The Easiest One-Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

The Easiest One Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

Every home cook needs a good broccoli cheese soup recipe in their collection. And while there are a lot of good recipes out there, I have to admit that I have a problem with most of them. Because most of them call for making a roux or béchamel sauce in a separate pan AND THEN adding it to the bubbling pot of broccoli and broth to thicken up. That’s two dirty pots for one soup. I believe soup should be easier than this.

The Easiest One Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

And this soup is kind of stupidly easy. It takes all of 20 minutes to make start to finish, it dirties exactly one pot, and it tastes better than ninety-nine percent of the restaurant versions I’ve tried.

I remove the need for an extra pan by using a flour slurry to thicken the soup instead of making a roux. Slurries thicken just as well in my opinion, and if you pass it through a little strainer on it’s way into the soup, there won’t be any lumping issues.

Also, you should know that while I like to use 100% sharp cheddar in my broccoli cheese, you can certainly feel free to mix your cheeses, use up whatever is in your fridge, or even add (gasp) American cheese if you want it to taste extra rich (and Panara-ey).

The Easiest One-Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
makes 6-8 servings

-1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
-2-3 tablespoons butter
-2-3 carrots, diced small or coarsely grated
-1-2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
-6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth), with 1/2 cup reserved for the slurry
-1 lb bag frozen broccoli
-6 tbsp flour
-1/4 tsp mustard powder
-pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you’re feeling feisty)
-1/2 cup heavy cream (or you can omit the cream and replace 2 cups of broth with regular milk)
-1 8oz brick sharp cheddar cheese, grated
-salt and white or black pepper, to taste


1. In a large soup pot, sweat onion and carrot in butter over medium low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

2. Add chicken broth and entire bag of broccoli. Simmer over medium heat until the broccoli is tender.

3. In a bowl with a whisk (or a small container with a lid) combine flour with reserved broth and whisk or shake until very, very well mixed (this is the slurry).

4. While the soup is bubbling, whisk the flour and broth into the soup. If the slurry is even a little bit lumpy, you can strain the slurry into the soup and prevent ending up with a lumpy soup. Stir in the slurry, bring the soup back to a bubble, and allow it to thicken for a couple of minutes. If you’d like your soup thicker, you can add another 1-2 tablespoons of flour using the same method (cold broth, mixed well, strained into the soup).

5. Add mustard powder, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that the cheese will add a bit of salt to the soup too.

6. Stir in your cream and let the soup come back up to a bubble, then turn off the heat.

7. A handful at a time, whisk in the shredded cheese (off the heat to prevent curdling the cheese) until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth. Taste the soup and add salt, pepper, or cayenne as you like.

  1. Made this today and it was delicious! I just used fresh instead of frozen broccoli.

    Suzanne Carroll — January 31, 2016
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Winter Salad with Citrus and Avocado

Winter Salad With Citrus and Avocado

I am waiting on a blizzard. My little corner of the country is expected to get about a foot of snow (maybe more, maybe less) over the next two days. I ran out for some batteries and chipotle last night (last chance to not cook for who knows how long) and the traffic itself was grumpy and panicked. I got my fill of people for the next few days, and I’m stocked and ready to hole up with hot beverages and maybe a billion bowls of pasta. I also have plenty of clementines to stave off scurvy for as long as necessary. I’m ready.

This is my favorite salad to serve with dinner in the winter. It’s so bright and pretty and seasonal and the opposite of a blizzard. I’ve done almost the exact same flavor combination before, in a pretty ombre citrus salad without greens, but I feel like I need to remind people that it is a thing: citrus with onions and toasted almonds (and salt and pepper). It’s probably the weirdest flavor combination ever created but I tell you, it mystically and gorgeously works.

Winter Salad With Citrus and Avocado

I didn’t come up with it myself either. My grandma has been serving green salad with orange supremes, onion, and slivered toasted almonds (and sometimes a dash of dill) to me almost my entire life. Maybe it’s one of those vintage flavor combinations that have somehow been forgotten along the way, but I’ve been enjoying it since I can remember, and I want YOU to enjoy it too.

