Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quick Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I love broccoli, but what can a person do with the thick, woody stalks?  I feel wasteful throwing them away.  So, I make soup!  Lately, this creamy, very easy soup has been my go-to favorite.  The taste is fabulous!  It makes a great lunch, snack or quick dinner.  I'm not kidding when I say it takes only minutes to prepare.  You'll have this soup on the table in about 20 minutes, with the help of a blender. A week ago, my in-laws dropped in unannounced and I offered to make them some lunch.  Honestly, I didn't have much in the fridge except two stalks of broccoli and a block of cheese.  Voila!  In a few minutes I was offering them some hot, fresh broccoli soup and grilled sandwiches.  Everyone was quite pleased and satisfied, as I'm sure you will be, too!

Quick Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Makes five (1 cup) servings

2 stalks of broccoli with stems, roughly chopped (or use 4 cups frozen broccoli)
2-1/2 tablespoons onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1-1/2 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
1-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, original
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne (red pepper) or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste, if using stock with added salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded very sharp cheddar cheese (I use lactose free cheese)

1.  In a saucepan, place the chopped broccoli, onion and garlic.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for a few minutes until the broccoli turns bright green and the stalks begin to soften slightly.  If you want some chopped florets in your finished soup, take a few out now and chopped them; set aside.

2.  Pour the remaining vegetable mixture into a blender.  Add the almond milk, seasonings and cheese.  Blend on high until desired consistency is reached.  If necessary, stop the blender and push any unblended ingredients down and continue blending.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

3.  Pour into a serving bowl, stir in the chopped broccoli florets and serve immediately.  This soup can be made ahead and refrigerated until needed.  Heat gently in a saucepan before serving.

Nutritional Information per 1 cup serving: 89 calories, 6 g carbohydrate (2 g dietary fiber, 1.8 g sugars), 4.8 g total fat (2.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 417 mg sodium, 253.4 mg calcium, 248 mg potassium, 6.4 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013

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