When I was little, my mom used to bring me to one particular restaurant downtown whenever we had a special day out going to see a movie or a bit of shopping. I used to look forward to this particular restaurant so much for one thing in particular: broccoli cheese soup! The ooey gooey goodness of melted cheese in the creamy broccoli soup was one of my favourite things to eat. When it was time for our special holiday outings, we always made sure to include a stop for broccoli cheddar soup in our Christmas plans, normally after a busy day of shopping for presents or watching the holiday play at our local theatre. Fast forward many years, and this soup is still one of my favourite things to eat. Food and eating are still a big part of our holiday traditions. K and I always spend time together in the kitchen baking for friends and family and he has inherited my love of all things Christmas – from choosing a tree at the tree farm and decorating it, to Christmas music, and hot cocoa stops while admiring the lights in the neighbourhood, he loves it all. When it comes to my favourite soup, the only difference is that now I incorporate the soup into my family’s traditions by making it myself. I’ve tried to make this a healthy broccoli cheese soup and one that will also appeal to the palettes of little picky eaters. K has entered into a somewhat picky stage, but he gobbled this soup up the other day. It’s the perfect hearty, vegetarian winter meal and it’s quite simple to make. We love to enjoy this soup especially on New Years day and this year was no different as we were greeted with our first big real snowfall of the season – hurrah! After bundling up and playing outside, we came in to warm up in front of the fire and I worked away on the soup. This broccoli cheese soup has minimal ingredients and I made sure to use a Canadian cheddar cheese – Ivanhoe by Gay Lea. I love supporting local companies, businesses and farms and Gay Lea is awesome in that it’s a co-operative owned by over 1200 farm families, which I think is so wonderful. They’ve also raised a ton of money – $450,000 – to support co-operative development around the world. Supporting co-ops like this makes me happy. Winter snow fun, family time, and delicious broccoli cheese soup. It was the perfect way to end the day.
I’m also excited to be offering a giveaway – Gay Lea is giving away one year’s worth of free products (12 coupons for free Gay Lea product!) to one lucky reader. Enter below.
Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 medium-sized Onion – finely diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves – finely diced or grated
- 1/4 cup of Butter
- 1/4 cup of All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup of Milk of your choice
- 3 cups of Vegetable Stock
- 3 cups of Broccoli – chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup of Carrots – finely diced (approximately 2 large sized carrots)
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup of Cheddar Cheese – shredded plus a bit more for topping (approximately 1/4 cup)
- In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large non-stick pot, heat the butter for a minute or so. Add the flour. Whisk constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly add the vegetable stock and milk, whisking as you do. Turn the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the broccoli and carrots. After the 20 minutes of simmering time is up, add the broccoli, carrots and cooked onion/garlic mixture to the big pot. Add the salt and pepper. I used approximately 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. You can also add 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper here if you want a bit of bite. Simmer for another 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Next, using a handheld immersion blender, puree about half of the soup, leaving a bit of chunkiness. If you don’t have a handheld immersion blender, you can also remove half of the soup and blend it in a blender.
- Add the cheese and stir to combine.
- Serve the soup, adding a small handful of cheese on top. I love to eat this soup with some hearty bread as well.
Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.