Winter Salad With Citrus and Avocado

I miss tomatoes this time of year, especially in salads. Don’t you?? They bring a juicy, acidic heft to green salads that winter tomatoes just can’t muster. So how ’bout listening to the seasons and swapping dry and mealy winter tomatoes for tart hunks of citrus?

And grapefruits! Did you know that salt works to magically counter-act the bitterness in grapefruits? I’m telling you, grapefruit never tasted as amazing as it does when you throw it in this savory salad. I don’t even usually like fruit in salads AT ALL, but citrus plays with the savory flavors here really really well. I promise. Indulge me and try it.

And also cross your fingers that I don’t lose power in this blizzard so I can still make hot foods (and watch netflix…and not freeze to death). K thx.

Winter Salad With Citrus and Avocado


Winter Salad with Citrus and Avocado
Makes 3-4 servings

1 Tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
salt and black pepper to taste
1 grapefruit (or sub any citrus you like)
2-3 clementines (feel free to sub your favorite)
about 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 avocado
about 1/4 cup almonds, toasted (whole, sliced, slivered, all are good)
about 4 cups or 1 bag of your favorite salad greens (you can stretch this to feed more people with a bit more greens)


1. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, honey, and a good pinch of salt with a generous grind of pepper. This is a small amount of dressing for a pretty voluminous salad, but the dressing is STRONG (note the 1:1 ratio of vinegar to oil) and will be mellowed out by the liquid the citrus gives off.

2. Thinly slice your onion and let it sit in the bottom of the bowl with the dressing to marinate and soften while you do the rest of the chopping and slicing.

3. If your almonds aren’t already toasted, put them in a small glass bowl in the microwave for a minute. Stir and microwave for another minute. Continue stirring and microwaving in 30-60 second bursts until the almonds are lightly browned and fragrant. Allow to cool and chop roughly.

4. Remove the outer peels from the grapefruit and clementines (or whatever citrus you chose) and slice into rounds or remove each section from the fruit with a knife.

5. Add your greens to the salad bowl and toss to coat with dressing. If the greens you are using are of the soft and fluffy variety (spinach, spring mix, baby kale, arugula) consider squishing the greens a little bit while you toss them. This mellows out the flavors a bit, causes the greens to wilt, and makes it easier to eat a heaping ton of greens, which is good. If you are using romaine or iceberg, skip this step. I like to use a mix of both soft and crunchy lettuce, massaging the soft greens and then gently tossing in the crunchy lettuce (pictured is a crispy butter lettuce and radicchio mix with some massaged baby kale).

6. Peel and slice your avocado into chunky wedges. Add to the salad bowl along with the citrus and gently toss together until everything is lightly coated in dressing.

7. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve and top with toasted almonds.

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Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado, Hummus and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

Vegan Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

So this bowl is vegan by accident. When I decided I wanted to make a veggie-centric hearty yet healthy power bowl, I chose the components that I thought would make it as delicious as possible. Turns out, sometimes maximum deliciousness doesn’t involve meat or cheese (or French fries) at all. Who knew?

Vegan Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

Also, have you ever had hummus warm? And as a component of a dinner rather than a dip? If not, I recommend that you do. It’s really delicious and richly comforting. Homemade hummus is my favorite (by far) but if you don’t have it on hand and there’s a store bought hummus you like, use it (and tell me which one it is because I need a fix for lazy days). I don’t recommend trying to make hummus from scratch on the same night as you make these bowls. You could, but it feels ambitious to me, and I think if anything healthy eating needs to be brought down to earth. Leave your ambitions at work or the gym or someplace more glamorous than your kitchen.

