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Broccoli Cauliflower Soup (Easy to Customize)

It’s easy to customize this broccoli cauliflower soup to your taste. Make it thick and creamy, thin and light, puréed or chunky, dairy-free, more nutritious, lower calorie or jazzed up with garnishes.

Whatever your choices, prepare to dig into a bowl of comfort for a cozy meal or starter. Stick to the recipe or make it your own. Simple ingredients, easy steps.

2 bowls of broccoli and cauliflower soup

The basics to making almost any soup include sautéing vegetables, adding liquid and simmering until everything is tender. That’s it – and this soup is no exception.

Then come the variations to adjust consistency and flavor if you like – for example, adding spices and other ingredients like meat, beans or noodles.

Do measurements for the broccoli and cauliflower have to be exact? No! My rule of thumb is to make sure your liquid just covers the veggies before you simmer everything together. You can always thin out or thicken the soup after cooking.

What to expect

“This is a delicious soup mom” said my daughter/partner kook. I could tell she was being genuine – not just kind words to her mom 🙂

But I know some people like a thick and cheesy broccoli cauliflower soup.

Others are aiming for a healthy broccoli cauliflower soup with ways to tuck in more nutrition without all the fat and calories.

Others just need a great way to use up their wilting veggies in the fridge. Or their broccoli and cauliflower in the freezer.

So we’re covering all the bases.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

broccoli and cauliflower florets, onion, cheese, broth, garlic, seasonings.
broccoli and cauliflower florets, onion, cheese, broth, garlic, seasonings.

Broccoli and Cauliflower – the stars. Use fresh cauliflower and broccoli or frozen.

Cheese – Cheddar cheese is probably most typical. Other good choices are gruyere, Swiss or blue cheese.

Potato – I use a potato as a natural thickener. Yes, it has a few carbs, but it also provides good nutrition. You can replace it with a cornstarch slurry if you prefer (instructions are in the recipe card).

Dijon – I like to add a teaspoon for a little flavor boost. Optional.

Broth – Vegetable broth, chicken broth, vegetable stock or chicken stock.

Seasoning – I like thyme in this soup. I also love to add a pinch of nutmeg. Other flavor options are basil, oregano or chives. And, of course, salt and black pepper. The amount of salt will depend on the cheese you’re using, so start small.

Variations

Dairy-free and vegan option: Leave out the cheese altogether or use nutritional yeast which has a robust nutty, savory cheesy flavor. It won’t have the same creamy texture as cheddar cheese though. If you want more body in the soup, you will have to add a potato or use a thickener like cornstarch.

Lower calorie version: Use a lower fat cheese and/or reduce the amount of cheese and add a low fat milk or yogurt for a creamier finish. You can also replace the cheese with nutritional yeast, a much lower calorie alternative.

Boost the nutrition even more: Add canned beans or chickpeas to the soup. Or use roasted chickpeas as a garnish. You can also sauté other fresh vegetables with the onions such as peppers and mushrooms. Finally, use a sweet potato instead of a white potato – more Vitamin A and C and fiber.

Jazz it up with garnishes: Lots of options here – homemade croutons, toasted hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, a tablespoon of pesto (really good), finely diced red peppers, grated cheese, fresh parsley, Parmesan, diced tomatoes, crisp bacon bits, chives or other fresh herbs.

Flavor options: Add smoked paprika, curry powder, dried coriander or red pepper flakes for some heat.

Make a thick and creamy soup: Add more cheese and a splash of heavy cream or half and half cream.

Step by step instructions

Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then garlic. Add broccoli and cauliflower and sauté a few more minutes.
broccoli, cauliflower, onions, seasonings and broth in pot.
Add broth and seasonings.
cooked broccoli-cauliflower soup in pot.
Simmer about 15 minutes until veggies are tender.
pureed broccoli and cauliflower soup in pot with immersion blender. Cheese added.
Purée (or partially purée) the soup with a stick blender. Stir in cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning.
bowls of broccoli and cauliflower soup with garnish.
Garnished with chopped tomatoes, pesto and grated cheese or serve with crusty bread for dipping.

Handy Measuring Tips

  • 1 head of cauliflower = 4-6 cups florets.
  • 1 head of broccoli = ~3.5 cups florets.
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets = ~1 1/2 cups of frozen broccoli florets. Same for cauliflower,
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese = ~ 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (start with less and add more to taste)

Shortcuts

  • Buy precut broccoli and cauliflower florets (fresh or frozen). If the fresh ones are large, I cut them smaller to cook faster. The smaller you chop the veggies the faster they will cook.
  • Grating your own cheese is always best, but pre-shredded cheese will work fine too.
  • To shave off hands-on time (and use no oil), just dump everything except the cheese into the pot, bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer. You will miss some flavor with sautéing onions and garlic, but save time.

