I have a confession. I have a slight obsession with Panera Bread. And when I say obsession, I mean I could eat through their entire menu if given the chance. When I say obsession, I mean it was my go-to throughout university, and I would always turn to a comforting bowl of broccoli cheddar soup.
Now, would you believe this Panera addict if she told you that this soup is easy, quick, and tastes just like the Panera original? Consider this my contribution to the “copycat” community.
Some broccoli cheddar soup recipes add shredded carrots to somewhat mimic the look of cheese in the soup. I have tried the soup both ways, but truthfully don’t find the carrots added much, and so I left them out. If you do want to pack a few extra veggies in – for kids especially – feel free to add the carrots in when you are sautéing the broccoli.
As a note, you will notice that I use pre-shredded cheese for the soup. Generally, many people tend to shy away from the pre-shredded cheeses as they are coated with a little bit of flour to prevent it from sticking together. In this case, the flour helps with thickening the soup, so I find it works well. You can always use freshly grated cheese if you’d like!
Broccoli Cheddar SoupCourse: MainsDifficulty: Easy
Your favourite Panera Bread copycat recipe!
1 onion, finely chopped
1 broccoli head, roughly chopped – you can include the stems as well if you’d like
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 900ml cartons low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup half and half cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp corn starch, mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, and continue to saute. Before the garlic browns, add the broccoli and saute for 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, and let the broccoli simmer until tender. Once the broccoli is soft, add the milk and whipping cream, and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the corn starch and water mixture, and combine well. Let the mixture simmer until slightly thickened.
- Using an immersion blender, pulse through the soup until you get your desired consistency. I prefer to have some chunks of broccoli, but you can make this as smooth as you wish.
- In handfuls, add the cheese to the mixture while stirring constantly, to ensure the cheese evenly melts. Once melted, add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Let the soup continue to simmer for 10 minutes, and serve!