Creamy Low Carb Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup
Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup is just as cheesy and delicious as Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup. But a simple swap with some sneaky hidden veggies makes this healthy soup recipe super creamy while keeping it gluten free and low carb. You won’t believe how easy it is to make keto-friendly comfort food that the entire family will love.
Originally published on Oct 25, 2015.
We have an issue with table manners in my house. And while I’d like to say the problem is my children, it may or may not actually be me.
Maybe it’s the foodie in me that sees eating as an experience for all of the senses. Maybe I’m still a child myself on the inside. But I’m also known to use my fingers to pop green beans in my mouth. I’d rather get my hands in there to carve the meat off of a slow cooker roast chicken versus fighting with tongs and forks and knives. And you’ll never catch me using a knife and fork on pizza night.
So you better believe I used my finger to scoop out the last little bit of this cheesy cauliflower broccoli soup from the bottom of the bowl. It was that good.
Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup used to be my favorite, but since it isn’t gluten free, I can’t just go there and order up a You-Pick-Two. So I make my own with a healthy spin.
How can you thicken broccoli cheddar soup without flour?
In this recipe, I swap out the flour for… cauliflower! Yes, is this cruciferous vegetable can become cauliflower tots, then it can certainly make a delicious creamy soup.
Some keto broccoli cheese soup recipes use pureed broccoli. But by using cauliflower you still keep the carb count low without giving it a strange greenish color.
So not only is this a gluten free soup recipe, but it’s also low carb broccoli cheese soup. It only has 9 grams of carbs per serving. And that can easily be reduced to make it keto by skipping the carrots and even using less onion. There is even the option of swapping some of the chicken broth for heavy cream if that’s what you prefer.
Despite this change, I don’t call this Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup for nothing. It is so velvety and smooth! You might be licking the bowl yourself.
What makes this cauliflower broccoli cheddar soup healthier?
There’s no cream, no butter, and no flour for thickening, making this a naturally gluten free and low carb broccoli cheese soup recipe. That means there are not unrefined carbs or extra fat so that you can still use just enough cheese to make it rich and flavorful. And when it comes to cheese, the sharper the better, because then you don’t have to use as much to still have it taste super cheesy.
And since the soup is made from cauliflower, plus all of the broccoli swimming in that sea of golden goodness, it is full of good vegetable nutrition. Both are low in calories and excellent sources of fiber and vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as the B vitamins including folic acid. Broccoli is an excellent plant source of protein and calcium. And cauliflower is filled with compounds that may help prevent cancer.
What is in Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup?
- Olive oil
- Cauliflower – one large head, approximately 2 lbs total, yielding 3 to 4 cups or about 1.5 lbs of florets.
- Nutmeg – just a pinch is known to enhance the flavor of any creamy sauce.
- Dry mustard – adds sharpness to help is taste extra cheesy. I always add Colman’s Mustard Powder to my cheese or egg dishes.
- Cayenne pepper – optional, but just a pinch wakes up the flavors.
- Chicken or vegetable broth – from a carton or homemade. I typically use the Kirkland brand from Costco.
- Broccoli – about 3 cups of florets that can be fresh or frozen.
- Carrots – julienned or finely diced. It can be omitted for a keto soup, but add a nice color and texture.
- Shredded cheddar cheese – definitely want to opt for a nice, sharp cheddar, like Cabot Seriously Sharp.
- Salt and pepper
BRIANNE’S PRO TIP: Save a little extra cheese and cook up some bacon to top your soup.
What do you need to make creamy cauliflower broccoli cheese soup?
- Large pot – I like to use a heavy-bottomed pot, such as enameled cast iron. With a nice large soup pot, you can saute the vegetables in the pot, then return the pureed soup to the same pot to let it simmer. The vegetables can saute and caramelize without scorching. And while this soup doesn’t have to simmer for a long time, if you want to keep it warm, it can stay over low heat for a longer time without burning.
- Appliance to puree the soup, such as one of the following
- Immersion blender – also called a hand blender or stick blender, an immersion blender allows you to puree the soup right in the pot without transferring it to a blender. This makes it easier, with less mess to clean up.
