Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

Creamy broccoli-cheese soup has a secret: No cream, no flour

Recipe: Hearty winter warmer also is gluten-free

This hearty bowl of broccoli-cheese soup is creamy thanks to potato, not cream or flour.

This hearty bowl of broccoli-cheese soup is creamy thanks to potato, not cream or flour. Debbie Arrington

Cream soups (particularly cheese soups) can seem like thinned sauce or gravy. That’s because they basically are just that. The ingredients used for thickening are the same: Cream, butter and flour.

Skip the roux and grab a potato. This recipe for broccoli-cheddar cheese soup uses one medium potato to give silkiness to the soup base and thicken it without adding flour. Another switch: 1% milk for cream.

Instead of putting all the broccoli in the pot at once, save out the tender florets and add them later. With less cooking, they hold their form.

The sharper the cheddar, the cheesier the soup (I used half medium, half sharp). The addition of Parmesan cheese accentuates the cheddar. Be careful not to boil the soup after the addition of cheese; it will separate and get grainy. Instead, gently reheat, if necessary.

Creamy broccoli-cheddar cheese soup

Makes 4 servings


¼ cup butter or margarine (½ stick)

½ cup onion, chopped

3 cups vegetable broth

1 carrot, peeled and julienned (about ¾ cup)

1 medium potato, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)

¼ teaspoon thyme

1 large broccoli crown (10 ounces; makes about 4 cups, chopped)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup milk, preferably 1%

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large heavy pot or saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Sauté onions until very soft, about 10 minutes.

Soup cooking in pot
Florets go in last. The potato
is already breaking up in the broth.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Add carrot, potato and thyme. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Chop broccoli crown, separating the stems from the florets. Add stems to broth, adjusting heat as necessary. Simmer for 10 more minutes, then add florets.

Continue simmering broth and vegetables until the broccoli stems are tender and the potato is dissolving into the broth (about 10 more minutes).

Adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary.

Stir in milk. Bring back to simmer but don’t boil.

Remove soup from stove and stir in cheeses. Stir until the cheeses are melted and blended into the soup.

Return to heat briefly, if necessary, so soup is evenly warmed through, being careful not to boil.

Serve immediately.


0 comments have been posted.

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!

Local News

Ad for California Local

Thanks to our sponsor!

Summer Strong ad for

Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

Taste Summer! E-cookbook


Find our summer recipes here!

Taste Fall! E-cookbook

Muffins and pumpkin

Find our fall recipes here!

Taste Winter! E-cookbook

Lemon coconut pancakes

Find our winter recipes here!