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Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Spinach and Bone Broth

I started making broccoli cheddar soup years ago in the winter as a means to make use of frozen vegetables. Nothing against frozen broccoli, but the texture is… not good. I much prefer fresh (especially if I’m making something like this Baby Broccoli with Bacon), but will cave and use frozen when the fresh stuff is subpar.

Texture, of course, is a non-issue if you’re going to puree it into broccoli cheddar soup! 

That said, this soup can be made with either fresh or frozen; whatever you have on hand works.

I also like to incorporate spinach into the recipe (fresh or frozen is fine), to boost the vibrant green color as well as the nutrient levels. When it comes to green, leafy vegetables, spinach is one of the highest in folate (more on folate and its richest food sources in this article).

Spinach contains 194 mcg of folate in a 100g (about 3 cups) serving while kale only contains 29 mcg in a 100g serving. Nothing against kale, as it has its own nutritional perks, but spinach is also worth having on the menu! You may recall that folate is a key nutrient for fertility and pregnancy.

My recipe for broccoli cheddar soup includes bone broth as the base. Yes, you could use water, but bone broth offers an array of amino acids helpful for your hair, skin, nails, and joints including glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and more.

If you’ve read my book, Real Food for Pregnancy, you know glycine has specific benefits during pregnancy. Glycine is required for the formation of fetal DNA, promoting liver health, aiding sleep, and to support your own stretching skin, growing uterus, and adapting joints and ligaments. In fact, glycine becomes “conditionally essential” during pregnancy, meaning it must be consumed in adequate amounts from dietary sources to avoid a deficiency. Bone broth is one great way to incorporate more glycine into your diet.

Finally, the sharp cheddar cheese is not without nutritional benefits. You’ve got a solid source of protein, calcium, vitamin K2 (particularly if it’s an aged cheddar), vitamin A, and more.

Without belaboring the nutritional reasons for making this recipe, trust me when I say it’s very tasty! When I shared this on my Instagram page recently, it received rave reviews. I knew I needed to give it a permanent place on the blog as well.

For those of you with gestational diabetes, this recipe is naturally low carb and therefore blood sugar friendly.

This recipe makes a relatively small batch of soup, so if you’re serving a big family or want leftovers, feel free to double or triple the batch!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Spinach and Bone Broth

cook time 20 minutes
yield 4 servings

  • 3 cups bone broth
  • 1 lb broccoli (fresh or frozen, save some small florets to the side if you like a chunky soup)
  • 4 oz spinach (a few handfuls worth of fresh spinach)
  • 2 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cubed or grated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Heat ~3 cups of bone broth on the stove. Add ~1 lb of broccoli (stems too; don't waste them!) plus a bit of salt and pepper — don’t over-salt because the cheddar cheese will add a lot of flavor. Cover with a lid and simmer until broccoli is tender.

  2. When broccoli is tender, add a few handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach and roughly chopped green onion, stir to wilt.

  3. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot (or you can transfer to a blender).

  4. If you like a chunky soup like I do, add some small florets of broccoli to the pot. Let simmer until those florets are tender.

  5. Add ~4oz of cubed or grated sharp cheddar cheese. Stir into the soup to melt.

  6.  Add ~1/2 cup cream or milk (I prefer cream) to the pot. Taste test and adjust salt to your liking (the amount will depend on the saltiness of the cheese you added).


This broccoli cheddar soup with spinach and bone broth is a wonderfully nutrient-dense recipe and full of flavor. 

To summarize some of the nutritional benefits, you’ve got:

  • folate from your broccoli and spinach
  • glycine and other amino acids from the gelatin-rich broth
  • fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin K2 in that aged cheddar cheese
  • calcium in the broccoli and cheddar

I could go on, but nutrition is probably not the reason you’re eating this.

You’re eating it because it tastes good and warms you up and that’s reason enough. 


Until next week,

PS – If you give this recipe a try, let me know how it comes out in the comments below!

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


Leave a comment
  1. Love this soup! I’ve made it once already and about to make it again-husband loves it too! Thank you for this recipe!

    • So glad you’re enjoying it, Kayla!

  2. Lovely soup recipe! Made a big batch to enjoy for the week. Thank you for sharing!

    • Happy to hear you’re enjoying it!

  3. Made this tonight with braising greens from our CSA (baby kale, chard, etc) and it was great! Even our 7 month old loved it. A great week night rotation for busy days!

  4. yum yum yum!! tasty and yes, healthy! thanks so much

  5. am I bad because I added uncured organic bacon? It was wonderful, thank you for the recipe

  6. Beef bone broth or chicken bone broth? Or does it matter?

    • Either one will work!

  7. Easy to make and delicious! Thanks!

  8. How do you think cabbage would taste? I have some to use up. I imagine it may be an interesting addition.

    • I’m not sure how that would work. Let me know if you try it!

  9. SERIOUSLY DELECTABLE. My husband requested a double batch for next time.

    • Hooray! Glad it was a hit!

  10. Will this freeze well as a post-partum meal?

  11. This soup is so delicious! I added a bit of garlic powder at the end with the cream and it was just the right addition of flavour.

    • Great addition!

  12. Have been so excited to make this since you first posted. It tastes incredible, but my cheese didn’t melt — just sort of stayed as little blobs. What did I do wrong? Would love to get it just right next time! Thanks for this recipe and for everything you do!

    • Oh no! If your cheese doesn’t melt, keep the pot over low heat and continue to stir until it’s fully combined. You could also puree again if needed, though if you wanted to keep some broccoli chunks in there, that would puree them as well.

  13. For those asking about freezing….it might work to freeze the soup prior to any cheese or milk. Then when you are cooking to eat, you can add cheese and milk after. I am looking for healthy soups to freeze and this seems to be what I am finding!

  14. Thanks for the tip! I was going to ask the same question. Prepping my postpartum meals now…

  15. Thanks for the recipe Lily! This is favourite in our home.

  16. This was absolutely delicious, and so simple! I used turkey stock I had made after thanksgiving. Thank you!!

  17. Thanks for the yummy recipe! I made bone broth yesterday and a big batch of this soup today. I was surprised that both of my littles ones ate a big bowl. A win in our house!

  18. Made this for dinner tonight – I needed a quick & easy way to get some bone broth in and this was perfect!! Thank you, Lily for the recipe & all the info you put out there.

    • So glad you enjoyed it, Josten!

  19. I’ve kept this soup in rotation ever since you posted the recipe! I always double (or triple) the recipe, and toss whatever other veggies are around into the mix (carrots, cauliflower, kale, sweet potatoes etc.) and it always comes out great 🙂
    For what it’s worth — I find that it freezes well even after the dairy elements are added. If you find that it separates too much for your liking you can always re-blend, but it hasn’t been an issue for me.

  20. Wow, my family and I LOVED this recipe! It was so delicious using your homemade bone broth recipe. I am definitely making this again soon.

    • Happy to hear that, Samantha!

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