I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in Boston, Spring is taking its sweet time to get here. One advantage of this extended “post winter” season is that it is still soup weather! Recently, broccoli went on sale for $0.99/lb. THIS NEVER HAPPENS at grocery stores by me. NEVER. I don’t think I can emphasize how rare this is. I took advantage of this amazing sale and bought a TON of fresh broccoli crowns, with no particular recipes in mind. Now I have a ton of broccoli and it is 35 degrees outside and cold pelting rain in April. Of course. I wanted soup. But not just vegetable soup, I wanted something hearty. I turned to my gajillion broccoli crowns and thought I would make a nice creamy broccoli soup. There was only one problem. I had no cheddar cheese and no cream. Boo.
Suddenly, my craving for creamy broccoli soup became a little challenge. What ingredients in my cabinet would make a healthy, hearty and creamy soup? The answer: cannellini beans. These beans are soft and don’t have a very strong flavor, which is perfect for this soup. Another bonus of cannellini beans: they add fiber and protein to the soup, making it much more filling and less caloric than a typical creamy broccoli soup. The other secret ingredient in the soup is an apple. I know, I know, this sounds weird, but I swear, the sweetness of the apple balances out the slightly bitter broccoli and adds another delicious dimension to this quick and easy soup. MMmmm MMmmm.
How do you make this soup in a DASH?
In a large pot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set the burner on low-medium heat. Add the diced sweet onion, garlic and diced apples to the pot.
A little more about the apple addition: Make sure you peel the apple. The peel, although delicious and nutritious, does not blend well, (unless you have a super powerful blender, which I don’t). So if you leave the peal on, you’ll have pieces of peal in your soup. Not horrible, but not the best texture. As for choice of apple, a sweet, soft apple is probably your best choice, such as a macintosh or golden delicious, however, any apple will do. This is a great opportunity to use an apple that has seen better days, the softer and sweeter the apple, the better. I’m not suggesting you use a rotten apple, but just know it doesn’t have to be one of those picture perfect apples. Since you only need about half of the apple, you can cut off the bruised parts and still have plenty of apple for the soup.
Sauté the onions, garlic and apple till the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the broccoli and the chicken stock. You can use vegetable stock here, too. Cover the pot and simmer until the broccoli is soft enough to blend. Don’t overcook the broccoli or your soup will be a really ugly color, devastating, I know.
After broccoli is tender, remove from heat and blend until smooth. I used a hand immersion blender, because that is all I have, but you can use a regular blender. Next I add the beans and cook them for about 2 minutes, just to warm them up. They are already pretty soft and should blend easily. My blender is pretty wimpy, but if you have a more powerful blender, you can probably blend the broccoli and beans all in one step.
Finally, after everything is blended, add the milk, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes and just warm the soup on low. Do not boil.
Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or some shredded cheese and Enjoy!
Go ahead, enjoy it with some cheese AND some tasty bread. Remember, this soup is filled with super healthy stuff! Beans, broccoli and apple!
Hearty Healthy Broccoli Soup
Makes 2 generous servings
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ of sweet onion, diced ( you can also use a white or yellow onion – use half of the onion if it is small)
- ½ of a medium-sized apple, peeled and diced
- 1.5 cups of broccoli (about 1 crown)
- 1 14oz can of chicken stock
- ½ of a 15oz can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed
- ½ cup milk (I used 1%)
- ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your affinity for heat)
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute onion, garlic and apple on low-med heat in a heavy saucepan/pot (see pic). Cook about 5 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent
2. Add broccoli and sauté for about a minute with onion and garlic
3. Add chicken stock to the pot. Simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove pot from heat and puree soup. I used an immersion blender – but you can use a regular blender or food processor. *if you scaled up the recipe you may have to do this in batches.
5. After broccoli is pureed, add beans.
6. Puree beans into the soup – this will puree faster than the broccoli
7. Add milk, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and heat soup on low – just till warm, DO NOT boil.
8. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, or grated Parmesan (all optional). Enjoy with some tasty bread or crackers.
Additional ideas for this soup:
Once I added too much broccoli to this soup, so my broccoli to liquid ratio was too high. It was a very thick soup. Instead of adding more stock to thin it it out, I poured it over pasta and topped it with fresh parsley and a generous helping of Parmesan cheese. This measurement mistake turned out to be a hit. It made a delicious creamy pasta sauce.
Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com
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