This hearty spin on broccoli and cheese soup is perfect for the winter months. Semi-firm cheeses, like cheddar, Monterey Jack, and mozzarella can be a challenge to shred efficiently on a box grater, so for easier grating, start by letting your cheese sit 30 minutes in the freezer.
2 tbsp unsalted butter 2 lbs broccoli, florets chopped into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick 1 onion, chopped coarse 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 ½ tsp dry mustard pinch cayenne pepper salt and pepper 3-4 cups water ¼ tsp baking soda 2 cups chicken broth 2 cups baby spinach ¾ cup cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded ¾ cup cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine, plus extra for serving 3 cups butter croutons
1. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and baking soda. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
2. Add broth and 2 cups water and increase heat to medium-high. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer half of soup to blender, add cheddar and Parmesan, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer soup to medium bowl and repeat with remaining soup.
3. Return soup to Dutch oven, place over medium heat and bring to simmer. Adjust consistency of soup with up to 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, top with butter croutons and extra Parmesan.
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