We have a problem here.  This broccoli cheddar soup doesn’t contain heavy cream or disturbing amounts of butter.  But I promise you won’t miss it.  The spinach is essential- you won’t taste it, but it will give the soup the perfect green color you’d expect from broccoli cheddar soup.  You just have to trust me- I promise it’ll be worth it.  The croutons are almost a must and can be thrown together in just a few minutes..

I won’t take credit for perfecting broccoli cheddar soup while keeping it healthy.  Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

Ingredients:

-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

-2 pounds broccoli, chopped.  Stems can be used but must be peeled.

-1 medium onion, roughly chopped

-2 medium garlic cloves, minced.

-1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

-pinch cayenne pepper

-1/2 cup water

-1/4 teaspoon baking soda

-2 cups low sodium chicken broth (veggie broth works great too!)

-2 ounces baby spinach

-3 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (3/4 cup)

-1 1/2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated (3/4 cup)

In a dutch oven or a large pot, melt butter.

Add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Stir frequently for 5-6 minutes.  Add 1 cup of water and baking soda.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add broth and another 1 cup of water.  Increase heat to medium-high until it simmers.

Add spinach and cook for 1 minute, or until spinach is wilted.

Transfer 3/4 of soup to a blender.  Add cheddar and parmesan and process until smooth.  You can process all of the soup, but I left out the remaining 1/4 of the soup since I like it chunky.

Adjust soup’s consistency with additional water if necessary.  (No more than one cup.)

Serve with homemade croutons and additional cheddar on top.

Croutons:

2 cups cubed bread (I used old whole wheat Italian bread)

-2 Tablespoons butter

-1/2 tsp. salt

-1/2 tsp. ground pepper.

-1/4 tsp. garlic powder

-1/4 tsp. Italian seasonings

-1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese

Melt butter, add seasonings.  Toss croutons in mixture.

Toss croutons in mixture.

Place on a baking sheet and cook until crisp, about 10-15 minutes.

Sprinkle on top of soup or salads.

Make this soup today!

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