Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

A fabulous soup for a fabulous fall day. Creamy, cheesy, delicious. Even if you are not a big fan of broccoli, you will love this soup. Puree it smooth or leave it chunky; the choice is yours. Great as a sandwich side or main dish.

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

(adapted from Food Network Kitchen’s Panera Bread copy-cat recipe)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion chopped

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 cups half and half

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if you have it.

4 cups broccoli florets

1 large carrot, diced

2 – 1/2 cups grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, melt butter and sauté onions until soft. Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in half and half until smooth and creamy.

Add nutmeg, broth and bay leaves.

Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated pepper.

Simmer over medium low heat 20 minutes.

Add broccoli and carrots and continue to simmer another 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Remove bay leaves and puree in a blender. (or in pot with immersion blender) Leave in some chunks of broccoli if you wish.

Return soup to pot and add cheese. Stir over medium heat until melted. Add more salt or pepper as needed. Garnish with additional grated cheese.  Serves 4.

Goes great with sourdough or beer batter bread.


Basil Pesto Cavatappi with Broccoli and Peas

Pesto is a very versatile, healthy dressing/sauce that is wonderful on pizza, sandwiches, wraps, vegetables, and of course, pasta.  I love to make it fresh with basil from my garden, but since my plants just went in, I opted for the store bought version to make this dish. 

Basil Pesto Cavatappi

Basil Pesto Cavatappi with Broccoli and Peas

1/2 box (8 ounces) Cavatappi pasta.  (I use De Cecco #87)

4 ounces store bought or homemade Pesto

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup frozen thawed petite green peas

1 5.3  ounce container plain greek yogurt

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan


Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside to cool. Do not rinse.

Prepare broccoli and tomatoes and finely grate cheese in a mini food processor.

In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta with pesto and yogurt. Add vegetables and toss. Add parmesan and toss again.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.


Broccoli Cheese Strata

Broccoli Strata closeup piece

This tasty casserole is wonderful for breakfast, brunch or dinner. Don’t like broccoli? Substitute with asparagus or spinach. Any way you prefer to have it, just have it!

Broccoli Cheese Strata adapted from Annie’s Eats

Makes 4-6 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1- 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups cubed French or Italian Bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (I used Vienna)
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
5 extra large eggs
1 -1/2 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 350

Saute onion until translucent, add broccoli  and garlic and cook until broccoli is tender.

broccoli strata pan

Butter baking dish. Cover bottom of dish with bread. I used an 11x8x2 oval baker.

broccoli strata bread

Sprinkle with broccoli and onion mixture and more bread cubes. Top with cheeses.

broccoli strata 4

Whisk eggs and milk until blended, pour over the bread, broccoli and cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to one day.

broccoli strata 5

Remove from refrigerator 1/2 hour before baking. Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes until puffed, and golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

broccoli casserole