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-cheddar-soup-in-white-bowls

Healthy 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 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.

ingredients in broccoli cheese soup
  • Unsalted butter or olive oil: Either of these work to sautee the vegetables.
  • Leek or onion: You can use a leek or one medium onion, peeled and diced, in place of the leek if you’d like.
  • Reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth: To make this vegetarian, use vegetable stock. Otherwise, either work.
  • Salt, garlic powder, pepper add flavor.
  • Green split peas: I like to add a little bit of split peas to this soup to make it more satisfying with protein and fiber.
  • Broccoli florets: You can use fresh or frozen broccoli florets in this recipe.
  • Whole milk: I use whole milk here to add richness and creaminess. You can also use a nondairy plain unsweetened milk as desired.
  • Grated cheddar cheese: Cheddar cheese adds the classic cheesiness to this soup. You can use grated cheese from the store or grate it yourself.

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.

how to make broccoli cheese soup step by step
  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!

How to Store

  • 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.

Best Tips for Success

  • 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.

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

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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 22 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
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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!

This post was first published March 2019.

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Comments

    1. No, they don’t absorb liquid the same way and don’t need to be cooked nearly as long, so the liquid ratios would be totally different.

  1. 5 stars
    Super tasty! Baby and hubby and I ate it. We added some ham steak cubes. The toddler refused but this was anticipated, so he had cubed ham, steamed broccoli, cheese cubes and some bread for his dinner. I bet this could be an easy slow cooker recipe, maybe adding the milk and cheese at the end?

  2. Hi! Love this recipe (and many of yours!!) – just wondering if it’s normal for a lot of the liquid to evaporate while cooking the peas? There wasn’t much liquid left when I added the broccoli and milk, and then I had a hard time using my immersion blender (I had to transfer to a smaller bowl so the liquid level was high enough). Thanks so much for all you do!!

  3. This recipe doesn’t say anything about soaking the split peas, I’m not sure if it was the kind I bought or not but I followed the recipe and my split peas were still completely hard. I checked the back of the package and it said to soak overnight. Trying again tomorrow.

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