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
- 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
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.
When broccoli is tender, add a few handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach and roughly chopped green onion, stir to wilt.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot (or you can transfer to a blender).
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.
Add ~4oz of cubed or grated sharp cheddar cheese. Stir into the soup to melt.
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!