How to make broccoli soup that doesn’t suck

Broccoli Soup

You’re on a cutting diet. You’re frequently hungry, but you have no more precious calories to spare. You could also do with some extra nutrients in your diet. This is where bodybuilders often resort to broccoli due to its incredible nutrient density and high satiety index. But eating dry broccoli sucks. It’s not hardcore. It just sucks. Fortunately, with a little extra effort you can turn broccoli into broccoli soup, which doesn’t taste like broccoli at all. I dislike soup and I dislike broccoli, but I like this broccoli soup. Here’s how to make broccoli soup that doesn’t suck.

 

Ratings

Taste                        ••• 3/5
Ease of Preparation•••• 4/5
Health ••••• 5/5
Budget                  •••• 4/5

 

Ingredients & Macros

Broccoli Soup nutrients

Note that the definition of ‘medium’ broccoli bunch may vary at your supermarket. A bunch should be a plant or handball sized ball of broccoli. 3 of them should weigh about 5.2 lb (2.4 kg). Yes, that’s a lot of broccoli, which is why this makes 5 portions that could substitute for a meal if you add some protein with a complete amino acid profile.

 

Key Health Benefits

Do I really have to tell you broccoli is one of the healthiest foods on the planet? Actually, I probably do, because it’s likely even healthier than you think. Here’s what you get when you consume 1 large portion of this soup without even taking into account the onion and the curry, both of which are extremely healthy as well.

Broccoli nutrition

Bonus:

  • Free Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and therefore 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) supplementation.
  • Free glucoraphanin supplementation, which converts into sulforaphane, which may be anabolic. Human stem cell research shows it induces hyperplasia and in pigs it functions like a myostatin inhibitor [1, 2]. Perhaps this is why broccoli is the favorite vegetable of many bodybuilders.
  • Nearly a gram of omega-3 fat. Yes, there’s omega-3 in broccoli too.

 

Directions

1. Put a soup pot on high heat. Pour 6 cups (1,4  liter) of water in it. Throw in the chicken bouillon cubes. Bring the bouillon to a boil.

2. Chop the entire broccoli bunch and all the onions into big chunks or throw them into a food processor. Throw the chunks and the curry powder in the pan with the chicken bouillon.

 

Broccoli Soup Instructions

 

3. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. The broccoli should now be soft enough to skewer easily with a fork.

4. Take the pot off the heat.

5. Puree the broccoli and onions with a (stick) blender until it looks like soup. Add water if you think the soup’s too thick. Personally, I hate watery soup.

6. Serve the soup or store it in the fridge or freezer.

 

Healthy Broccoli Soup

 

 References

1. Dose-dependent effects of R-sulforaphane isothiocyanate on the biology of human mesenchymal stem cells, at dietary amounts, it promotes cell proliferation and reduces senescence and apoptosis, while at anti-cancer drug doses, it has a cytotoxic effect. Zanichelli F, Capasso S, Cipollaro M, Pagnotta E, Cartenì M, Casale F, Iori R, Galderisi U. Age (Dordr). 2012 Apr;34(2):281-93.

2. Sulforaphane causes a major epigenetic repression of myostatin in porcine satellite cells. Fan H, Zhang R, Tesfaye D, Tholen E, Looft C, Hölker M, Schellander K, Cinar MU. Epigenetics. 2012 Dec 1;7(12):1379-90.

26 Comments

  1. Elsai says:

    I was very skeptical of this one lol but it actually tastes pretty good!

  2. TravisRetriever says:

    I just checked online and the chicken bouillon cubes are a tad high in sodium. I’ll probably try using a lower sodium alternative (e.g. chopped up chicken breast with some Mrs Dash) because of my sensitivity to sodium, high blood pressure and blood sodium levels being a bit high
    .
    Btw, my mom is interested in the recipe, but doesn’t eat meat with the exception of fish (and is watching her sodium too). You know any non-meat or at least fish alternatives that would work in place of the chicken?

    • Most regular bouillon variants work well, so I’d just try one that fits your criteria. The salty ones tend to taste best though. Sodium itself is not a problem for your blood pressure. It’s actually healthy. It’s the ratio of potassium to sodium in your diet. You want to consume at least as much potassium as sodium. Broccoli happens to have a 10:1 ratio in favor of potassium, so this recipe is cardioprotective even with the full amount of listed sodium.

