Start The New Year With Hearty Soup

By Kari Hartel, RD, LD
Program Coordinator, Cooking Matters, Operation Food Search

It is a brand new year, and what better way to ring in 2015 in a healthy way than with comforting, steaming hot, hearty bowl of healthy soup. This is a perfect dish to highlight considering January is National Soup Month, and many satisfying seasonal soups utilize hearty winter vegetables. Toss in some whole-grains, lean proteins, and perhaps a couple cubes of cheese and you have yourself a one-pot meal that is both satisfying and thrifty. Enjoy some fruit salad for dessert and you’ve eaten all five food groups in one meal.

Soup is a healthy, affordable, and delicious way to incorporate more vegetables and whole grains into your diet. It is also very easy to prepare and can be a great way to feed a large crowd or use up produce leftover in your fridge.

Below is a delicious, kid-friendly, crowd-pleasing recipe for broccoli soup.

Broccoli Soup
Serves 8, 1/2 cup serving, 90 Calories, 2.5 grams fat, 310 mg sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 6 grams protein
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Matters

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 large broccoli crowns
  • 1 medium stalk celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ounce low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Rinse and peel onion, potato, and carrot. Rinse broccoli and celery. Peel garlic.
  2. Dice onion and celery. Slice potato and carrots into thin slices. Cut broccoli florets away from the stem. Slice stems thinly. Mince garlic.
  3. Grate cheese.
  4. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add celery and onion. Cook until soft and lightly golden brown, about 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Cook about 30 seconds more.
  5. Add potato, carrot, broccoli stems, bay leaf, milk, and broth to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are soft, about 15 minutes. Add broccoli florets in the last 10 minutes.
  6. Remove and discard bay leaf. In a blender, puree about half the soup. Return blended soup to pot.
  7. Add cheese, salt, and pepper. Simmer to melt the cheese, 2–3 minutes.

Chef’s Notes

  • Try cauliflower instead of broccoli.
  • Add a dash of ground cayenne pepper or paprika for heat.
  • Keep pot uncovered when cooking green veggies like broccoli. This will help keep the color.
  • Be careful when blending hot soup. Fill the blender only half full. Blend in batches, if needed. If your blender lid has a removable cap, remove it. Then, cover the lid completely with a kitchen towel. This allows hot steam to escape.
  • If you do not have a blender, gently use a potato masher to blend hot soup.

Operation Food Search wishes all our volunteers, donors and friends a safe, happy and healthy New Year!  If you would like to learn more about Operation Food Search or see our work in action, the door is always open. There is a plethora of ways for people to engage in our mission to nourish our neighbors in need. To arrange a tour, please call (314) 726-5355 and ask for anyone on the development team.