This one-pot Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup puts a nourishing spin on a classic comfort food. Each bite is cheesy and luxurious, loaded with veggies, and deceptively nutritious!
Want to know the best way to make weeknight broccoli even better? Toss it in a pot with cheese, broth, and a bunch of other good stuff to turn it into this Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup!
Broccoli cheddar soup is a popular meal you’ll see on the menu at Panera Bread and other restaurants. It’s made with a thickening roux, heavy cream, and, of course, broccoli and cheddar cheese. All of this leads to it being one of the best comfort foods around.
Now, I love my comfort food with healthy twists. Take my jackfruit pulled pork and buffalo chicken dip recipes for example… they’re made with secretly healthy ingredients but the flavors are the same as the recipes they’re inspired by.
The same is true of this healthy broccoli cheese soup! Cauliflower acts as a naturally creamy and rich base, while Greek yogurt and oat milk replicate the classically rich qualities. The flavors are just as decadent as the classic - you won’t even notice that you’re eating the healthy version!
- Replacing the traditional roux (butter + flour) with cauliflower makes this recipe naturally low carb, gluten free, and vegetarian.
- Just like the true broccoli cheddar soup from Panera Bread, this healthy version is still comforting and cozy.
- An easy one-pot soup recipe that’s ready in about 45 minutes!
Cauliflower - A true copycat Panera broccoli cheddar soup recipe starts with a thickening roux, AKA a mix of butter and flour. Instead, I swapped the flour with cauliflower florets, which are cooked until tender, then pureed. The result is a creamy, naturally thickened soup with no flour.
Vegetable broth - This recipe is naturally vegetarian thanks to the vegetable broth. You can replace this with chicken broth for a deeper savory flavor.
Carrots and broccoli - The vegetables in this vegetable soup.
Oat milk - I like to use oat milk as a lighter alternative to whole milk. You can use any kind of dairy free milk instead, like soy, cashew, or almond milk, but regular cow’s milk works, too.
Greek yogurt - Yogurt acts as a light and tangy replacement for heavy cream or half and half. If you don’t have Greek yogurt, use regular plain yogurt, sour cream, or dairy free coconut-based yogurt instead.
Cheddar cheese - Shred a block of cheese yourself for maximum meltiness.
Step 1: Sauté the aromatics. Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the onion. Next, add the garlic, paprika, mustard, and salt. Sauté for another minute.
Step 2: Simmer the soup. Add the cauliflower and vegetable broth to the pot and bring it up to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is fork tender.
Step 3: Blend. Use an immersion blender to puree the cauliflower in the soup until it’s completely smooth. You can do this in a regular blender if you don’t have an immersion blender.
Step 4: Add the dairy and veggies. Whisk the oat milk and Greek yogurt together in a bowl. Pour them into the soup, along with the carrots and broccoli. Bring it back up to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Let the soup simmer until the broccoli is tender.
Step 5: Add the cheese, then serve. Stir the shredded cheese into the soup until it melts. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with black pepper and salt, then enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Remember to chop the cauliflower and broccoli into small, evenly-sized florets. Smaller cauliflower florets will be easier to blend, and they’ll all cook evenly and at the same time.
- You can make this recipe even easier by swapping the fresh vegetables with frozen broccoli and/or cauliflower.
- Add some decadence to every bowl by topping them with bacon crumbs or crumbled tempeh bacon, a drizzle of heavy cream or coconut milk, and chopped chives.
Can this recipe be made dairy free?
Yes! All you need to do is saute the aromatics in olive oil or vegan butter and replace the Greek yogurt with vegan coconut yogurt. Your favorite vegan shredded cheddar cheese should be enough to make this recipe cheesy but you can add up to ¼ cup of nutritional yeast for extra cheesy flavors.
What should you serve with this?
A piece or two of crusty bread and plenty of crackers are the perfect sides to this creamy soup. If you want to make it a meal, serve the soup with chickpea “chicken” salad sandwiches and tomato bulgur salad on the side.
Refrigerator: Place the leftover cooled soup in individual airtight containers and store them in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer: I don’t recommend freezing soups made with dairy because they tend to become grainy upon thawing.
More healthy soup recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 5 garlic cloves chopped
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon mustard dry
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cup cauliflower florets
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 carrots diced
- 5 cups broccoli chopped into smaller pieces (from a 12 oz. bag)
- 2 cups oat milk
- ½ cup greek yogurt
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- black pepper to taste
- Heat butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Once it’s melted, add the onion and sauté it for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, paprika, mustard, and salt and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the cauliflower and vegetable broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
- While the soup is simmering, dice the carrots and chop the broccoli; set aside.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the cauliflower into a smooth consistency, or carefully transfer it to a blender and blend on low until smooth, then transfer it back into the pot.
- Whisk the milk and yogurt together in a bowl, then pour it into the pot with the soup, along with the carrots and broccoli and stir to combine. Boil the soup, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
- Last, add in the cheese and whisk until the cheese is melted. Divide into bowls, top with black pepper and salt to taste and enjoy!