Low-Carb Broccoli Cheddar Soup

We left out the cream but made sure to add plenty of cheese in this low-carb version of the classic.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 10 cups
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Ingredients

6 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 pounds broccoli (about 4 heads), separated into florets and stems (about 15 cups total)  

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 large white onion, diced (about 2 cups) 

1 teaspoon Hungarian smoked paprika 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

4 cups chicken broth 

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar (8 ounces), plus more for topping 

1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces), plus more for topping 

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar  

Pinch cayenne pepper 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towels-lined plate with a slotted spoon; set aside to drain.
  2. Add the broccoli stems, garlic and onion to the drippings in the pot and cook until slightly softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the paprika and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until incorporated.  
  3. Add the broccoli florets, chicken broth and 2 cups water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened and the broccoli stems and florets are cooked through, about 25 minutes.  
  4. Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until creamy. If using a stand blender, work in batches, transferring the soup to the blender and pureeing until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids); return the soup to the pot.  
  5. Return the soup to medium-low heat and whisk in the Cheddar and Monterey Jack until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with the vinegar, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with the bacon and extra Cheddar and Monterey Jack.