Don't throw out leftover broccoli stalks ... treat yourself to this mouthwatering Broccoli Stem Soup instead! This delicious soup recipe helps cut down on kitchen waste, plus it's easy to make, super creamy, and perfectly cheesy. You won't be able to resist it!
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I hate to throw out food. In fact, it's one of my resolutions this year to cut down on as much food waste as possible. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to find other uses for leftovers and scraps that you might otherwise discard.
Like broccoli stalks! Did you know that they're actually edible? And they taste great, too. I usually add them right in with the florets, whether I'm roasting them, preparing a pasta or stir fry, or making another broccoli recipe.
If you're wondering what to do with broccoli stalks, then you'll want to try my favorite way to use them: this scrumptious Broccoli Stem Soup! The recipe uses basic ingredients, but tastes oh so delicious and creamy. It's a little lighter than your typical Cheesy Broccoli Soup too, because it doesn't contain any cream.
You are going to love this simple recipe! The flavor is amazing, it's total comfort food (perfect for cold winter and fall days), and it couldn't be easier to make. This is a recipe that you'll find yourself returning to again and again, especially if you're a broccoli lover like me!
Ready to start cooking? Then keep reading for all the details!
This recipe uses simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store! Here's what you'll need:
- Broccoli Stalks - Whether you call them stems or stalks, this is the part that you'll find below the florets. While they often get thrown out, they're actually edible, delicious, and nutritious. You'll need two cups chopped stems for this recipe, which is about five large stalks. Feel free to throw in the florets if you have them, too ... the recipe will work either way.
- Potatoes - Because this recipe has no cream, the potatoes add body, and they help give the pureed soup its creamy texture. I recommend using Yukon Gold (or yellow) potatoes for the best flavor, however russet potatoes will also work great.
- Onions + Garlic - Sautéed onions and garlic give the soup a wonderful, deep flavor.
- Butter + Olive Oil - You'll sauté the onions and garlic in a combination of butter and extra virgin olive oil, which gives the soup a rich, full bodied flavor. If you don't have both on hand, feel free to use one or the other.
- Herbs - This recipe uses a combination of fresh rosemary and parsley, two herbs that pair well with both broccoli and potatoes.
- Broth - You'll also need some broth to cook the veggies. I like to use vegetable bouillon to make my broth. It's super convenient, tastes great (often better than the stuff in cartons), and that way, I always have some on hand.
- Milk - For best results, I recommend using whole milk. Plant based milk may also be used, but make sure to use one that is thick and creamy, and that has a neutral flavor (my fave soy milk works great!).
- Cheese - This recipe calls for sharp cheddar cheese, which adds tons of flavor to the soup. I used white cheddar, but any kind works.
This recipe is naturally vegetarian and gluten free (always double check labels if you have an allergy). If you'd like to make it vegan / dairy free, check out the tips in the Variations section below.
You'll Also Need
To make this recipe, you'll need a sharp knife and cutting board to prep the veggies, as well as a large dutch oven or pot to cook the soup. I used my favorite nonstick dutch oven, and it's works perfectly for this recipe! You'll also need an immersion blender (the easiest + best, if you have one) or a standard blender to puree the soup.
How to Make Broccoli Stem Soup
This simple broccoli stem recipe couldn't be easier to make! You'll find a detailed recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Prep broccoli. Start by trimming the tough ends off the broccoli stalks (usually, about ½-inch or so). Then remove the peel and any rough bits (a paring knife or vegetable peeler works great for this). The remaining stalk should be pale green / whitish looking. Once you've done that, chop the broccoli.
- Sauté onion + garlic. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking just until the garlic is nice and fragrant.
- Add broccoli, potatoes, broth, and rosemary. Next, you'll add the broccoli stems, potatoes, broth, and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the soup until the veggies are tender.
- Stir in parsley. Remove the rosemary, then stir in the parsley. Continue cooking the soup for another minute or two, or just until the parsley is bright green and tender.
- Puree soup. Remove the pot from the burner, then puree the soup until it's completely smooth using an immersion blender. If you don't have one, you may use a regular blender instead (just be careful not to burn yourself). Tip: Don't worry if there are still some green flecks in the soup when you're finished blending it. This is normal and give the soup a pretty appearance.
