Hearty Broccoli Soup

I'm a fan of broccoli. My favorite way to have it is steamed with a little bit of butter and salt. It's so simple and delicious. The only problem with it is that it gets cold really fast. Whenever we make it as a dinner side, as soon as I add the butter and salt, I tell Justin, "Come on, we have to eat now! The broccoli is getting cold!" By the time I get to my third broccoli spear, sadly, it's already cold.

So this hot soup recipe is a nice alternative to cold broccoli. It's thick and cheesy but not high in fat. I found the original recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks called Simply in Season. I made a couple changes to it, such as replacing most of the milk with water (there is plenty of creaminess without all that extra dairy) and using whole wheat flour instead of regular. You could use light cheddar cheese to make it really low in fat, but I think it would sacrifice some of the taste. Besides, one cup of regular cheddar throughout a whole batch of soup is perfectly acceptable. Your body needs some fat!

Another thing I did with this soup is use some broccoli leaves as well. The head of broccoli I received from the food co-op still had quite a bit of leafy greens on it, so I threw them in with the soup. The following week I received only broccoli leaves with no spears. I made the soup again, and the leaves worked just as well as regular broccoli. You could also use cauliflower instead, or you could do a combination of broccoli and cauliflower and swap out the carrots and celery. The sky is the limit with this hearty soup. Give it a try!

Hearty Broccoli Soup
Makes 4-6 servings

2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup minced celery
4 cups water, divided
2 cups chopped broccoli and/or broccoli leaves
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup low-fat milk
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Cook together potatoes, onion, carrots, and celery with 1 cup of water over medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Add 3 cups water, vegetable bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper and heat to boiling. In a separate small bowl, stir together flour and milk until smooth. Add to soup and cook just unil thickened. Turn off heat and add cheddar; stir until melted.