You guys, if you’re wanting to get your kids into soup, this Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe is such a good one to try! It’s packed with plant-based protein and fiber, sure, but it’s so super delish and cheesy. Plus, it’s a great family meal alongside crackers or muffins AND it also freezes wonderfully. Win, win, win.

broccoli cheese soup in one large bowl and one small bowl on a towel with crackersHealthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I love broccoli cheddar soup but I always wish there was more protein and a little less cheese to help me stay full longer. And I’ve found that it’s super easy to tweak the ingredients just slightly by adding split peas to the mix to get the best of all of the soup worlds!

Split peas are so often overlooked as an affordable source of vegetarian protein that blends in perfectly in this broccoli soup. They are also straightforward to cook, so simply letting them simmer in broth until soft does the trick.

Each serving has almost 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and a solid dose of Vitamin C.

TIP: My kids love to dip their crackers into their bowl and skip the spoon all together.

ingredients in broccoli cheese soupIngredients You Need

To make this soup, you’ll need just a handful of simple ingredients. Here’s a quick look at what you’ll want to have on hand.

  • unsalted butter or olive oil
  • leek (or onion)
  • reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt, garlic powder, pepper
  • green split peas
  • broccoli florets
  • whole milk
  • grated cheddar cheese

TIP: You can use one medium onion, peeled and diced, in place of the leek if you’d like.

how to make broccoli cheese soup step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s the process involved in making this easy soup recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full information.

  1. Chop, soak, and drain the leek to clean(photo 1)
  2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add the leek, stir to coat, and cook. Stir in the split peas. (photo 2)
  3. Add the broth, salt, garlic powder, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 30 minutes. (photo 3)
  4. Add the broccoli and milk and cover. Turn the heat to low and cook until soft. (photo 4)
  5. Turn off the heat and remove the cover. Puree. Stir in the cheese and serve warm. (photo 5)

How to Make this Soup Ahead

This soup will stay fresh if stored in an airtight container for 3-5 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. Let thaw overnight in the fridge or use the defrost setting on the microwave.

Heat it in a pot on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave, adding a little extra water if needed to thin to your desired consistency. (It will be thick when it’s cold, just so you know!)

This is one of our favorite freezer meals to share with new parents or as part of a Meal Train.

What should I serve with this healthy soup?

We love this soup with Corn Muffins, crackers, bread, and/or fruit. Since it has protein, veggies, and cheese all in the pot, you really don’t need to serve much on the side!

Many kids may want to dip or dunk something into this soup, so that’s why I try to include a carbohydrate side.

Can I use frozen broccoli here?

Yes. In Step 4, simply reduce the cooking time to 6-8 minutes.

broccoli-soup-in-white-bowl-with-cheese

Tips for Helping Kids to Like Soup

I know that not all little kids like soup in theory, but there are a few ways you can make it more appealing to them. Serve small portions, which will be less intimidating especially the first time you serve the dish. Try serving soup in a small mug so they can sip it if they aren’t quite adept at using a spoon.

Offer bread sticks for dipping. Try just a little soup over rice or pasta as another way to introduce it.

It’s always okay if the kids eat a food differently than we do!

Best Tips for Success

  • Store leftovers, once cooled, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  • Add a little water if needed to thin slightly when reheating.
  • Look for split peas in the bulk aisle or near the rice and beans in your store.
  • You can use 2% milk if you prefer.
  • Adults may enjoy their servings topped with hot sauce.
  • To make with frozen broccoli, in Step 4, simply reduce the cooking time to 6-8 minutes.
  • You may also like Big Batch Veggie Chili, Favorite Alphabet Soup, and One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you make this recipe, so please comment below!

This post was first published March 2019.

broccoli cheese soup recipe

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

With plant-based protein, veggies, and cheese, this soup is a wonderful way to serve up healthy comfort food to the whole family. (Adapted from FamilyFun magazine.)
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Soup
Calories 463kcal
Servings 4 -6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 large leek chopped and rinsed (or 1 large onion, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 quart reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup green split peas
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Heat the butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add the leek, stir to coat, and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the split peas.
  • Add the broth, salt, garlic powder, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli and milk and cover. Turn the heat to low and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and remove the cover. Puree with an immersion blender (or let cool slightly and puree with a regular blender).
  • Stir in the cheese and serve warm.

Notes

  • Store leftovers, once cooled, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  • Add a little water if needed to thin slightly when reheating.
  • Look for split peas in the bulk aisle or near the rice and beans in your store.
  • You can use 2% milk if you prefer.
  • Serve with bread or crackers so the kids can dip and dunk as needed—which may make them more interested in eating it!
  • Adults may enjoy their servings topped with hot sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 463kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 1577mg, Potassium: 971mg, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1661IU, Vitamin C: 85mg, Calcium: 435mg, Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This soup is so easy to make and delicious! My three year old asks for it on a weekly basis – and I’m thrilled he enjoys it. Thank you for this recipe!

    1. I think coconut milk would be fine (though it would change the flavor a bit) or a plain nondairy unsweetened milk.

  2. This recipe looks great! Could I substitute dried lentils for the split peas? And could coconut milk be used as a substitute for whole milk?

    1. I haven’t tried it with lentils, but I think the flavor might not be quite the same (lentils can have a strong flavor). I think you could do coconut milk though

  3. Just made this and my soup is very runny? Any suggestions on how to thicken it up or does it just need to sit?

    1. It probably could but you’d want to greatly reduce the liquid (at least cut it in half or double the broccoli?) and just cook it long enough to make the broccoli tender. I worry a little that it will be very thin though

      1. This has cow’s milk in it, which is very hard for kids under 12 months to digest, so no, I would not serve this to a baby of that young of an age.

    1. You could use any milk or cream or broth instead (though lower fat milk and broth won’t be as creamy)

    1. You can, but you’d want to skip Step 2, then bring the broth to a simmer and add the broccoli. When the broccoli is almost soft, then add the peas. I’d use a 12-16 oz bag and add them straight in frozen. They are already cooked so you don’t need to cook them (or the whole soup) nearly as long. I hope that helps!

    1. Frozen broccoli will be fine, but just added it in frozen, no need to thaw it first. It won’t take as long to cook since it’s already precooked though