Home > Lightened Up Panera-Inspired Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Lightened Up Panera-Inspired Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This Lightened Up Panera-Inspired Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe gives you all of those great flavors you expect from your favorite Panera soup with less guilt, money, and no lines!
This Lightened Up Panera-Inspired Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe gives you all of those great flavors you expect from your favorite Panera soup with less guilt, money, and no lines! #copycat #panera #Broccoli #cheese #soup #easy #recipe | bobbiskozykitchen.com

Soup glorious soup! I have told you a million times that I am obsessed with love soup. I could sing about it, or cheer about it! 
I actually did. No seriously, ask Kevin, he was thinking about having me committed. 
I was listening to music and bouncing around my kitchen making this soup (thinking I was alone mind you) and I, 
well, this is what happened…

Me – Gimme an S…..gimme an O….gimme a U……gimme a P….what’s that spell?
Kevin – (from around the corner) Soup…..DUH! (walking into the kitchen) Have you been hitting the cooking wine again?
I had no comeback for that one gang. For once, I was speechless
All joking aside, I had such a good time making this soup. I knew I wanted to lighten it up, but I also decided (thanks to Mr Soup Is Not a Meal) that I wanted to leave it a bit chunkier than your typical cream soup. Make it a bit heartier if you will. 
Plus I wanted to do the bread bowl think because I had never done it before and, well I just thought it would be kind of cool to surprise Kevin with.
While the soup was cooking I baked off the bread, then cut the tops off and scooped out the middles. I didn’t want to waste all of the bread. 
So I took the “lids” out to Kevin with some butter and informed him that he was eating at an upscale restaurant tonight. We provide bread before dinner. 
He just stared at me.
Well it sounded funny in my head.
Thank goodness I can cook!!
End of story? Kevin loved the soup and didn’t even break into the sausage I had bought just in case he complained there was no meat.

This Lightened Up Panera-Inspired Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe gives you all of those great flavors you expect from your favorite Panera soup with less guilt, money, and no lines! #copycat #panera #Broccoli #cheese #soup #easy #recipe | bobbiskozykitchen.com
Lightened Up Broccoli Cheddar Soup

4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fat free evaporated milk
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
4 7-inch sourdough bread boules (round loaves)
2 cups reduced fat sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the bread bowls: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the top of each loaf, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Remove the bread top, then hollow out the middle with a fork or your fingers, leaving a thick bread shell.

Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher until they are the texture you want. You can use an immersion blender (or regular blender) if you prefer a creamier soup.

Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into the bread bowls and garnish with cheese.

Serves 4


  1. I've never done a bread bowl either and this looks fabulous!! Broccoli Cheddar is one of my faves. I'm pinning it so I remember to give it a try.

  2. I love getting my soup in a bread bowl. It makes the soup so much better…. then you get to eat the soggy bread too. LOL… some don't like soggy bread but I like it if it is soggy with soup. I don't have a good recipe for Broccoli soup so I need to try this one.

  3. Haha I like your song. I would be very interested to try this soup as a light version knowing how good it is as a heavy and super fattening version. It looks absolutely delicious!!

  4. I wrote your recipe down and I'm going to make it next week for dinner! It looks delicious and cheese broccoli soup is one of my favorites but I just never seem to get around to making it. Thanks for sharing, this time i'll try to make it myself!

  5. I have never done a bread bowl but have had one at a restaurant–really does make the soup taste extra special! I happen to like broccoli and might attempt to make this some Sunday when I have plenty of time–I am not the world's best cook!

  6. This looks delicious and possible! I think I am going to start a soup making meal day each week.

  7. What a great recipe idea, I bet I will eat the bread too.

  8. YUMMMMM.. you made my day.. I love Broccoli Soup.. and the Lighter the better.. this looks amazing and will be on my Menu next week for sure.. thanks for sharing can't wait to try it

  9. This looks like such a hearty soup. I would love to serve this to my boys on a cold and snowy New York evening.

  10. Oh this soup is so perfect for Fall (and Winter). I love that you use half-and-half instead of heavy cream AND I absolutely love that you serve it in a bread bowl 🙂

  11. i love love love broccoli and cheese soup, and i LOVE that bread bowl!

  12. OH – I love bread bowls! I want this now, so bad!

  13. Never had a soup in a bread bowl. That looks perfect for the chilly weather. Yummy soup!

  14. I love bread bowls. Its the only way I can eat soup. lol. This soup looks delish!

  15. I have to say I'm never a fan of the bread bowl, but broccoli soup is delicious! Great recipe.

  16. Awesome! I am glad you like it!!

  17. Yes, the bread kind of thickens up the soup and then it is all soggy at the end….YUM!

  18. It is super easy, I hope you give it a try!

  19. Thanks Jutta. If you want to go even lighter you could use fat free evaporated milk, but I wanted a little bit of guilt in mine 🙂

  20. Yes, now that I have tried them I am hooked!

  21. broccoli and cheese – those two go together like… peanut butter and jam. yum!

  22. I love broccoli cheddar soup! I hate that every place puts chicken broth in it, though – like Panera. Veggie broth tastes great and is vegetarian. 🙂

  23. True, I couldn't find any veggie broth at the time but it is a great idea!!

  24. When I eat at Panera, I always have this soup in a bread bowl. I don't think there is anything better! Now I can make it at home! Great recipe. P.S. I am a nut about soup too!

  25. You seriously need to come live in my kitchen and cook all sorts of yummies for me. I am way to lazy to do all this cooking myself. 😛

  26. This soup looks very interesting, I tried many soups but not in a bun bowl. Good idea, I think everyone will be curious when I prepare it.

    Fan R @TeddyOutReady

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About Me

Welcome! It is so nice to meet you. My name is Bobbi. I am the Mom of 2 great kids, and Nana to a beautiful baby girl Kylee, and a handsome little devil named Torin. I share my life and home with my awesome partner Kevin, and 2 furbabies….

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