little trees + big trees: broccoli soup

DSC_5155-1Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving.  Our bellies and hearts were very full this year.  We hosted a disproportionately large feast with just our little family and my parents.  It was what holiday dreams are made of… lounging on the couch between courses of carbohydrate-laden food, hanging with the fam, sipping wine, and taking in cheesy movies and football.

Now, as fun as that was, raise your hand if you’re over the indulgence that came along with the last five days…. For better or for worse, that steady pace of eating and drinking that kicked off on Thanksgiving eve and continued straight through the weekend came along with a ton of bloating, headaches, and low energy… And, guess what?  I’m over it.

After an indulgent bender like this, my body surrenders and visions of greens begin dancing in my head.  It’s funny how that works… my body knows what it’s used to getting and when I deprive it of all the good stuff I normally put in, it yearns for the opposite.  I answered that call by kicking Sunday off with a brisk fall run around the neighborhood and whipping up a pot of broccoli soup that has more vegetables than I can count… Okay, I can count them:  seven vegetables.  But, my point is, this pot delivers the health.

The first thing I love about this soup is the fact that it relies on heaps of previously frozen broccoli florets.  You might be a little hesitant to get involved with frozen vegetables, as I sometimes am, but do not think twice about it for this soup.  First of all, they are super convenient because there are no stalks to hack away at – you just get a bag filled with the good stuff and can pour it right in the pot.  Plus, frozen fruits and vegetables are typically picked at their peak ripeness and flash frozen within hours, allowing them to lock in prime nutritional value and freshness.  Last, there are no concerns about the sogginess that can sometimes go along with preparing frozen veggies because these are getting blended to smithereens.  Trust me, if I was making my weeknight staple of roasted broccoli, I wouldn’t mess with the frozen stuff.  But for the purpose of a pureed soup… this is perfect.

The second best thing about this soup – especially after a bender like some us just had (food blogger avoids eye contact and looks down guiltily) – is it is super filling!  I am pretty sure my stomach capacity doubled in size this weekend and, while in the process of shrinking it back down to normal, at least I can fill it with something wholesome.

The last two things I want to mention are it is super easy to put together – think one hour from the start of chopping to the finale on the stove – and my kids actually like it.  I’m not 100% sure why they are so on board with this soup because they can both be very picky; especially my son, who “doesn’t eat broccoli”.  In times like these, I don’t question him too much.  I’ll take this small victory.  Next week, he probably won’t eat it.

The recipe is below….   While I am sharing pics of this broccoli (little trees) soup, I also wanted to share a few snaps of the fam and the “big tree” we cut down.  We went full “Clark Griswold” and brought the kids to the tree farm this weekend, sawed one down with a hacksaw and strapped it to the top of the car.  “Burn some dust here… Eat my rubber.”  Fortunately, it was unseasonably warm for November and Serafina didn’t end up frozen from the waist down.  <3


broccoli soup
Serves 8+

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 large leek, whites and light green only sliced thin (approximately 2 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3-16 oz. bags of frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1-16 oz. bag frozen blue kale or spinach*, thawed (optional)
Fresh ground pepper
2 quarts of chicken stock or 8 tsp. Better than Bouillon chicken base + 2 quarts of water
2-15.5 oz. cans rinsed and drained cannellini beans

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium.  Add carrots, celery, leek, onion, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of salt and saute until soft about 10 minutes.  Reserve half of the florets from one of the bags of broccoli, coarsely chop, and set aside.  Add stock or bouillon base and water to the pot.  Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 bags of thawed broccoli and cannellini beans.  Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the optional kale or spinach and simmer an additional five minutes.  Remove from heat and puree soup until smooth either in batches in a blender or keep in the pot and puree with a hand blender.  Return soup to low heat and stir in reserved florets.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

A few notes:

  • The night before you make the soup, transfer frozen veggies to fridge so they can thaw overnight or simply leave on the counter for a few hours beforehand.
  • I used frozen kale in this particular batch.  I think fresh or frozen spinach would be a welcome substitute.
  • I reserved the chopped florets and added them in after pureeing to give the soup a little more texture.  You may prefer it silky smooth – simply leave this step out.
  • I have been using the Organic Better than Bouillon base for its flavor and convenience lately.  Depending on what stock/base you use, you may want to start lighter with the salt and build up as the dish moves along.  For me, the 1 tablespoon at the beginning was followed with an additional 2 two teaspoons at the end.  Pivot based on what liquid you use and your preferences.
  • I like my soup thick and hearty – add more stock until it’s just right for you.
  • Garnishes like croutons or crostini, fresh chopped broccoli, shredded cheese, fried tofu cubes, or pine nuts can spice it up.  Let your imagination run wild

Leave A Comment...