Sunday, April 22, 2012

Broccoli White Bean Soup

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:

My soup:
125 calories
2.9g fat
312.76mg sodium

Panera soup:
300 calories
19g fat
1250mg sodium

Read more for the full recipe!

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

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At April 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM , Blogger Balvinder Ubi said...

Just found out about grilled cheese month from Lizzy's and your blog.
I like your idea of adding cannelloni beans with broccoli giving a nice colour and creamy texture:)
Once I made broccoli soup and my daughter just did not eat it because of its green color.

At April 22, 2012 at 7:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cannot believe this has so few calories - I love it! Beans, broccoli, cheese the lot! With our gloomy weather, it is definitely what I would love to be eating :D

Choc Chip Uru

At April 22, 2012 at 8:16 PM , Blogger Kim Bee said...

One of us needs to make a foodie day calendar cuz I always hear this stuff after the fact. Great soup my dear. Hubs would want to swim in it then eat it.

At April 22, 2012 at 10:22 PM , Blogger Stephanie said...

Wow, this looks like a fantastic soup! I'm extremely impressed by the nutritional stats. I don't like cheese, so I'm super excited for cheese-less alternative to broccoli cheddar soup. Can't wait to try this out!

At April 23, 2012 at 7:30 AM , Blogger Suzi said...

This look sooo tasty and healthy. Love how you cut down on the calories fat and the salt. Great recipe and I love the beans too. Impressive!!

At April 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea to use the beans as a thickener! It looks even more flavorful than the Panera verson.

At April 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM , Blogger Red_Shallot said...

My kind of soup! Or to be precise, I need to eat more food like this instead of big plate of dessert I just had (for breakfast) *grin*

At April 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds so, so good! I'm definitely going to try this. How much soup is in a serving?

At April 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM , Blogger CJ - Food Stories said...

I keep a food holiday calendar on my site. You may want to check it out!

At April 23, 2012 at 3:02 PM , Blogger CJ - Food Stories said...

This is a great recipe. I like to puree beans in my soup, as well, for the great texture without adding extra stuff.

At April 23, 2012 at 4:09 PM , Blogger Jenn Kendall said...

this looks awesome - i can't believe how creamy it is!

At April 23, 2012 at 10:59 PM , Blogger A Lovin' Forkful said...

What a genius fakeout for broccoli cheese soup. Looks great!

At April 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM , Blogger Baker Street said...

I'm down with a massive cold right now and want nothing more than a bowl of your soup.

At April 24, 2012 at 8:47 AM , Blogger Yummy said...

Ooh, I bet the white beans add a creaminess that's healthy and unexpected with broccoli soup! Yum!

At April 25, 2012 at 2:06 PM , Blogger Lori Lynn said...

Sounds delicious. Like that is has beans and doesn't use cream.

At May 5, 2012 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like your blog - and these photos are gorgeous!

At June 24, 2012 at 12:35 AM , Blogger Angie's Recipes said...

What a comforting creamy bean soup! Totally right up my alley.

At June 27, 2012 at 4:37 AM , Blogger Purabi Naha said...

mmmm....beans and black pepper in this soup? I'm gonna love this!

At June 27, 2012 at 6:01 AM , Blogger recetas de cocina said...

Este sopa tiene una pinta excelente,y muy sana

un saludo


At June 27, 2012 at 9:42 AM , Blogger Soni said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At June 27, 2012 at 9:43 AM , Blogger Soni said...

Lovely looking soup!!So delicious and comforting :)


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