      • TravisRetriever says:

        I don’t know about sodium being healthy (at least not in the 4000+ mg per day I was likely eating when in college–lots of Taco Bell, deli meats, fast food, etc), but yeah, I do know potassium tends to offset the negatives of sodium so what you say makes sense. My daily goal is about 1500 mg Na at most, and 4700 mg K at least. At least until my blood pressure gets out of the high range. And yeah, my taste buds seem to be adjusting in favor of less salty foods, so to me, the less salty bouillon would still likely taste better–I’m one of those weirdos who can actually eat broccoli without salt or butter added. I do have to struggle a bit, but it’s doable for me.

        I’m just trying to be extra cautious because I’m starting off obese–I gained 100 lbs during college–complete with pre-diabetic levels of fasting blood sugar, high blood sodium, high blood pressure and elevated liver enzymes (I don’t drink) resulting from a fatty/enlarged liver and pancreas–all resulting from said obesity. So a part of my problem is figuring out how your articles apply to someone like me (for example, I’m too scared to even go back to diet sodas even *if* they don’t affect my insulin. I can never just stop at one and they do make me hungrier at the very least which is NOT something I need right now).

        I’m a 26 year old male who is 5’9” and who started out weighing 300 lbs at 40% body fat on Jan 1st, 2014. I am losing weight via recording nutrients (Calories, fiber, sodium and potassium) at the idea both my nutritionist and my mom and trying to stick to no more than 2400 Calories a day on average. My nutritionist calculated I was burning about 3400 Calories a day to lose about 2 lbs a week in fat (The math more or less worked out too). After reading your articles, WebMD and information from the Mayo Clinic, I don’t think she was right about the protein in my urine being from exercising on an empty stomach causing my muscles to break down. She said I should eat before the workout and showed me a study (wish she could have e-mailed it to me so I could have showed you or at least looked into it myself) that when people would eat before a workout they would gain more muscle. She also told me to eat something no more than 30 minutes after a workout. Which, I really don’t like doing.

        As for the workouts mentioned, for now, it has been cardio, specifically walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week (started at 2.5 mph then, doing 3.5 mph now). I’ve read your article on cardio so I know you don’t have the highest confidence in it. I will still do it (for now) if only because being so overweight, just moving my huge body might as well be weight training and because I think it’s less complicated and just more manageable for the time being. It might only burn 200-400 Calories, but that’s still better for me and more Calories burned than from sitting on my butt all day. . I’ve lost 20-25 lbs since I started and am no longer winded going up the flight of stairs in my home, and am generally more active and energetic too. :)

        I do plan on joining a gym and trying out some weight lifting after the end of next month when the weather becomes more agreeable to driving. Any weight lifting tips for someone who is really obese like me? If I’m going to go through the trouble, I want to get the most out of my time in the gym.

        I tried weight lifting 10 years ago at home, but didn’t like it. It felt like too much stuff to keep track of, and I had issues getting the burn feeling/exhaustion in the right muscle–especially with the bench press (felt it in my anterior deltoids, never my pecs. :( ) I was using the program in the Body Sculpting Bible for Men in case you were wondering, which had me starting out with 60 hour training sessions 4-6 days a week, and I felt didn’t really do justice to the techniques (I do better with YouTube videos on them and this was before YouTube was a thing).

        One final thing. Based on the Body Fat % calculations of my nutritionist, I was starting out at about 180 pounds of lean body mass. But according to the calculators and websites you linked in another article, the *max* I could reasonable attain (drug free) in lean body mass is about 190-200 lbs. Now, I’ve often been weak, strength-wise growing up, but dang, I doubt I’m that genetically bad, if only because of all the body hair (and facial hair) I’ve got and my longer ring finger than index finger. Despite what it says, I wonder if I can do better…Only time will tell, should I decide to get serious about strength training I suppose. Especially when the muscle gain equation presented by the same guy had me gaining a max of roughly 30 pounds of muscle via training. Either way, it was still good to have some honest perspective regardless of how accurate those things might be.

        Anyways, sorry if that was a bit much to read. Keep up the good work. :)

        • Fasted training is generally not a good idea, but the overall benefit of nutrient timing is highly context dependent.

          Muscular potential highly depends on total weight, so the more you weigh, the more muscle you can carry. If you maintain 180 lb of lean mass and get shredded at your height, you’ll be able to compete in national shows!

          As to the rest, we could schedule a consultation if you want. I can’t go in sufficient detail in a few comments.

          • TravisRetriever says:

            Noted. I will be sure and make sure I at least have had *something* (healthy) to eat during the waking period before I get on the treadmill or start lifting weights. I recall you said you are going to do an article on fasted training. Glad to get a tiny taste of it, and knowing you, it will be worth the wait. ^_^

            That would be awesome. )

            No thanks. I would feel more comfortable spending money on a consultation if I was employed.