How to serve the soup

  • in a bowl or mug
  • in shot glasses or espresso cups (as an appetizer)
  • as a side dish in a small cup
  • in a bread bowl

What to serve with broccoli cauliflower soup

I love to serve this healthy soup with fun garnishes (see recipe notes), warm crusty bread for dipping or homemade cheddar biscuits. Another great dipper idea is our easy puff pastry cheese twists.

Recipe FAQs

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a vegan alternative to cheese that adds a nutty, cheesy flavor. It is packed with B vitamins and protein, making it a nutritious addition to the soup. Stir in a couple of tablespoons once the soup is cooked. It will thicken a little (not that much) and it won’t be as creamy as cheddar cheese.

How can I thicken soup?

A potato and/or cheese will thicken soup, but if you like very thick soups, use less broth or add a cornstarch slurry at the end of cooking to the simmering soup.

Is this broccoli cauliflower soup recipe healthy?

Yes, the broccoli cauliflower soup is healthy because of its high amounts of vitamin A and C, fiber, protein and calcium. Be mindful of how much cheese you add as cheese it often high in calories, fat and salt.

Make ahead

Store leftover soup in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze, place soup in an airtight container or zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

2 bowls of broccoli and cauliflower soup

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Broccoli Cauliflower Soup (Easy to Customize)

It's easy to customize this creamy broccoli cauliflower soup to your taste. Make it thick and creamy, thin and light, puréed or chunky, dairy-free, more nutritious, lower calorie or jazzed up with garnishes.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time22 minutes
Total Time32 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 5 -6

Equipment

  • immersion blender

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions (1 medium onion)
  • 5 cups chopped broccoli and cauliflower florets (about 1/2 each broccoli and cauliflower. Note 1 to use frozen)
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 medium potato, cut in pieces or two small potatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth or stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese, Note 2 (or 1/2 cup half and half cream or 2-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • kosher salt to taste amount depends on saltiness of broth and cheese

Optional garnish

  • Parmesan cheese, more grated cheese, 1-2 tsp pesto, chopped tomatoes, roasted chickpeas, diced red pepper, croutons, fresh herbs, pumpkin seeds, toasted hazelnuts, chives.

Instructions

  • SAUTÉ ONIONS AND GARLIC: Heat oil in large saucepan on stovetop to medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes until starting to brown. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds.
  • ADD BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER, POTATO: Sauté for 3 minutes.
  • COOK SOUP: Add broth, 1 tsp Dijon and 1 tsp thyme. Bring soup to boil, lower to medium low heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  • PUREE SOUP: Use an immersion blender to puree soup fully or partially (you can leave some chunks if you like). Stir in cheese (or nutritional yeast a bit at a time). Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Adjust thickness of soup if needed: add more broth if too thick. Return to stovetop and add a cornstarch slurry if too thin, Note 3. Serve with warm crusty bread or your favorite garnishes.

Recipe Notes

  1. For frozen broccoli and cauliflower: You will need about 7 1/2 cups frozen (1 cup fresh = 1 1/2 frozen florets)
  2. Cheese options: Cheddar cheese (most common), gruyère, Swiss or blue cheese. The latter two are stronger cheeses.
  3. To thicken soup: Heat soup to medium heat on stovetop. Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. Add half the cornstarch slurry and allow soup to thicken, stirring. If it’s still not thick enough add the rest. You can repeat this as many times as you like. 
  4. Variations: 
    • Dairy free and vegan option: Leave out the cheese or use nutritional yeast. 
    • Lower calorie version: Use a lower fat cheese and/or reduce the amount of cheese and add a low fat milk or yogurt for a creamier finish. Nutritional yeast is a much lower calorie alternative to cheese.
    • Boost the nutrition even more: Add canned beans of chickpeas to the soup after puréeing it. Or use roasted chickpeas as a garnish. You can also sauté extra veggies with the onions such as peppers and mushrooms. Or use a sweet potato instead of a white potato.
    • Flavor options: Add smoked paprika, curry powder, dried coriander or red pepper flakes for some heat.
    • Thick and cheesy: add more cheese and use less broth.
  5. Make ahead: Store leftover soup in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze, place soup in an airtight container or zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include garnishes. Don’t add salt until the end as the amount needed will vary with the type of broth and cheese used. 

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 1396mg | Potassium: 572mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1518IU | Vitamin C: 94mg | Calcium: 306mg | Iron: 1mg
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