Ingredients

1 Tbsp extra- virgin olive oil

1 large sliced onion

¼ cup butter/margarine

¼ cup flour

2 cups half-and-half

2 cups chicken stock (low sodium)

½ – 1 lb fresh broccoli florets, cut into small pieces

8 oz cream cheese (reduced fat) (room temperature)

salt to taste

ground black pepper to taste

1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2-3 chopped green onions

Preparation

1.  Pour olive oil in stockpot/Dutch oven and place on stovetop over medium-high heat.

2.  Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Stir periodically.

3.  Melt butter/margarine with onion and then add flour to create roux/thickening agent.  Continually whisk for about one minute until it turns into a paste

4.  Slowly add half-and-half and chicken stock to paste and continue to whisk until thickened and creamy to make Béchamel sauce.  Lower heat to medium and let simmer for 15 minutes.

5.  While Béchamel sauce simmers, place a stainless steamer in saucepot and fill with broccoli florets.  Fill pot with water to steamer line or slightly above.

6.  If you don’t have a steamer, put broccoli in pot and barely cover with water.

7.  Cover and bring to boil over medium to medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, or until tender.  Drain water.

8.   Mix in broccoli with Béchamel sauce.

9.   Add in cream cheese, stirring until reaching a creamy consistency.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.

10.  Reduce heat to low.  Sprinkle in cheddar cheese (leave some for garnish) and stir in figure-eight motion until cheese is completely melted.

11.  Ladle soup into bowls.  Garnish with additional cheese and green onion.  Serves 4-6.

Alternatives

Original Ingredient: Replace with:
extra -virgin olive oil vegetable oil, butter/margarine or dairy-free margarine
butter/margarine dairy- free margarine or extra- virgin olive oil
flour brown rice flour, rice flour, whole wheat flour, wheat flour, or soy flour
half-and-half cream, rice milk, soy milk, oat milk, or whole milk
chicken stock vegetable stock
cream cheese (reduced fat) cream cheese or Tofutti ® Better Than Cream Cheese
sharp cheddar cheese any type of shredded sharp cheese or soy-based cheese

Tips

–  For additional vegetable options, add shredded carrots, puréed butternut squash, and/or cauliflower.

–  To maintain freshness, wash herbs immediately when you bring them home from the store.  Dry off and store wrapped up in paper towels in a Ziploc® Brand bag in refrigerator.

–  Place dried herbs in mortar and pestle and gently crush to draw out flavor.  If you do not own a mortar and pestle, gently rub herbs with both hands.