Skinny Cream of Broccoli Soup with Aged Cheddar

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Everyone in our house grooves on crispy roasted broccoli, so it’s in heavy rotation on the dinner menu playlist.

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However, no one but me will eat the stems or stalks. I’m not really sure why this is, but I’d guess it’s because the florets get so much crispier than the stalks. Whatever the reason, I end up with pounds and pounds of broccoli stalks that I can’t bring myself to throw out. (We had to stop putting food in our backyard compost pile because the rats and raccoons thought they’d stumbled upon a 24/7 gastropub.)

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So now, whenever I make roasted broccoli, I chop up the underappreciated stems and store them in a gallon-size ziplock bag in the fridge. (They’ll keep for weeks.) When the bag’s full, it’s time to make Cream of Broccoli soup.

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More Broccoli, Please!

OK – so I’ve stretched this a bit.  My kids don’t always say “please” at the dinner table (though we’re working on it).  They do, however, devour roasted broccoli like locusts coming off of a cleanse. When friends ask me for advice on how to get their kids/families to eat healthier, I suggest they get out a baking sheet and try roasting some vegetables.  Roasting at a high temperature caramelizes the natural sugars in vegetables, making them sweet, crunchy and irresistible.  True story: the first time I made roasted broccoli for a Walter family gathering, the eleven kids polished off 3 huge (HUGE) bunches of broccoli before the adults had a chance to go through the buffet line.  Another manners moment: Kids, please leave some broccoli for the rest of us!

Roasted Broccoli

  • 1 large head/bunch broccoli
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Heat oven to 450ºF.

Chop the florets off one bunch of broccoli; reserve the stalks for soup, or peel and slice into pieces to roast along with the florets. Chop large florets into smaller pieces, since this makes for quicker cooking time and crispier edges.

Dump florets onto an ungreased baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. You want enough oil to coat the florets, but not so much that you turn your oven into a deep fryer. 1-2 Tablespoons should be plenty.

Using your hands, toss broccoli to coat, and spread out into one even layer. (If there’s not a little air space around each floret, use a second baking sheet to ensure crispy vs. steamed broccoli.) Sprinkle with a generous pinch (approx. ½ tsp) of kosher salt.

Roast in a 450ºF oven for about 15 minutes, or until the edges have turned crisp and brown. Serve immediately for maximum crunchiness.