Broccoli Cheddar Soup - and It's Gluten Free

The more I cook for clients, discuss recipes with friends, and read foodie magazines, I discover that many people are allergic to some sort of food. Go into any elementary school classroom, and about 3 out of the 30 kids will be allergic to nuts. When I interview a potential client, I ask them if any family members have a food allergy. Out of my 6 client families, 2 of them have members that are allergic to a certain food. I have jumped onto the food allergy bandwagon, and will present my Gluten Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Olive Oil Croutons.

How hard, you may say, is it to make gluten free soup? Most soups are gluten free already, aren't they? No they are not. Many homemade soups are thickened with a roux which is a mixture of flour and butter. It contains gluten. And most canned soups available on your grocery store's shelves contain gluten.

When I started cooking for a gluten free client, I began to read every food label on each product I picked up at the grocery store. Soy sauce. It has wheat in it. Chicken stock. It has wheat in it. Flour. It has wheat in it. Pasta. It has wheat in it. Salad dressing. It has wheat in it. Making a batch of soup that was gluten free was going to take a little extra work on my part.

In my original Broccoli Cheddar soup recipe, the soup was thickened with flour. That would not work for my gluten free version. I substituted two diced russet potatoes that when cooked in the soup break down and thicken the soup. I also double checked to make sure the broth I was using was gluten free. In this recipe I used Swanson's Chicken Broth. I served the soup topped with my Olive Oil Croutons made with Food for Life's Rice Bread. When I served the new and improved gluten free soup to my soup-loving middle kid, she could not even tell the difference from the original version. She even asked for more of the croutons. Success.

I'll be gluten-freeing it up in my kitchen more often. Stay tuned.

Gluten Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Olive Oil Croutons

serves about 8 - 10

4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped, about 2 cups
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups gluten free chicken stock, Swanson's brand is gluten-free
6 - 8 large heads of broccoli, chopped
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil croutons made with rice bread

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium high heat and add the chopped onions and diced potatoes. Saute for about 8 - 10 minutes or until until the onions are softened. Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute.

Add the stock and broccoli to the stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for until the potatoes and broccoli are tender. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender puree about half of the soup keeping the other half chunky. Return the pureed soup to the pot and add 2 cups of the cheddar cheese and stir until it melts. Stir in the half and half and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with Olive Oil Croutons and the remaining cheese sprinkled on top.

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teresa said...

oh i love this soup! and i learned something new too, the gluten-free diet is becoming a bit deal to a lot of my friends too. thanks for this post!

Robin Sue said...

Gluten free is getting more awareness as folks discover their allergies more. This will be handy to to have for my gluten free friends. I'll pass this to my mom too. Thanks!

kat said...

I think I heard recently that 1 in every 3 people has some allergy to gluten!

sallybranwyn said...

I'm adding my thanks for this, too! GF flours are expensive, so I'll be using potatoes as thickeners in soups whenever possible! Looks yummy

amycaseycooks said...

teresa - hope you like the soup. I did not even miss the flour as a thickener.

robin sue - let me know what your Mom thinks of the recipe.

kat - more and more of my friends, their kids and my clients are discovering that the discomfort they have been feeling is b/c they are gluten intolerant.

sallybranwyn - thanks for stopping by. I too will be using potatoes more often in my soup recipes. It is much easier than making a roux.

Unknown said...

great job! your soup looks and sounds wonderful

Patsyk said...

It looks like you have nicely adapted this soup! It looks so warm and comforting, and more enjoyable to those who have a hard time with gluten. Very nice!

Anonymous said...

Some more delicious gluten-free recipes and products for gluten-free eaters at www.jkgourmet.com and www.grainfreegourmet.com.

Bill Medifast said...

I am a big fan of brocolli soup and this looks even more delicious then what I am use too. I just started getting into the gluten free foods and this will definitely be added into my recipe book.

Thanks for sharing this,

Bill M.