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Cream of Broccoli Soup—So delicious you won’t know you are eating a powerhouse veggie

Author: Carol Ann Kates

Yield: 4 servings

We are between seasons now when we begin abandoning heartier foods for lighter fare. Yet the weather isn’t quite warm enough for grilling and salads. My Cream of Broccoli Soup is the perfect weeknight meal for spring and can be prepared in under 30 minutes.

Considered a powerhouse food, broccoli ranks in the top 20 foods listed in the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. It is a good source of vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, antioxidants, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. Broccoli is low in calories and high in fiber. It is beneficial in maintaining good eye, heart, and bone health, boosts immunity, and reduces inflammation. Our doctors want us to eat more broccoli.

Jack LaLanne, “the Godfather of Fitness” and American exercise and nutrition guru, used to say, “If it tastes good, spit it out.” He wouldn’t spit out my Cream of Broccoli Soup. It is so delicious you won’t know you are eating something that is good for you. Following my recipe is: “Everything you wanted to know about broccoli but didn’t know who to ask.”


Cream of Broccoli Soup:

You can use either shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese in this recipe. I purée the entire soup. If you want something a little chunkier, purée only half and chop the remaining pieces of broccoli into bite-size pieces.

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1 medium white onion, chopped

  • ¼ cup flour

  • 2 cans (14 ½-ounces) chicken broth

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh broccoli, cut into florets, stems chopped (use all the broccoli)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon large grind black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • ½ teaspoon rubbed sage

  • 2 cups milk

  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese


  1. In a kettle, melt butter over a medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add flour, stirring constantly, for an additional minute until thickened.

  2. Gradually add chicken broth and broccoli. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until broccoli is tender.

  3. Purée soup in a blender or a food processor. Return soup to the saucepan. Add salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and milk. Add enough milk to make soup the consistency you desire, not to exceed 2 cups. I usually add only 1 cup.

  4. Reheat, stirring occasionally. Add Cheddar or Swiss cheese and stir until cheese melts.

  5. For an elegant touch, garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and pea sprouts.

Everything you wanted to know about broccoli but didn’t know who to ask:

  • Calabrese—The most common type of broccoli found in the supermarket is Calabrese broccoli. It normally has a deep emerald-green color, although broccoli with purple and white flower heads is growing in popularity.

  • Broccoflower—This vegetable is a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower. It is shaped like a cauliflower but has lime green florets. Its flavor is somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower.

  • Broccoli rabe—Broccoli rabe is a green cruciferous vegetable. It is the common name for rapini, a member of the turnip family. It has long light-green stems with dark-green spiky leaves, which surround small broccoli like buds and occasional yellow flowers. It has a bitter, but zesty flavor and is a popular vegetable in Italian cuisine.

  • Broccolini—Broccolini, a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli, sometimes called baby broccoli, has long, thin, slender stems and smaller flowering heads. Its taste is sweeter than Calabrese broccoli.

  • Chinese broccoli—Chinese broccoli is a leafy, green vegetable with long, thick stems and broad leaves. Its flavor, though similar to Calabrese broccoli, is more pungent.

  • Romanesco—Romanesco is chartreuse in color and has distinctive pointed spiral cones.

  • Tips on shopping for broccoli: When buying Calabrese broccoli, look for buds that are tightly closed and crisp leaves. The buds should be an even, deep green color, and the stems should be a lighter green than the buds. Avoid broccoli with large, thick, whitish stalks.

  • Select broccoli rabe with small, firm, green stems, tightly closed buds, and an abundance of florets. Shop with your nose. Smell the stalks of broccoli rabe where they are tied together and avoid any with a mustard-like smell. Pass up broccoli rabe that has yellowed flowers or stalks that are split at the bottom. This is a sign of age.

  • Select broccoflower with tightly compact florets and bright green leaves. Avoid one with brown spots, soft spots, or bruises.

  • Look for broccolini with tight heads, firm stems, and moist ends. Do not buy broccolini with flowers.

  • Chinese broccoli should have firm, crisp stems. If the end of the stem is brown, it is passed its prime. Select Chinese broccoli with thinner stems as it will be more tender.

  • Romanesco should have a firm head and feel heavy for its size. Avoid specimens that are discolored.

  • Tips on storing broccoli: Broccoli, broccolini, Chinese broccoli, and Romanesco will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Broccoli rabe should be wrapped in a wet paper towel and placed in a reusable, eco-friendly produce storage bag or plastic bag before refrigerating.

  • Availability: Broccoli – Year-round, with a peak season from October through April. Broccoli rabe – Year-round, but best in late fall to early spring. Broccolini – Year-round. Chinese broccoli – Year-round. Romanesco – early fall.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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