A while back I saw a recipe for broccoli cheddar soup that made my mouth water. This was surprising, because I’m not generally a fan of broccoli cheddar soup. It always feels like just eating cheese sauce with s few tiny broccoli sprigs, very disappointing. But for whatever reason, the thought of a cheesy, broccoli packed soup was really appealing to me, so I set to work thinking about how I would make some that wouldn’t leave me bummed out.
I figured my problem with broccoli cheese soup was just that it didn’t have enough substance to it. I love cheese, but I’m not going to spoon straight cheese sauce into my mouth. Put that same cheese sauce on some fries, or some roasted veggies, or, my favorite, elbow macaroni, and that’s a whole other story. That shit is better than sex. So I thought about how I might bulk up the classic broccoli cheddar soup. I would need big chunks of broccoli, not the minuscule shavings of the broccoli tops like I normally see in broccoli cheddar soup. And maybe some noticeably big bits of onion. And carrot. And all those vegetables could use a carb. I thought about some rice. Now we were talking.
Then I started thinking about how I probably want to add some protein to make this a really balanced meal. Yeah, the cheddar would have some protein, but not as much as I would like. Since I’m working on reducing my meat consumption, adding a good source of plant protein would be nice. I decided to swap rice for quinoa, and then pondered the possibility of putting beans in this soup.
Beans wouldn’t really have the texture or flavor I was going for, but the more I thought about it, another idea occurred to me. What if, instead of thickening my soup with a roux, I thickened it with a base of blended white beans? Would the cheese melt into it properly? Would it hold a good texture? I decided to give it a go!
And it worked awesomely!
Now I have a really balanced, hearty, filling, broccoli cheddar soup. It satisfies everything I’ve ever wished for in a broccoli cheddar soup, rich and cheesy, but also full of substance. Give it a try!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Quinoa and White Beans
- 1 can white beans (I used great northern)
- 2-4 cups broth of choice, depending on desired end consistency (I used NotChicken broth)
- 1-2 heads of broccoli, chopped to desired consistency
- 2-3 large carrots, shredded
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 block cream cheese
- 1 cup quinoa uncooked (you might want to pre cook it before adding to the soup)
- 1-2 cups milk
- 1-2 cups broth of choice (I used Not Chick’n broth, to make it vegetarian)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt your butter in a stock pan over medium heat. Toss in your diced onions and pressed garlic and let saute until onions are soft and transparent.
- Toss in your chopped broccoli and shredded carrots, saute until desired level of tenderness is achieved (I prefer more crispy veggies, but others prefer more soft. It’s your call!)
- While your veggies are cooking, dump your can of beans, including the bean liquid, in a blender with a little water or broth. Blend until smooth.
- When veggies are cooked to your liking, dump the blended beans into the pan with the veggies.
- Put in shredded cheese and cream cheese, as it melts, add milk and broth. I’ll level with you, I just eyeballed the milk and broth as I put it in, keeping an eye on the consistency. It may have been way more than 2 cups each, but I don’t think it was less than one cup. So start with a cup each, and work up from there until it’s the consistency you want. Stir it constantly to melt and combine the cheese and keep it from burning.
- When it’s the consistency you like, add your quinoa. I didn’t cook my quinoa first, thinking it would cook in the soup, and it did, but it took a while and was still pretty firm with the first serving. Next time I’ll cook it first. You might need to add more liquid after adding the quinoa, go for it if you feel like you do.
- Salt and pepper to taste!
This soup froze excellently, but it’s a good idea to keep your eye on it when you are reheating it. I burnt some in the microwave once.
I’d like to try thickening other soups with blended beans instead of roux, since it adds a lot more fiber and protein than white flour and butter do. I want to be able to feel full after a bowl of soup.
I hope you like this soup recipe! Tell us what you think in the comments!
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