This lean version of broccoli-cheese soup gets its creamy texture (and ample protein) from cannellini beans, so it’s a warming choice for a hearty meatless Monday meal. Be sure to whisk the cheese into the soup gradually, off the heat, so that it melts smoothly. Also remember to let the cheese come to room temperature before assembling the soup so that it will melt more easily. If your grocery store doesn’t sell broccoli crowns, which are trimmed so that there are more florets and fewer woody stems, just buy regular broccoli, then trim the thick stems with a paring knife so you’re left with the tender, near-white cores, chopping them finely before adding them to the soup.
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 cups (6 oz./185 g) leeks, thinly sliced (about 1 large leek), white and pale green parts only
- 1 Tbs. garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) broccoli crowns, chopped (about 7 cups)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) vegetable broth
- 1 can (14 oz./440 g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1. In a large soup pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and sauté until tender but not browned, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, 45 seconds. Add the broccoli and a generous pinch of salt and sauté until bright-green and aromatic, 4 minutes.
2. Add the broth, beans and mustard powder and bring to a boil over medium- high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the broccoli is fall-apart tender, 20 minutes.
3. In batches, blend the soup in a blender with the lid slightly ajar, or use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot off the heat.
4. Return the soup to the pot. Off of the heat, gradually whisk the cheese into the soup and stir until melted. Add the nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Find more simple, healthy meals for every night of the week in our book Weeknight Vegetarian, by Ivy Manning.