Healthier Broccoli Cheese Soup with Butternut Squash

January 28, 2013

There are lots of foods I’m more than a little obsessed with.  Anything with a container you can eat (think tacos and bread bowls), pancakes, soups, and cheese.  That puts broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl in the danger zone of deliciousness.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, if considering my waistline) broccoli cheese soups are very rarely vegetarian in restaurants, so I always have to make my own.


I have always been a little disappointed in homemade broccoli cheese soups.  They taste great and you have  control over their calories, but, compared to their restaurant bought cousins, the color is always a little sad.  I’ve seen recipes that use sweet potatoes to brighten the color, but I’d rather have that crusty bread bowl or a piece of bread on the side than add indistinguishable carbs to my soup.  Enter butternut squash: bright orange, slightly sweet, and full of vitamins A, C, and E– exactly what this soup needs to keep it colorful, tasty, and a little healthier.

Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup with Butternut Squash
Serves: 6

  • 1 ½ c butternut squash or 12 oz frozen squash puree
  • 1 head broccoli or frozen broccoli
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine (optional)
  • 3+ c vegetable broth, separated
  • 1 c almond milk or other milk
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 c reduced fat shredded cheese (I recommend a mix of reduced fat sharp cheddar and colby jack)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  1. If using fresh squash: oven roast until very soft. Using a blender, puree with 2 c of vegetable broth until very smooth. Transfer to large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. If using frozen squash puree: thaw on counter or in microwave. Heat in large saucepan and add 2 c of vegetable broth. Stir or whisk until the puree is smooth.
  3. Meanwhile, steam broccoli or cook according to package instructions.
  4. In a separate pan, saute onion using optional butter or nonstick spray. When onions are soft, add the flour, coating the onions. Cook 1 – 2 minutes longer, until the flour is slightly toasted.
  5. Add the onions to the squash puree, stirring well to prevent the flour from clumping. Add 1 c vegetable broth and 1 c milk (if using fresh squash, you can use this liquid to “clean” the blender).
  6. Finely chop approximately half of the broccoli and add to the soup along with the carrot. Cook until the soup is at desired thickness. If the soup is too thick, add additional broth. Roughly chop the remaining broccoli.
  7. Add the cheese in three batches, stirring while the cheese melts. Add the roughly chopped broccoli. Cook until hot.

I’ve made this soup both with oven roasted squash and frozen squash. Oddly enough, I think the frozen squash produces the best results. If oven roasting your squash, make sure it is very soft before use or you may end up with a slightly grainy texture. If you’d like cauliflower in your soup, I’d recommend a frozen bag of mixed cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots rather than using raw broccoli and carrots.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 300 Fat: 17g Carbohydrates: 14g Fiber: 3g Protein: 19g


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    How To Feed A Vegetarian | Hidden Fruits And Veggies Aug 26, 2016

    […] or mushroom broth instead of chicken or beef. Simply make that swap in soups like broccoli cheese. For soups you’d like to add ground meat or chunks of meat to, add all of the other […]

    nikka Mar 30, 2015

    Made this soup many times…my family and i love it! I added half a scotch bonnet pepper (seeds removed) for a little more kick.

      Kelly Mar 31, 2015

      Love your spicy twist! Glad you like the recipe 🙂

      Kelly Apr 09, 2015

      Thanks for stopping back and letting me know that you loved the recipe! Always great to hear — plus I love your tip of adding a little spicy pepper. Sounds delicious!

    Handful Nov 18, 2014

    Butternut is not exactly low carb but it IS lower than sweet taters. So if you are super watching carbs (as I am TRYING to)this may not be for you.

    That being said, I am damn sure making this today! I have butternut and broccoli both. <3 butternut! Thanks for the recipe. Pinning….

      Kelly Nov 18, 2014

      Hope you enjoy! Butternut is sweet, so it definitely has it’s share of carbs, but like you said it’s a great swap for sweet potatoes that people often use in this soup. Maybe skip a crusty chunk of bread on the side if you’re watching your carbs, but I like to take that swap as permission to dunk 😉

    feelingalmostrosey Sep 26, 2013

    Now that fall is drawing near I think this is a great idea for all the squash I have been buying 🙂

    rebacox Feb 08, 2013

    Butternut squash is an awesome idea in broccoli cheese soup! I love love love broccoli soup.

    Aimee @ ShugarySweets Jan 31, 2013

    This sounds fantastic. I love that you used almond milk in your soup!

    sally @ sallys baking addiction Jan 30, 2013

    tacos and bread bowls – yes! I also love ice cream cones and waffle cone bowls too. 🙂 And I am LOVING the addition of b-nut squash to your broccoli soup. I LOVE butternut squash so much, but I’ve never thought to add it to my broccoli soup. SAving this recipe – I need homemade healthy soup recipes in my kitchen!

      Kelly Jan 31, 2013

      Can’t believe I forgot about waffle cones! Love.

    Reeni Jan 29, 2013

    One of my favorite soups in the world! Love how you added butternut to it!

      Kelly Jan 31, 2013

      Hope you try it out

    angela @ another bite please Jan 28, 2013

    this looks great…i love broccoli cheese soup but usually when eating out they are so full of cream i feel so sick…this with almond milk…can’t wait to try!

      Kelly Jan 31, 2013

      The almond milk and squash definitely keep it light. If you used a sharper cheese, you could probably get away with less of that, too. Lighten it up even more.