Vegan Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

It looks like there is a lot going on in here, but the prep for the recipe is pretty simple. Especially if you have a Trader Joe’s near you where you can pick up a bag of pre-chopped butternut squash and a box of frozen quinoa (removing as many roadblocks as possible makes weeknight cooking less daunting). From there it’s just about slicing an avocado, chopping an onion and some peppers, timing the roasted veggies, and zapping a few things in the microwave.

Vegan Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

Pretty colors, huh? This recipe takes about an hour to put together, with 15 minutes of that time actually actively cooking. It’s filling, comforting, rainbow-licious (??(sure)), amazingly flavorful, and somehow magically vegan.

Vegan Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado, Hummus, and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
Makes 2 big bowls


1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into about 1″ cubes (or get some pre-diced from TJ’s or Wegmans or wherever)
1 medium red onion
1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper (or a handful of mixed baby peppers like I used here)
2 cups quinoa, cooked (or a bag of frozen quinoa)
4 cups fresh arugula, spinach, or baby kale
1 small avocado
1 cup of your favorite hummus
olive oil, for roasting
salt and pepper
chopped parsley, for garnish

Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste

1. Start by preheating your oven to 400F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced butternut squash in a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes (it will take a full hour for it to get nice and caramelized and delicious, but the squash needs a head start on the peppers and onions).

2. While the squash roasts, roughly dice peppers, cut onion into chunky wedges, and set aside.

3. If you are cooking quinoa from scratch, start the pot now. Follow the directions on the bag to end up with two cups of cooked quinoa, and don’t forget to add salt. If you are cooking quinoa from frozen, wait until assembly time.

4. In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl (big enough to toss your baby greens of choice in) make your vinaigrette. Mix together olive oil, garlic, and smoked paprika and microwave for 30 seconds. When the paprika and garlic are warm and fragrant, add honey, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Take out 2-3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette for topping finished bowls, and pile your 4 cups of greens in the large bowl, but wait to toss them until you are ready to plate.

5. When the butternut squash has roasted for 30 minutes, take the pan out of the oven, toss the squash around and scoot it all to one side of the pan. Lay out your peppers and onion wedges on the other side, add salt and pepper, and return the pan to the oven for another 30 minutes.

6. When the vegetables are tender and nicely caramelized, you’re ready to start assembling bowls. Start by microwaving your frozen quinoa (if that’s what you are using). Then load about a half cup of hummus in each bowl and microwave them for 45 seconds each. Add a scoop of quinoa next to the hummus.

7. Toss the greens in their bowl with the paprika vinaigrette. I like to squish the greens a bit for this, so they soften and wilt. You get a lot more greens on your plate that way, plus they are easier to eat (and more delicious in my opinion).

8. Pile the roasted veggies on top of the bed of hummus/quinoa/greens you just made. Then finish the bowls by slicing up your avocado and arranging on top, drizzling everything with the reserved vinaigrette, and topping with a bit of chopped parsley (if you’re into that).

  1. […] next: Power bowls with quinoa, avocado, hummus, and smoked paprika vinaigrette. Stay […]

    Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette | Sweet Salty Tart — January 18, 2016
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  2. That looks really good! Shortcuts are so helpful when you can't spend too much time in the kitchen. Frozen diced onion is my favorite shortcut.

    Amy — January 18, 2016
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  3. […] bowl with smoked paprika vinaigrette // HERE // […]

    Easy and Delicious: Buddha Bowls - Nibs & Bits — July 11, 2016
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  4. […] Es ist wirklich das schönste Gefühl dann nach ein paar Tagen Dreh nach Hause zu kommen und sich erstmal wieder etwas Schönes zu Kochen oder zu Backen. Für mich ist „Comfort Food“ ein richtig schöner Salat mit Avocado, Hummus, Quinoa oder Hirse, Spinat, Roter Bete, Kürbis und einem heißem Paprika-Dressing … hach  ( – wer sowas mal ausprobieren und nachkochen mag, hier gibt es meine beiden Lieblingsrezepte: The Vegan Buddha Bowl und Quinoa Power Bowl) […]

    Aber bitte ohne Sahne! ⋆ Kleine graue Wolke — December 2, 2016
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Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

Smoked Paprika VinaigretteI’m in California! We are visiting Cody’s family, and eating lots of good food, and I have instagrammed exactly one photo of my travels because family distracts me better than anything. But this vinaigrette is important, so here I am blogging for you.

