenty of copy-cat versions of Panera’s soup floating around the web, that may not be exactly light, but at least used REAL food.
So I made a version and we all loved it, kids included.
I made it again, with less butter and evaporated milk in place of half and half and no one batted an eyelash. They loved it again.
This is NOT my mom’s soup (and I promise you, my hubbie will still look forward to her version once a year) and it is NOT Panera’s high calorie soup either, although it tastes very similar.
In fact, my hubbie, who is my toughest critic, said “I nailed it.”
So if you want to serve up a bowl of comfort that has been lightened up, this is the soup for you!
And if you are looking for pure decadence, this soup will trick you into thinking that it is just that, decadent–and you have saved yourself a few calories to enjoy an extra roll!
Dig in and Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ½ medium chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 12 ounce can evaporated skim milk
- 1 cup carrot, shredded
- 1 16 oz package of broccoli florets, thawed
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large heavy bottomed casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt.
- Add the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until onion begins to soften and become translucent.
- Add the flour and stir into the onions and butter and cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly add the chicken stock and milk, stirring well as you add the liquid.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the carrots, broccoli, and nutmeg and allow to continue simmering, covered for 20-30 minutes.
- Whisk in the cheese and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, to let the cheese melt.
- Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.