Did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month? I didn’t, until Craig came home yesterday with some ingredients and declared his intention to make some grilled cheese. His creation, turkey breast with munster, pepper jack and barbecue sauce was AMAZING. So amazing, in fact, that we gobbled them up without even thinking of taking photos.
It’s cold and raining here in Boston. After taking Archer to the dog park where he got absolutely filthy in the mud I decided I really felt like soup. After the grilled cheese extravaganza the night before, I wanted to create a soup that would go really well with grilled cheese or any other yummy sandwich. One of my favorite lunch soups is broccoli cheddar. The version at Panera Bread is phenomenal. However, it’s loaded with calories and butter, cream and cheese. In thinking about how to create a healthy broccoli soup I had a brainwave: beans. Cannellini beans have a smooth and creamy texture and I thought they would be the perfect way to make a healthy, low calorie soup that is still creamy and hearty.
I used a food processor to shred garlic, onions and broccoli. You could certainly puree these, but I wanted the soup to have some small chunks for texture. I used some fresh rosemary for seasoning and topped the bowl off with a light sprinkle of tangy parmesan.
This soup was so good. It tastes comforting and creamy and, due to the protein and fiber in the beans, it is extremely filling. The best part is that it’s very low in calories and takes only 20 minutes to make! Please make this soup on a cold day. It feels good and it great for you. I was especially thrilled when I calculated the nutrition info and compared it to the Panera version. A cup of my soup was extremely low in fat and sodium while being less than half the calories of the Panera version! Luckily, this recipe made about 6 12oz servings, so there is plenty for me to bring for lunch!
Here’s the comparison:
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large head of broccoli (approx. 4 cups) washed and cut into florets
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, washed and chopped
optional: parmesan cheese
Step by Step Instructions:
1. Using a food processor, shred garlic and onions
2. In a sauce pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute garlic and onions on medium heat for 4-5 minutes
3. Shred broccoli in the food processor until desired size is reached
4. Add broccoli and saute in onion/garlic mixture 2-3 minutes
5. Puree cannellini beans in the food processor and add to the vegetable mixture
6. Season with salt, pepper and paprika
7. Using a whisk, slowly incorporate vegetable broth
8. Add rosemary
9. Cover and simmer on med-low heat for 12-15 minutes until reduced to desired thickness
10. Serve with parmesan cheese and black pepper