From the AICR Test Kitchen
Week of February 17, 2014
Download 300 dpi photo
Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Creamy Broccoli Soup

from the
American Institute for Cancer Research

Blending broccoli creates a wonderfully satisfying, healthy and creamy soup – although this soup actually doesn’t contain any cream. Instead, it gets its great creamy texture from potatoes.

Research shows that broccoli may help prevent cancer, but its effectiveness is linked to how it is cooked. The reason is that broccoli contains an enzyme called myrosinase that can activate sulforaphane, a compound that has anti-cancer properties. Cooking methods like boiling and microwaving, however, destroy myrosinase. So how you prepare it can help broccoli protect you.

The best way to preserve myrosinase is to lightly steam broccoli for no more than 3 to 5 minutes. However, when making creamy broccoli soup, myrosinase is destroyed during the simmering time. But research shows that by adding a new source of myrosinase in the same meal, the sulforaphane in overcooked broccoli can be revived. That’s why we are using tiny flower buds of broccoli to garnish the soup, instead of parsley. The finely chopped broccoli buds are pretty and purposeful!

So from now on, when making broccoli soup or cooking broccoli in ways other than a short steam, save a small floret or two to trim the flower buds and sprinkle them on cooked broccoli. You’ll also be glad to know that broccoli’s beneficial fiber, other phytonutrients and minerals do survive the cooking process.

Serve this soup with a Portobello “burger” and you have a great meal. Simply sauté the large mushroom cap. Then place it on some lightly toasted multigrain bread and stack it with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and some Dijon mustard. The myrosinase in mustard also revives the sulforaphane in cooked broccoli.

Broccoli Soup

Creamy Broccoli Soup

  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chopped fresh broccoli, including stems (about 2 lbs.), set aside one floret
  • 2½ cups low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth (vegetable broth may be substituted)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional, if not used then increase broth to 3½ cups)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup low-fat feta cheese, optional


In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion and celery 4-5 minutes until softened. Add potatoes and broccoli, sauté additional 2 minutes. Add broth and milk and bring to boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

While soup is simmering, with knife trim tiny broccoli flower buds from broccoli floret and set aside.

Pour soup into blender and puree until very smooth. Divide soup in six individual serving bowls. Garnish soup with broccoli buds and feta cheese if using.

Makes 6 servings.

Per 1½ cup serving: 117 calories, 4 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrate,
6 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 157 mg sodium.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at

All active news articles