Lightened Up Broccoli Cheddar Soup


Easy and healthy, this lightened up broccoli cheddar soup uses cauliflower for a creamy base and packs a ton of veggies into a comforting and cheesy bowl of soup. Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Broccoli cheddar soup brings me back to my childhood! As a kiddo, I wasn’t a huge fan of vegetables besides potatoes and corn. #carblover I would eat green veggies like broccoli, but only when it was smothered with butter or cheese. That said, I always loved broccoli cheddar soup! The ultimate comfort food then and now.

Bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with a gold spoon in the bowl.

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Traditional broccoli cheddar soup is made with a melted butter and flour roux and a hefty serving of milk. I decided to skip all of those extra calories and made the base out of vegetables and broth blended with an immersion blender. It’s so creamy and delicious, you won’t even realize I switched up the recipe to include more veggies. 😉

  • vegetables – yellow onion, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots 
  • broth – either bone broth or vegetable stock is great!
  • cheese – I used cheddar cheese
  • spices – nutmeg, salt and black pepper

One serving is under 270 calories – no guilt here and plenty of room for delicious sides!

Dutch oven with broccoli cheddar soup and a wood spoon stirring.

What to Serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I love pairing this broccoli cheddar soup with a couple of sides to make it a more filling meal. I need more than 270 calories to fill me up! I love bread with soup – cornbread is always delicious (my pumpkin cornbread is amazing, as is my vegan cornbread) or you can keep it simple and toast up a slice of honey whole wheat bread. A side salad (like my garlicky kale salad) would also be a light, refreshing accompaniment to this soup.

Bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with a gold spoon in the bowl.

Storing & Reheating Soup

When it comes to soup, I feel like some soups taste better as leftovers, after the flavors have had more time to mesh, and others are better right away. This broccoli cheddar soup falls somewhere in the middle. I think it’s best fresh, but it also stores and reheats really well from the refrigerator. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this soup because the cheese may change consistency/break up in the freezer. Refrigerate leftovers for up to five days and reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat.

Bowl of broccoli cheddar soup.

In the Mood for Soup? More Soup Recipes to Try

Lightened Up Broccoli Cheddar Soup

5 from 66 votes
Easy and healthy, this lightened up broccoli cheddar soup uses cauliflower for a creamy base and packs a ton of veggies into a comforting and cheesy bowl of soup. Vegetarian and gluten-free.
Bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with a gold spoon in the bowl.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower, core removed and chopped into small florets
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
  • 4 cups bone broth or vegetable broth
  • 5 cups broccoli fresh florets or frozen
  • 1-2 large carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top, if desired
  • green onions, for garnish


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, cayenne (if using), salt and pepper. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the broth to the pot and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for at least 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender (soft enough to mash with a fork).
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth and creamy. 
  • Return the soup to the pot over medium heat and add the broccoli and carrots. Bring to simmer and cook 20-25 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender (if you use frozen broccoli, you’ll only need to cook until the broccoli is thawed and heated through).
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese a little at a time. The soup will be pretty thick. If you want a thinner soup, add additional broth or water to reach a desired consistency. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.
  • Serve soup sprinkled with additional shredded cheese and green onions.


  • If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the cauliflower soup base to a regular blender for pureeing, but do so carefully and in batches so the soup doesn’t splash out. Alternatively you can use a potato masher to mash the cauliflower. This will result in a chunkier soup. 


Serving: 1/6 of recipe Calories: 269kcal Carbohydrates: 16g Protein: 20g Fat: 16g Sodium: 542mg Fiber: 5g Sugar: 4g
Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broccoli cheddar soup


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Recipe Rating

    1. Courtney
      April 7, 2022 AT 9:54 pm

      5 stars
      This recipe is truly excellent! I’m so glad I found it. It’s easy and makes a soup that’s usually sinful something I’m not guilty about eating multiple servings of! I’ve made it as is and it’s just as rich and creamy as any other broccoli cheddar soup I’ve ever had. I’ve also done it with about half-ish the amount of cheese and adding some nutritional yeast to supplement. Both ways are 10/10. I don’t have kids yet but when I do I know they’re gonna be obsessed with this haha

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 8, 2022 AT 8:06 am

        Woo! Thank you so much, Courtney! I’m so glad you love this recipe, thank you for leaving such a sweet review. 🙂

    2. Lisa
      April 3, 2022 AT 2:42 pm

      Love this healthier soup! I won’t eat cauliflower at all but hiding it in the base of the soup is genius. I used frozen cauliflower rice and this time added shredded pepper jack cheese (we like things spicy and it was great! Quick, easy and delicious!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 4, 2022 AT 9:03 am

        Yum! Love pepper jack cheese, that’s a great way to get some extra kick! Thank you for leaving a review, Lisa, I really appreciate it! 🙂

    3. Morgan
      December 13, 2021 AT 2:40 pm

      5 stars
      Really loved this soup and I was a bit surprised to be honest (because of the healthier subs)! Love the taste of the seasonings in it.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 14, 2021 AT 4:10 pm

        Oh yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed this soup, Morgan. Thanks for trying it out and coming back to leave a review. I really appreciate it!

    4. Steph
      November 19, 2021 AT 1:49 am

      5 stars

    5. Jessica
      November 6, 2021 AT 4:57 pm

      5 stars
      My favorite soup ever! Tastes as good as the traditional less healthy version, but the best part is that its lower calorie with extra veggies! I’ll make this again and again.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 8, 2021 AT 12:56 pm

        Ah yay!! I love hearing this, Jessica. So pumped you loved this soup! Thanks so much for the review and star rating. It means so much to me!

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.


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