Low Calorie Main Dish Soups & Stews

Broccoli Cheese Soup

September 25, 2013

I really got into Fall mode this past Sunday. Windows open and a pot of veggies simmering on the stove for soup. I’m a huge fan of Broccoli Cheese Soup, but it can easily get a little overboard in the calorie department. I found a simple recipe from Cooking Light for a more figure-friendly version. It’s not as thick and creamy as it’s not-so-light counterpart, but at 160 calories per serving, I’m not complaining.

Broccoli Cheese Soup by So, How's It Taste? www.leah-claire.com

So, how’s it taste?

Good, but won’t take the place of any creamy, cheesy, rich version. Whenever I see a recipe call for unsalted stock or broth, I usually completely ignore that and buy the regular. I wish I had taken my own advice for this one, too. I stuck to unsalted and it made the soup bland, so I ended up adding more salt to the finished product. Yes, you can control your own salt, but I find using regular stock satisfies my palate and having the broccoli and other veggies cook in salted broth would have brought out their flavor more. While I enjoyed a cup of this, it was thin soup and I really missed that creamy consistency. I was hoping the half-and-half would remedy that and it may be my own fault. I opted to shave off a few more calories in my version by using fat-free half-and-half. I think that was a mistake. That bit of fat from real half-and-half would have gone a long way to satisfying my need for this soup to have a creamy touch. I also skipped the sharp cheddar for a four cheese blend because I had it on hand and needed to use it up. The recipe calls reduced-fat sharp, but I highly recommend splurging on the real stuff. Sharp cheddar just isn’t the same in its reduced-fat version.

All in all this wasn’t a bad soup, just needs some minor tweaks. I’ll give it bonus points for being so low in calories though. That just means you can add a salad or a big hunk of crusty bread to round our your meal and not feel guilty!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Cooking Light, September 2013
makes 4 servings
per serving: 160 calories, 7.4g fat, 13.6g protein, 10.7g carbs, 2.1g fiber


3 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 3/4 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped (about 8 oz.)
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
3/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup half-and-half
4 oz. shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided


1. Combine first 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

2. Pour soup into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.

3. Return soup to pan. Stir in half-and-half and 2 ounces cheese. Top evenly with remaining cheese.

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  • amy @ fearless homemaker September 25, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I recently bought fat-free half and half for my coffee and it is NOTHING compared to real half and half. I definitely won’t be buying it again – i really miss the creamy, rich consistency of the real stuff. I bet using the real stuff would beef up this soup, too. It sounds promising, especially with a few tweaks!

    • Leah Short September 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

      It’s amazing how just a little bit extra can make such a difference. Definitely buying regular next time!

  • alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] September 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

    OH EM GEE, Leah. I love you and I hate you all at the same time. I’ve been working closes lately which means dinner at Panera nearly every day which means ALL TEH BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUPS. Given my current goal to lose a few pounds the fact that each serving is only 160 calories is perfection. Thanks for tackling this *and* noting how to improve the recipe!

    • Leah Short September 25, 2013 at 10:49 am

      You’re about to love me even more…a bowl of Panera’s fabulously delicious broccoli soup is only 330 calories! Not too shabby at all (unless it’s a bowlful of lies). I really think I can improve on this one though.

  • Julie @ Table for Two September 25, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    There’s something to be said for no-guilt comfort food!!

  • Shea @ Dixie Chik Cooks September 26, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Love how creamy it looks – thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  • Erin @ One Particular Kitchen September 26, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I am SO excited for fall food too! Will have to try this — wonder how it would be in a bread bowl?