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A meatless meal for all year round: Broccoli cheddar soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Brent Hofacker | Shutterstock | Altered by Aleteia

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 03/12/24

This broccoli cheddar soup is perfect for Lenten Fridays. But it’s so good you might want to make it all year. It's a beloved staple in my house!

Many Catholics observe a “soup and Stations” tradition of praying the Stations of the Cross and eating soup on Fridays in Lent, so this soup is perfect for Lenten Fridays. But it’s so good you might want to make it all year round!

Do you have certain meals you’ve made so many times you don’t even need to look at the recipe anymore? That’s this recipe for me, a perennial favorite in my home. 

I started off making this recipe many moons ago, but over the years and with trial and error, I made my own version that’s even quicker and easier (that version has you using numerous separate skillets, while I make everything in one pot. I love the easy clean-up of a one-pot meal! And there’s no difference in the taste.).

First, a bit of advice

This soup does take a little time and effort dicing the vegetables and shredding the cheese. If you’re often cooking for a crowd, I recommend some kind of chopper device (I have this one) as it saves so much time. But otherwise, it’s pretty straightforward, and no need to stress about exact quantities as this recipe turns out reliably delicious even with a little more or less of the vegetables depending on what’s on hand.

My one cautionary warning is to make sure you turn down the heat before adding the cheese. Adding cheese to very hot soup can prevent it from melting and cause weird clumps to form (not that I know from experience…). 

The time and effort are worth it as you are guaranteed to get rave reviews: Everyone I’ve ever served it to has devoured this soup, even the pickiest of eaters! 

Here is the recipe for what my kids describe as “heavenly delicious” and “the best soup ever.”

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This recipe takes about 30 minutes and is pretty easy to make. And it’s a pretty close copy of Panera’s famous broccoli cheese soup. Dare I say this version is even more delicious? 

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup butter, separated
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 head of broccoli, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (I shred a 16 oz block of Cheddar cheese; it melts better if I shred it myself vs buying it shredded)
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

The first step is dicing up all those vegetables. Dice the onion, carrots, celery and broccoli. Set aside the broccoli (the other three can be combined).

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large soup pot (I typically use a Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender and translucent and all vegetables are softened and slightly golden, about 5 minutes. 

Turn down the heat to low and add 1/4 cup butter to the pot. Just as it melts, add ¼ cup flour to the pot and whisk together over medium-low heat. Continue to whisk and cook until slightly bubbling.

Gradually pour in the milk while whisking constantly, then stir in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add broccoli and simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, grate your cheese. After the 20 minutes are up, turn off the heat or turn it down very low, and stir in the cheese until melted. Season with salt to taste, and enjoy!

Serve with a loaf of crusty bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, or a salad.

If you’d like to make something else, let me introduce you to another simple but beloved recipe in our family, which we affectionately call “Mission House potatoes” after a favorite meal at a now-closed cafe near our old home. 

Mission House Cheesy Potatoes

This recipe can be easily customized with any amount of potatoes and just about any cheese you have on hand. You could also use a different vegetable, like broccoli or cauliflower. It’s always delicious!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Onion powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 cups cheese of choice (I prefer chihuahua cheese or mozzarella, but any kind works)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add potatoes. Boil for about 10-12 minutes, until barely tender. Drain and let potatoes cool for about 10 minutes.

Chop potatoes into large 1-inch cubes. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add potatoes and let cook, stirring occasionally and adding more olive oil as needed to prevent sticking, until golden brown. Generously salt potatoes and add other spices if desired (small children might want only salt).

Alternately, you can bake the potatoes instead of pan-frying them. Either way works great! 

In that case, after chopping the potatoes, toss them in olive oil, salt, and spices, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. 

Generously layer shredded cheese over the hot, cooked potatoes. Feel free to use more or less cheese depending on your preference. Serve warm. 

For more meatless meal ideas, check out Aleteia’s Meatless Meal Planner for Lent 2024. We will be adding new recipes every Tuesday all throughout the Lenten season.

Tags:
Catholic LifestyleFoodLent
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