- Blender – you can use any blender you have, but for the smoothest, most silky soup, I love to use my Blendtec Designer 725. The Wildside+ Jar is nice and big, so you don’t have to blend it in batches, as you would with a smaller blender, and it gets perfectly smooth in seconds. You can even use the “Soup” setting to keep it hot while you blend it. I am a Blendtec ambassador, and should you make any purchases through that link, I will receive a small commission, but that also means you can use the code CUPCAKESANDKALECHIPS to receive 25% off.
How do you make keto broccoli cheese soup?
Here are a brief overview and some photos to show you how easy it is to make. Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the full instructions and amounts.
- In a large pot, saute onion in olive oil.
- Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, dry mustard, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute for a minute or two.
- Add the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer until the cauliflower is very tender.
- Puree until smooth and creamy.
- Return the soup to the pot over medium heat.
- Add the broccoli and carrots, and cook until the broccoli is tender.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese a little at a time.
- Serve in bowls and sprinkle with additional shredded cheese and crumbled bacon, if desired.
What goes good with broccoli and cheese soup?
- Dunk a piece of Gluten Free Apple Butter Corn Bread.
- Have a few keto cheddar crackers.
- Serve with a salad topped with Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing or Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Make it a meal with easy cube steaks with Worcestershire sauce.
Broccoli Cauliflower Soup Recipe FAQ’s
Why is my broccoli cheddar soup grainy?
The first ready the soup can be grainy or clumpy is that you added the cheese too fast. If you add it all at once, it will clump and not fully melt and distribute to give you the velvety texture.
Second is that your heat is too high either while you add the cheese or after it has been added. The proteins in the cheese tighten up and cause the fat to separate, giving you a curdled consistency and a greasy soup. Once you have started adding the cheese to the soup, you want to be sure you do not let it boil.
How do you add cheese to soup?
To prevent these problems, you’ll add the cheese at the very end, after the soup is pureed, and the broccoli is cooked to the desired doneness. Then, reduce the heat to low and add the cheese a little at a time. Stir and allow each addition to melt completely and become fully distributed and smooth before adding any more. Then slowly allow it to come back to the desired temperature without letting it boil.
Can broccoli cheese soup be frozen?
I would not recommend freezing this broccoli cauliflower cheese soup. Creamy soups typically do not freeze well, as the fats tend to separate when frozen and reheated, leading to an undesirable texture. Also, the broccoli florets will become mushy. So while not unsafe, it would not be as delicious.
Can it be reheated?
Yes, you can store the leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container and reheat them. Put the leftover soup in a pot on the stove over very low heat and reheat slowly and gently to avoid boiling, as this will cause it to curdle.
I have reheated it in the microwave, but again, you’ll want to do this carefully, Use 50% power and stir frequently.
How long does homemade broccoli cheese soup last?
I recommend eating the soup within three to four days. If it begins to smell off, then throw it away.
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Want more cheesy cauliflower recipes?
- Horseradish Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower
- Keto Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash
- Spinach-Artichoke Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks
- Low Carb Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with Cauliflower Hash Browns
What are more low carb soup recipes?
- Low Carb Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Greek Avgolemono Soup with Zoodles
- Easy Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Thyme
- Easy Vegetable Soup for a Cold (swap the potatoes for more cauliflower to keep it keto-friendly)
- Low Carb Chile Relleno Chicken Soup from All Day I Dream About Food
Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe
This comforting and easy soup recipe is a healthy copycat of your favorite Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Sneak in some extra veggies by thickening it with cauliflower while keeping it low carb and gluten free. You won’t believe how creamy and silky smooth is it, with all the cheesy flavor you love.
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a photo on this pin on Pinterest!
Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 1 head cauliflower, core removed and chopped into small florets (about 3-4 cups of florets)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 3 cups broccoli fresh florets or frozen
- 1/3 cup julienned carrots (1-2 large carrots)
- 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese plus more for sprinkling on top, if desired
- salt and pepper to taste
- crumbled bacon optional, for sprinkling on top
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, dry mustard, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and peper and saute for a minute or two.
- Add the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for least 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender, such that it can be mashed easily with a fork. You can break it up a little while it's cooking to help speed the process along.
- Use an immersion blender, or transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth and creamy. Return the soup to the pot over medium heat and add the broccoli and carrot. Bring to simmer and cook 25 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender (if you are using frozen broccoli, you 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. If you want a thinner soup, add additional broth, cream, milk, or water to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve in bowls and sprinkle with additional shredded cheese and crumbled bacon, if desired.