This broccoli cheddar soup takes a classic American restaurant favorite and packs a punch of protein with the addition of white beans. Plus, the white beans make this a healthier soup option by eliminating any cream or flour. Gluten-free too.
Vegetarian | Gluten-Free | One-Pot Meal | Vegan Modifications
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Tools to use for this soup recipe:
Is Broccoli Cheddar Soup Healthy?
I grew up in New Jersey going to chain restaurants. I even worked at some of them, including Bennigan’s and The Outback. So, I grew up eating broccoli cheddar soup, but I know how it was made at these chain restaurants. Heavy on fat, cheese, and most of all cream.
I wanted to do something a little healthier and in fact even a vegetarian broccoli cheese soup. I’ve been using beans and chickpeas to make soups creamy without milk or cream, which has been a lifesaver for us.
So, yes, this is a healthy broccoli and cheese soup. It can be even healthier if you use reduced-fat shredded cheese. But, don’t judge me for adding some pancetta to top the soup sometimes. I just can’t say no to pancetta!
Why Add White Beans To Broccoli Cheddar Soup
When I started to make this healthy broccoli and cheddar soup for Eric I expected him to almost scoff at it. It’s certainly not the soup we grew up with in the 80s and 90s in New Jersey. I almost apologized to him when serving it. I felt like a mother trying to sneak beans and protein and healthy ingredients into a dish.
There is a reason why he calls me the Soup Queen. He found this to be an entirely tasty broccoli cheddar soup, even without all of the flour and heavy cream that would normally be the reason for making it so creamy.
Adding white beans makes this a healthified broccoli cheddar soup, if that is even a word. What is normally a soup loaded with flour and heavy cream, keeps its creaminess and adds protein but the simple addition of white beans. The secret ingredient in so many of my soup recipes.
Check out some of our other healthy soup recipes:
Ingredients For A Healthier Broccoli And Cheddar Soup
When making cheddar broccoli soup from scratch, there are a few fresh ingredients needed. Most other ingredients are pantry staples that are typically found in most kitchens.
In addition to fresh broccoli, the soup includes yellow onion, garlic, and fresh shredded carrots. The vegetables are cooked in olive oil, salt, and black pepper. The soup is seasoned with ground cumin (my secret ingredient in almost every soup or stew I make) and a touch of ground nutmeg.
All of the broccoli and vegetables are cooked in vegetable broth.
Then, the way we make this a healthy broccoli cheddar soup is to add a can of white beans or canellinni beans. Not only do the beans add protein and make the soup more filling, but it is the secret ingredient that makes the soup creamy without using milk, cream, or even flour.
If you are not concerned about the fat, then go ahead and use regular shredded cheese, otherwise use reduced-fat cheddar cheese. I prefer to buy it shredded or shred the cheese myself so it melts quicker. Reserve a touch to garnish the soup too.
How To Make Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup With White Beans
This broccoli cheddar cheese soup is not all that difficult to make. The hardest part is shredding the carrots so that they cook quickly. If you prefer to dice the carrots, it will take longer for the carrots to cook.
Start by placing a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and carrots. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and nutmeg. I like to add the spices early so that they infuse into the oil. Allow the spices to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the carrots start to brown from the spices.
Add the vegetable broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits of spices from the bottom of the dutch oven. Add the broccoli and coat in the vegetables and spices. Reduce the heat to low and simmer to steam the broccoli for about 15 minutes or until the broccoli softens. Add the white beans and stir. Remove the soup from the heat.
Using An Immersion Blender To Finish The Broccoli Soup
Use an immersion blender to blend the broccoli and white beans until smooth. Remove the dutch oven from the heat and place on a trivet to protect your countertop. Add the immersion blender with the head fully immersed into the soup.
Keep the head of the blender below the soup or face a bit of a mess. If you are concerned about making a mess, place a kitchen towel over the soup and the blender to avoid a splash back.
Once blended, return the soup to the stovetop and place on a low heat. Add the shredded cheese, reserving a bit fo garnish. Once the cheese is melted and the soup is warmed through, serve topped with additional cheese.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ of small yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 medium-sized carrots, shredded
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 medium-sized heads of fresh broccoli, cut
- 1 15 ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- Place a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and carrots. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and nutmeg. Stir into the vegetables and cook 2-3 minutes more until the carrots start to brown from the spices.
- Add the vegetable broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits of spices from the bottom of the dutch oven.
- Add the broccoli and coat in the vegetables and spices. Reduce the heat to low and simmer to steam the broccoli covered for about 15 minutes or until the broccoli softens.
- Add the white beans and stir.
- Remove from the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend the broccoli and white beans until smooth.
- Return to a low heat and add the cheese, reserving a handful for garnish. Once the cheese is melted and the soup is warmed through, serve topped with additional cheese.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 968mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Modifications And Variations
The only thing non-vegan about this soup is the shredded cheese. To make a vegan broccoli cheese soup use a cheddar cheese alternative.
If you don’t have any dietary restrictions, there are loads of options on how to serve this broccoli cheddar soup with white beans.
If you are not a vegetarian, top with a bit of crumbled bacon or pancetta. If you are not gluten-free, top with bread crumbs or serve with crusty bread for dipping.
You can also top the broccoli soup with a bit of greek yogurt or sour cream to make it creamier, but of course this would make it a touch less healthy.