Being February, it’s very much “soup season” here. I was a bit overdue to try a new soup, so I started looking around and found many of the popular choices seemed to revolve around broccoli cheddar soup, particularly the version sold by Panera Bread. In fact, there were so many “Copycat Panera” recipes it was hard to avoid… and since I love broccoli cheddar soup and haven’t tried making one, I figured it was time.
Here’s where things get interesting.
The recipe I used was a photo of a page inside a “copycat recipes” book that claimed it was based on the Panera Bread soup. However, after making it (and I must say it’s very good), I did a little more research and found that there is some very sharp disagreement over three things in these recipes – one, the proportions of vegetables and cheese; two, whether or not to include celery along with the carrots; and three, whether to leave the vegetables intact as cooked or to blend everything into a smooth puree (as I did with this recipe).
Therefore, while it was posted as a “copycat” recipe, I’m skeptical enough now to say I’m not entirely sure. As I have never had the broccoli cheddar soup at Panera, I don’t really have anything to compare it with. So, I’m going to drop the “copycat” part of this and simply call it a broccoli cheddar soup. When I eventually have a chance to try Panera’s version, I’ll come back and make changes as needed. Either way, it’s still a delicious soup that will warm you on these colder nights.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
A version of broccoli cheddar soup that claims to be a copycat of the soup served at Panera Bread, but without having the actual soup before this is simply listed as a broccoli cheddar soup.
No disrespect is intended toward the original recipe source.
In a cookpot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté 4-5 minutes or until softened. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Melt the remaining butter in the cookpot. Using a whisk, add the flour and stir frequently for 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the half and half, stirring constantly. Add the chicken broth, also stirring constantly until well blended. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the broccoli, carrots, and sautéed onion to the pot and mix thoroughly. Cook over low heat until the vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes.
Using a stand or immersion blender, blend the mixture into a smooth puree.
Add the shredded cheese and mix thoroughly until melted. Add nutmeg and stir until blended. Check for taste and add salt or pepper as desired.
Serving Size 1 1/2 cup
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 599kcal
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 48.1g74%
- Saturated Fat 29.9g150%
- Cholesterol 142mg48%
- Sodium 926mg39%
- Potassium 632mg19%
- Total Carbohydrate 20.7g7%
- Dietary Fiber 2.8g12%
- Sugars 4g
- Protein 23.1g47%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- There are numerous variations for this recipe:
- Adding 1 cup of chopped celery
- Skipping the step of blending the soup into a puree
- Increasing the amount of cheese
- Substituting milk for the half and half
- Serving can be in conventional or bread bowls
- Garnish with small bits of cooked broccoli and/or more shredded cheese if desired