This recipe is, of course, a healthy make-over of the classic full dairy Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It is a perfect after work soup recipe; fast, easy and nutritious. Yet, you will find yourself thinking “I can’t believe it’s not cheddar!”
Bad pop culture reference aside, the secret ingredient is nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast, an inactive yeast, is completely different from baking or brewer’s yeast. It is a favored ingredient in healthy cuisine for its savory flavor, similar to cheese. But, even for omnivores, there are many reasons to enjoy nutritional yeast other than its taste. It is fat and sodium-free and a good source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. In particular, forms of nutritional yeast which undergo natural fermentation, such as Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast, are an excellent vegetarian source of vitamin B-12.
Nutritional yeast is also a source of a (1,3)-(1,6) beta glucan fibers which are known to stimulate the immune system. With daily use, nutritional yeast has been shown to reduce the occurrence, severity and duration of common colds compared to placebo [2,3].
BROCCOLI “CHEDDAR” SOUP
Inspired by the Clean Program’s Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
Yield: 8 cups.
This broccoli cheddar soup recipe uses the whole broccoli stock; florets, leaves and stem. It also recommends the optional advance chopping of the broccoli and allowing a 40 minute resting period before cooking. As a result, the finished soup will contain sulfurophane, the compound which confers health benefits ranging from reducing free radicals, eliminating toxins and preventing cancer .
- 1 large head of broccoli (about 1.5 pounds)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8th teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoons dried turmeric
- 1 bay leaf
- 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 2-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Cashews: Cover the cashews in filtered water and let them soak for at least one hour. Overnight is ideal, but not necessary.
- Broccoli – ‘Hack and Hold’: Trim off the bottom of the broccoli stem, including any portion which has cracked open. Chop the florets into bite-size pieces. Chop the stem into 1/2 inch-pieces or smaller. You can trim away some of the outer layer of the stem with a paring knife or vegetable peeler, if it is extremely tough. But, this is not necessary. Chopping the stem pieces smaller than the florets allows more even cooking times for all the broccoli pieces. The total amount of chopped pieces should be about 6 cups. Let the chopped broccoli stand for 40 minutes before starting to cook the soup.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
- Add the chopped broccoli and stir to coat.
- Add the broth, salt, pepper, turmeric and bay leaf.
- Lower the heat and simmer 20 minutes covered, then remove from the heat.
- While the soup is simmering, make the cashew cream by draining the water and process in a blender with about 1/4 cup of filtered water until smooth. For step-by-step directions: How to Make Cashew Cream.
- When the soup has cooled slightly, add the nutritional yeast, cashew cream, apple cider vinegar and stir to blend all ingredients. Adjust salt and pepper, if desired.
NUTRITIONAL NOTE: Nutritional yeat is high in purines. So individuals with gout, uric acid, kidney stones, or a new organ transplant may want to limit their intake to less than a teaspoon a day,
 H J Graubaum, R Busch, H Stier, J Gruenwald. A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Nutritional Study Using an Insoluble Yeast Beta-Glucan to Improve the Immune Defense System. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 2012;3(6):738-46.