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Low-fat broccoli soup is a creamy low calorie, low-fat dish in which the main ingredient is pureed broccoli. Other vegetables, such as carrots, onions, and celery may be included to improve the dish's flavor and provide added nutrients. Traditional broccoli soup recipes, which are frequently both high in calories and fat, may be adapted to low-fat versions by substituting similar low calories foods and adding flavor with broth rather than butter.
Broccoli soup is a heavy, cream based dish which typically requires the use of heavy whipping cream as a base. This ingredient, which lends the creamy texture to the soup as well as its warm, hearty, and balancing flavor, contains as much as 800 calories per 8 ounce cup (226.8 g). Additional ingredients can include chopped broccoli, carrots, onion, chicken broth, cheese, and butter.
A low-fat broccoli soup may still be milk based while also lowering the caloric intake of traditional broccoli soup. The primary ingredient of heavy whipping cream may be removed and replaced with a half and half substitute, or reduced fat milk. When using reduced fat milk as the foundation for this type of appetizer, it is usually recommended to thicken the base with a combination of equal parts melted butter and flour. These should be added to the stock pot first and blended until thick. The milk may then be added slowly, while stirring continuously to make sure all items blend together without forming lumps.
Additional calories may be removed from this low-fat broccoli soup version by trading the butter, flour, and milk for alternative thickeners. Several teaspoons of cornstarch added to fat-free evaporated milk can achieve a similar consistency. The flavor may be somewhat altered from that of the more commonly milk-based versions, though this can often be improved by adding a chicken bouillon cube to the simmering broth.
Onions, carrots, celery, and leeks may be included in a low-fat broccoli soup recipe to add flavor to the meal. The vegetables are chopped first, and then pureed to a somewhat small, though not mushy, consistency. Some chefs may prefer to chop and add all vegetables, including the broccoli, to the soup first to allow them to tenderize. The finished broccoli soup is then placed in a blender and pureed until fine before serving immediately.
Many traditional recipes also include cheese to create broccoli cheddar soup. This flavorful addition is high in both calories and fat, causing it to be eliminated for most low-fat broccoli soup recipes. Those who love the flavor of this food item are often able to add it back to their adapted recipes by purchasing a low-fat or fat free cheese instead, or by using it as a garnished topping only and not including it in the milk base.