            Finally, I think I will remove some of the more personal stuff I put in the above comment. I felt uneasy last night after I posted it but wanted to at least wait for a reply before I removed any of it.

  3. TravisRetriever says:

    A quick question. My mom is convinced and tried to (weakly) assert and convince that because nearly all the frozen versions of vegetables and fruits she finds don’t have potassium despite their fresh versions having potassium, that if she freezes, say, bananas, they will lose their potassium. Is there any truth to this? Because absent evidence (and considering the Law of Conservation of Mass), it doesn’t really seem probable from a Bayesian standpoint. Not a high enough prior probability for me to take it seriously, especially when I spoke of her thoughts on red meat (steak) still having potassium, her response is, “Well that’s different!” with her only response being it “changes the composition!/fruits have more water!” Which seem to be complete hand waving to me. What’s your take on this?

    • You’re right. I don’t know why your frozen fruit doesn’t list potassium, because it should have a lot of it. Freezing generally reduces potassium levels in all foods by a few percent. Considering the price difference, buying frozen food is definitely in line with Bayesian principles.

      • TravisRetriever says:

        Thanks for the reply. :) I thought it might be a difference in how they freeze it, versus what just sticking it in a freezer does, but that’s good to know. :)

        So I read my mom your response and now she’s asking the question about canned foods: “Ask him about canned foods now. Why does Libby’s – Pumpkin Puree: 100% Pumpkin* list 0 mg Potassium (or not list Potassium) despite Pumpkin being rich in Potassium?”
        *Nutritional information for the product in question here: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-libbys-pumpkin-puree-100-i300218

        Is it the same thing as with frozen?

        I thought it didn’t make sense to me that they wouldn’t list it if it was really there. Given that Potassium is a good and desirable nutrient, wouldn’t it be a selling point? Them not listing nutrients that are good, while many food companies talk about how “dark chocolate is healthy!” or how “Our donuts at Krispy Kreme are Trans fat free!” among other things just seemed ridiculous to me. That would be like http://www.bodybuilding.com/ working to suppress studies showing their supplements have less impurities/filler/[insert something desirable here] than everyone else’s. Such a low prior probability from a Bayesian standpoint. Though I suppose it’s also not impossible either; many people don’t know that Potassium is a good thing to have in your diet.

        • Canning in itself has virtually no effect on food, but automated canning systems tend to involve processing and sometimes there is a selection process by which only poor quality foods are selected to be canned instead of being sold fresh. Overall, there is not that much nutritional difference between canned and fresh fruit.

          As for the listing of potassium, I think 99% of people don’t care about potassium. For the manufacturer, it’s a lot of hassle to determine potassium content in line with regulations, so if it doesn’t need to be listed, it often won’t. Caloriecount is also not the most reliable source of information for food nutrients. These kind of websites in general are not perfectly reliable, because they often rely on random people manually inputting nutrients.

          • TravisRetriever says:

            Okay, thanks. :) So sounds like mom was in fact right after all. Good to know I can still eat canned and frozen fruits/veggies. :)

            So what would be a more reliable source for that information, if not the nutritional label itself (which is what we were going by in addition to Caloriecount), if you don’t mind my asking?

          • Nutritiondata.com is generally reliable.

  4. Jared says:

    So you cook the stalk too? I have always thrown it away and used just the flowers as I thought it was too hard and woody to cook well and be eaten.

  5. Mathias Jansen says:

    Wow, a long while after I’ve read this post I decided to make this soup. I regret I didn’t earlier! Tastes awesome and considering it’s nutrient density I will definitely make this more often.

  6. ER says:

    I just made this and it’s actually pretty delicious. There’s enough body in the broccoli to make it even taste hearty, a word I would normally not use in the same sentence as broccoli.

  7. Broccoli soup may be suck? Oh broccoli is my favorite food so I can’t understand why people hates it and o matter what my clumsy cooking talent turn this soup out, I think I can eat it :D And this soup also sounds so delicious and easy to make. Thank you ^^

  8. These are incredible!!! They were super easy to make and are just the best snack/dessert/breakfast/any meal ever!!!!!

  9. robin otten says:

    Leave the chopped broccoli sit for max 40 minutes to let the enzymes make sulforaphane, then cook it or freeze it. Heating it make the enzymes inactive.

    Cheers!

  10. Hausemer Pit says:

    How many onions are actually 6 amounts?

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