Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
I am in an all-out lunch lovefest with Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup. It was my midday meal on repeat last week, and I stocked up on groceries to make it again for the week ahead. It’s rich and creamy, made almost entirely of vegetables, I feel fantastic after I eat it, and on top of all of those tasty qualities, it’s easy to make too!
Finding a broccoli cheese soup recipe that’s healthy and easy and tastes as good as the broccoli cheese soup against which all broccoli cheese soups are measured (hi, Panera!) is more complicated than it sounds.
Despite its straightforward promise to be warm, comforting, and make you feel all cozy and happy inside, most from-scratch broccoli cheese soup recipes are fussier than they appear.
Back when I was working on this Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheese Soup, I discovered that the majority of homemade broccoli cheese soup recipes required me to start by making a roux-based white sauce, which, while tasty, defeated the easy factor I was seeking.
The recipes that didn’t involve a roux called for thickening the soup with a certain uncomfortably orange “cheese” that starts with “v” and ends in “elveeta,” which defeated the healthy factor I wanted for my soup.
While I came up with a solution I was fairly happy with for my slow cooker version, I must say, this Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup does it better.
Not only is it quick to make thanks to the speed of the pressure cooker, but the overall texture, flavor, and comfort factor are the best of any broccoli cheese soup I have tasted anywhere, Panera included.
The secret to an easy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup that’s healthy too? For the big reveal, let’s turn to the source of the recipe, my friend Megan’s new cookbook The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook!
Filled with 75 light, healthy Instant Pot recipes, including this Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup, Megan’s cookbook is a stellar resource for anyone who owns an Instant Pot (or is looking for a good excuse to buy one).
Not only are all of the recipes healthy, quick to prep, gluten free, and refined sugar free, for each recipe, Megan has included tips and tricks to adapt the recipe to different ingredients and diets. As someone who is in the midst of working on a cookbook herself, I can tell you that is no small feat. It requires creativity, careful planning, and exhaustive testing.
Megan also goes above and beyond to include nutritional information, helpful cook times, and Instant Pot troubleshooting tips. The recipes are diverse, geared towards those in need of fast, fresh meals, and the recipes span every meal from breakfast to dessert. If you own an Instant Pot, I can’t recommend this book enough.
How to Make the Best Healthy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
So, what’s Megan’s secret to a healthy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup that tastes as rich and creamy as an Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup made with Velveeta but is actually ridiculously good for you?
When the final soup is blended, the taste of the cauliflower goes unnoticed, but it gives the soup incredible texture and body. (It’s similar to the magical effect it has on this creamy Cauliflower Chowder and Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.)
Like all of the recipes in the book, this Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup is gluten free. I added the called for sharp cheddar and Parmesan (YUM!), but if you are looking for to make the soup vegan, Megan’s also included tips to make the recipe vegan. The vegan option makes the Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup Paleo too.
My only changes to the recipe were to start by sautéing the onions directly in the Instant Pot, based on personal preference. I like the deeper, more mild flavor of sautéed onions versus raw. If you are in a hurry or don’t mind a stronger onion taste, you can certainly skip that step and make the recipe just as Megan has written it: add the ingredients, seal, and cook away.
I also swapped the spicy brown mustard called for in the recipe with a blend of Dijon and regular stone-ground mustard because I was out of spicy brown mustard and in no mood to go to the store. The soup was still perfect and delicious in every way.
Recommended Tools to Make Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Instant Pot
- Immersion blender: it makes pureeing soups like this one easier (and safer) than transferring the piping hot soup mixture to a blender or food processor in batches.
- If you prefer a food processor, or are in the market for a new one, I have used and loved this one for almost ten years.
- The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion — chopped
- 3 cups water
- 2 carrots — peeled and chopped
- 1 pound broccoli — cut into florets (about 6 cups)
- 1 very small head or 1/2 large cauliflower — cut into florets (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard — (I used 1 tablespoon grainy brown mustard and 1/2 tablespoon Dijon)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften and brown, about 3 minutes. Splash in some of the water and scrape a spoon along the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck-on bits. Add the carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, brown mustard, and salt. Add the remaining water.
Close and seal the lid. Cook on HIGH pressure (Manual) for 3 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, immediately vent to release the remaining pressure. Carefully open the lid. With an immersion blender, puree the soup, leaving it as creamy or as chunky as you like. Alternatively, you can transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree it in batches, then return it to the Instant Pot. (Be careful not to overfill, as hot soup will splatter.)
Stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, almond milk, and black pepper. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Enjoy hot (with a bonus sprinkle of cheddar if you feel so called!).
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- To make vegan: Omit the cheese and stir in 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice with the almond milk. (You may want to add more salt, as Parmesan is typically salty.)
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 of 4, about 1 1/2 cups) — Calories: 218, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Potassium: 940mg, Carbohydrates: 21g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 13g, Vitamin A: 5992%, Vitamin C: 174%, Calcium: 320%, Iron: 2%
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