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Broccoli & Cheese Soup Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Broccoli & Cheese Soup: Creamy Comfort in Every Spoonful

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Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with our easy-to-make Slow Cooker Broccoli & Cheese Soup recipe. Loaded with wholesome broccoli, savory cheese, and aromatic seasonings, this dish is perfect for cold days or whenever you crave a bowl of warm goodness. This soup is not only delicious but also nutritious, offering a healthy dose of vegetables in a creamy, cheesy broth. Whether you’re a busy parent, a working professional, or simply someone who loves a good, hearty meal, this recipe is designed to fit seamlessly into your lifestyle.

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Ingredients

  • 5 cups chopped broccoli florets (about 16 ounces): Fresh or frozen broccoli works well. If using frozen, no need to thaw before adding to the slow cooker.
  • 1 cup grated carrots: You can grate fresh carrots yourself or use pre-cut julienne carrots for convenience.
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced: Adds a subtle sweetness and depth of flavor to the soup.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced: Essential for that aromatic punch.
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese: Do not use fat-free varieties as they don’t melt as smoothly.
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano: Adds a hint of Mediterranean flavor.
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg: Enhances the creamy taste of the cheese.
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth: Choose based on your dietary preference.
  • 1 can (12 ounces) 2% evaporated milk: Adds richness without making the soup too heavy.
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt: To taste.
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper: To taste.
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups): Use freshly grated cheese for the best melting results.

Instructions

  1. Prepare Slow Cooker: Lightly grease the inside of your slow cooker to prevent sticking. This step is crucial to ensure easy cleanup and to keep the soup from sticking to the sides.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In the slow cooker, add chopped broccoli, grated carrots, diced onion, minced garlic, reduced-fat cream cheese, dried oregano, and freshly grated nutmeg. This combination of vegetables and spices sets the stage for a deeply flavorful soup.
  3. Add Liquids: Pour in reduced-sodium chicken broth and 2% evaporated milk. Stir well to combine all ingredients evenly. The liquids help to distribute the flavors evenly and ensure that the vegetables cook perfectly.
  4. Seasoning: Season with kosher salt and black pepper according to your taste preferences. Adjust seasoning as needed once the soup is done cooking.
  5. Cooking Process: Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours, until the vegetables are tender and flavors meld together. The slow cooker method allows the flavors to develop slowly and richly.
  6. Add Cheese: About 15 minutes before serving, stir in grated sharp cheddar cheese until fully melted and incorporated into the soup, creating a rich and creamy texture. Cheese adds the final touch, making the soup indulgent and satisfying.
  7. Serve: Ladle the warm soup into bowls. Garnish with additional shredded cheddar cheese, a sprinkle of black pepper, or fresh parsley for added freshness. Serve hot with your favorite bread or crackers.

Cook’s Notes

  • Creamy Texture: The combination of reduced-fat cream cheese and evaporated milk gives this soup a luxuriously creamy texture without using heavy cream. If you prefer a thicker soup, consider blending a portion of the soup and returning it to the slow cooker.
  • Cheese Options: Experiment with different types of cheese for varied flavors, such as smoked Gouda or a blend of cheeses. Each type of cheese will bring a unique taste and texture to the soup.
  • Vegetarian Option: Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to create a vegetarian-friendly version of this soup. Ensure all other ingredients align with vegetarian guidelines.

Variations

  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Bacon: Top individual servings with crispy bacon bits for a delightful contrast of textures and flavors. Bacon adds a smoky, savory crunch that complements the creamy soup perfectly.
  • Spicy Kick: For a hint of heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes during cooking. This variation is perfect for those who love a little spice in their meals.
  • Cauliflower Addition: Swap half of the broccoli with cauliflower for a different flavor profile and texture. This variation adds another layer of vegetable goodness to the soup.
  • Vegan Version: Use vegan cheese, dairy-free milk, and vegetable broth. Ensure the cream cheese is also vegan-friendly. This variation caters to those following a plant-based diet without compromising on taste.
  • Gluten-Free: Ensure all ingredients, especially the broth and cheese, are certified gluten-free. This variation is suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

  • Ingredients: Replace carrots with extra broccoli florets and opt for full-fat dairy options to reduce carbohydrate content. Carrots add natural sweetness but also contain more carbs.
  • Cooking Tips: Adjust cooking times as necessary to maintain desired consistency when using low-carb substitutions. Ensure the soup doesn’t become too watery; you can add a thickener like xanthan gum if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I freeze leftovers?
    • Yes, store cooled soup in airtight containers or freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. When reheating, do so gently on the stovetop to maintain the creamy texture.
  2. What can I serve with this soup?
    • Enjoy with crusty bread, garlic breadsticks, or a side salad for a satisfying meal. Consider pairing with a light, crisp white wine or a hot cup of tea for a complete dining experience.
  3. How can I thicken the soup?
    • Increase the amount of cream cheese or stir in a slurry of cornstarch and water during the last 30 minutes of cooking for a thicker consistency. Blending a portion of the soup and returning it to the pot can also thicken it naturally.
  4. Can I use frozen broccoli?
    • Yes, frozen broccoli works well and can be added directly to the slow cooker without thawing. This convenience makes the recipe even easier to prepare.
  5. Is it possible to make this soup on the stovetop?
    • Absolutely. Sauté the onions and garlic first, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cheese at the end

Delight your taste buds and warm your soul with our Slow Cooker Broccoli & Cheese Soup recipe. Whether for a quick weeknight dinner or a relaxed weekend meal, this dish promises to satisfy with its creamy texture and flavorful ingredients. It’s a versatile recipe that can be adapted to various dietary needs, making it a must-have in your culinary repertoire. Enjoy the comfort of homemade soup made effortlessly in your slow cooker. Bon appétit!

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