Warm up with this healthy broccoli cheese soup filled with broccoli, carrots, cashews and low-fat cheddar cheese. Perfect for cold winter days.
Cold weather is my favorite time to make soups. There just seems to be something comforting about a bowl of nice hot soup. And it brings back such warm memories of going ice skating at the pond down the street and coming home to a hot bowl of my Mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup. Ah, I can taste it now!
I have logged in quite a few soups of my own while my kids were growing up and, besides the family’s favorite turkey soup and baked potato soup, and I would have to say this broccoli cheese soup comes in a close third.
So, of course, when I went grocery shopping this past week and saw the enormous heads of broccoli at a fantastic price, this soup just popped right into my head!
You have probably noticed that I recently got a Ninja blender since I have gone crazy trying to use my new blender with any and all recipes. The blender comes with a cookbook and I was delighted to see they had two recipes for creamy vegetable soups. Since I love finding healthier ways to fix old favorites, these recipes brought a few extra veggies and nuts to the mix.
The addition of the cashews allowed me to forgo adding flour to thicken the soup (definitely a savings on calories), and the carrots added more nutrition without really altering the taste. Now each bowl of this Broccoli Cheese Soup offers almost 2 servings of vegetables, a ton of protein and calcium as well as dietary fiber, antioxidants and good fats.
So I bet you’re wondering how it turned out? Let me give you a hint. It was gone in just 2 days! I’d say that makes this a win-win. Next time I’ll double the recipe and freeze some for later. 🙂
- 4-6 cups fresh broccoli about 1 large head
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours then drained (keep a few to the side for garnish)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups non-fat half-and-half
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 7 oz grated low-fat sharp cheddar cheese + additional for garnish
- 2 pcs Cooked crumbled bacon optional
Fill a large saucepan with about 1-2" of water. Bring to boil. Place a steamer basket with broccoli and carrots into pan and cover. Let steam for 5 minutes then remove promptly.
In a medium skillet, saute the onion & garlic in 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil and set aside.
In Ninja pitcher, place soaked cashews and 1 cup broth. Select speed 1 and process til smooth.
Add steamed vegetables and remaining ingredients, except cheese, to the cashew broth. Select speed 3 and blend together, increasing slowly to 5 until smooth. Transfer soup to the large saucepan, add cheese, then heat until cheese is melted and soup is hot and bubbly.
Serve garnished with a sprinkling of cheese, a few cashews and some crumbled bacon.
If using other style blenders, just puree at high speed until soup is smooth.