Broccoli Cheese Soup (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

by Irena

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Simply one of the best low carb broccoli cheese soup recipes around. And it’s easy to make too!

I will be the first to admit that there is nothing sexy or elegant about this recipe. Broccoli Cheese is the workhorse among soups. It’s warming, nutritious, you get your greens into you, and if you are lucky, it also tastes good. Not all of them do, I’ve had some pretty blah broccoli soups in my day. Most notably at my first-year dorm in university, where the kitchen staff had no business messing with heavy, creamy soups. I myself have never tried my hand at it, so when I saw that the most recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated had a recipe, I wanted to give it a try.

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Cook’s Illustrated is the only cooking periodical that we get right now. We’ve had other subscriptions in the past but we’ve let most of them lapse as we have a pretty large collection of back issues. Cook’s comes every year courtesy of my parents-in-law and we always enjoy it. I like the way they test different methods of making a dish to arrive at what they consider “the best” way. But I have to confess, I don’t always follow the extra steps involved to get “the best” out of the recipes. As a busy mother of three, who is impatient at the best of times, the extra steps often just feel like extra work.

See also  Simple Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

The best low carb broccoli cheese soup recipe

But for broccoli soup, I thought it worth my while to follow their recipe almost to the letter, with a few small changes to make it lower in carbs and higher in fat. In their investigations, they found something completely counterintuitive that really worked – cook the broccoli beyond all recognition. It sounds awful because there is nothing worse than overcooked broccoli, but in this case, it works. The point is to break down the sulfurous compounds to the point that the broccoli actually tastes like broccoli again. And to speed up this process, they added a touch of baking soda. Weird, definitely, but does it work

The Results: I haven’t had broccoli soup in quite some time, so I don’t really have anything to measure it against, but I will give this a thumbs up. The flavour was definitely of broccoli, but without a trace of that overcooked, college-dorm-style broccoli. It was creamy without being heavy. And my picky eater, who actually loves broccoli and soup separately, loved it together too. It was a great starter to our dinner and a great way to get a serving of veggies into everyone. This recipe is a keeper, for certain.

The best low carb broccoli cheese soup recipe

Broccoli Cheese Soup (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

Simply the best low carb broccoli cheese soup recipe. Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated March/April 2011.


Course: Soup

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Calories: 217kcal


  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds broccoli chopped into 1 inch pieces (include the stems)
  • ½ cup onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • pinch cayenne
  • salt
  • 3-4 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz parmesan grated
  • pepper to taste


  • In a large pot or dutch oven, heat butter over medium high heat. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, mustard, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir frequently and cook until fragrant, about 6 minutes.

  • Add 1 cup water and baking soda and bring to a simmer. Cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes.

  • Add broth and 2 cups water and increase heat to medium high. Bring to a simmer and cook another 5 minutes. Add cheeses and blend soup with an immersion blender (alternatively, you can transfer soup to a blender and blend in two batches).

  • Adjust consistency of soup to your liking with remaining water (I found it didn’t need any more). Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Serves 8 as a side or appetizer. Each serving has 6.48 g NET CARBS.
Food energy: 217kcal
Total fat: 12.88g
Calories from fat: 115
Cholesterol: 41mg
Carbohydrate: 9.68g
Total dietary fiber: 3.20g
Protein: 13.63g

Nutrition Facts

Broccoli Cheese Soup (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 217
Calories from Fat 116

% Daily Value*

Fat 12.88g20%

Cholesterol 41mg14%

Carbohydrates 9.68g3%

Fiber 3.2g13%

Protein 13.63g27%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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