- Add milk + cheese. Return the soup to medium heat, then stir in the milk and a tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary. When the soup is hot, remove the pot from the burner. Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Time to enjoy your homemade Broccoli Stem Soup! Wasn't that easy? And trust me, it tastes even better than it looks.
Can't resist experimenting with this recipe? Here are a few easy ideas to try:
- Broccoli - If you have stems and florets, feel free to use both.
- Veggies - I kept this recipe fairy simple, and just used potatoes and onions, but other veggies (like carrots, celery, or cauliflower) will work, too. If you do add extra veggies, keep in mind that you may need a little extra broth or milk.
- Herbs - Try adding different herbs, such as basil, thyme, tarragon, or sage. If you'd prefer to use dried herbs, add them along with the potatoes. That way, they'll have a chance to soften and flavor the soup.
- Vegan / Dairy Free - To make this recipe vegan, simply substitute the butter, milk and cheese with dairy free alternatives.
Although this soup is perfectly tasty served as-is, I prefer to add a topping or two (for added texture) when serving pureed soups. Try one of these ideas:
- Roasted Broccoli - If you do have some florets available, they'd make an awesome topping! Simply toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then roast at 450 until tender and crisp while the soup cooks.
- Croutons - Crunchy homemade croutons also make a wonderful addition, and they're a great way to use up leftover bread, too.
- Cheese - Add a pinch of shredded sharp cheddar to echo and enhance the flavors of the creamy soup.
- Green Onions - Thinly sliced green onions scattered over the top will brighten up the soup's flavor, and they pair nicely with the cheese, too.
- Herbs - If you have leftover fresh herbs, add a pinch to the top before serving.
- Pepper - A dash of freshly cracked pepper makes a delicious and tasty topping, too.
This Broccoli Stalk Soup recipe makes a great one dish meal! But if you're craving something more substantial, try one of these pairing ideas:
- Salad - Soup and salad make perfect partners! Try this Tossed Green Salad, Garden Veggie Salad, or Cranberry Kale Salad for a light meal, or this Fall Harvest Salad (honestly, delish at anytime of year!) or this Roasted Veggie and Wheat Berry Salad when you're craving something heartier.
- Sandwich - I also like serving this soup with a simple sandwich. It would be lovely paired with my Sourdough Grilled Cheese (perfect for dipping), Halloumi Pesto Sandwich, Deviled Egg Salad (try serving on a slice of rustic toast!), or this easy Avocado Tomato Sandwich.
- Bread - This Blended Broccoli Soup goes great with bread for dipping! A crusty artisan bread would be delish, as would this easy Beer Bread. For an extra special treat, serve it with homemade Garlic Bread or Garlic Cheese Bread!
- Something Crunchy - Creamy soups also pair wonderfully with crispy things, like these tasty Parmesan Herb Crackers, homemade Pita Chips, or this yummy Crostini Bread.
If you have leftover soup, store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for up to four days. When it's time to eat it, reheat the soup gently in your microwave or in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Looking for more recipes for leftovers? Check out my Sourdough Croutons, Shepherd's Pie, Creamy Celery Soup, or Stuffing Muffins next! If you're craving more soup ideas, you'll love these cozy recipes, too:
- Barley Vegetable Soup
- Favorite Veggie Stew
- Kitchen Sink Soup
- 15 Bean Soup
- Easy Lentil Soup
- Beer Cheese Soup
- Creamy Tomato Soup
Broccoli Stem Soup
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups peeled and chopped broccoli stems (see note)
- 2 medium Yukon Gold (or yellow) potatoes, peeled and chopped (2 generous cups, about 14.5-ounces / 411 grams)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup whole milk (see note)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- kosher salt
- Heat butter and olive oil in a large dutch oven (or soup pot) over medium heat.
- Add onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until translucent, stirring frequently (about 5 to 7 minutes).
- Mix garlic into onions, then cook just until fragrant, stirring constantly (about 30 seconds).
- Stir in broccoli, potatoes, broth, and rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue cooking until veggies are very tender, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes).
- Mix in parsley and continue cooking just until it's bright green and tender (1 to 2 minutes).
- Remove soup from heat, then puree until totally smooth using an immersion blender (or in batches, using a standard blender).
- Return soup to medium heat, then add the milk and minced rosemary. Cook just until hot and heated through.
- Stir in cheese, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot. Enjoy!