Smoked paprika is almost kind of trendy I think. Reminds me of tapas at restaurants where the plates are deceptively cheap (only 8 dollars per plate!) but the servers recommend 3-4 per person. So I’m inclined to be annoyed by the association, but smoked paprika is legitimately good. It has kind of an in-your-face flavor that pairs well with other in-your face flavors, like garlic and vinegar. So we naturally come to this vinaigrette, which is very good on many things and also happily vegan. Honestly it is rare for a vinaigrette to not be vegan, but the smoke in this paprika reads deceptively rich and maybe almost meaty? Without the mouth coating fattiness of actual smoked meat.

Smoked Paprika VinaigretteI made this vinaigrette specifically for a really awesome power bowl that will be coming at you very soon (like probably tomorrow) and it completely makes the bowl. I was inspired to create it as sort of a Nando’s Piri Piri hummus with paprika drizzle tribute (spoiler: the power bowl has hummus). So it goes awesomely with hummus, but also with greens of all kinds, avocado, and roasted winter squashes. So I recommend making a batch and using it liberally.

Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

Makes enough for 2 power bowls or one big salad


2 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced or grated

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (more is ok if you are a smoked paprika freak, just taste before you go crazy)

2 tsp honey

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

black pepper to taste


1. In a small glass bowl, combine olive oil, paprika, and garlic.

2. Microwave the olive oil, paprika, and garlic for 30 seconds to bring out the flavors in the paprika and garlic.

3. Add honey, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk well to combine.

4. Use as a salad dressing, hummus topping, or marinade for grilled or roasted veggies or meat.

Up next: Power bowls with quinoa, avocado, hummus, and smoked paprika vinaigrette. Stay tuned!

  1. […] Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette: 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced or grated 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 2 tsp honey 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 1/2 tsp kosher salt black pepper to taste […]

    Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado, Hummus and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette | Sweet Salty Tart — January 18, 2016
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  2. yum! I crave that drizzle on the hummus at nando's. totally making this!

    emily — January 23, 2016
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Millionaire Shortbread Bars – UPDATED!

Millionaire Shortbread Bars - Updated

Millionaire Shortbread Bars with Maldon sea salt: the homemade (by me!) favors for my little sister’s wedding.

Before I dive into this, I just want to say that having a cold while pregnant is real lame. I miss sleep. Also, not being allowed a proper adult amount of caffeine to compensate for the lack of sleep is…inconvenient. And then add to that the fact that I normally require amphetamines to organize my thoughts well enough to be helpful and coherent (prescription, because I have ADD) and drugless pregnant brain slugs. My brain is slugs. Writing this post feels like climbing a mountain with Murdock on my back. While pregnant.

But I have something to say and it feels important because it contains updates and corrections and I feel guilty because it means the information I previously provided is flawed.

My sister got married after Christmas and I made the wedding favors. 200 bags of these bars. Have you ever made a recipe dozens of times without any problems and then one day they go wrong? It pulls the rug out, shatters the confidence, but as a silver lining learns us a thing or two. That’s what happened to me with these “easy millionaire shortbread bars” that I had previously written about. And while they are probably still easy by most standards, I’ve come out with a newfound respect for them and some tips for success. So here you go.

Millionaire Shortbread Bars - Updated

First of all, I don’t see any point making a normal sized batch of these anymore. If you are going to saddle up and make a mess in the kitchen, make a double batch using a half sheet or jelly roll pan. Take extras to work, stick them in the fridge for later, or give them out as gifts. Everyone will love you.

Always line the pan thoroughly with aluminum foil. Heavy duty or nonstick are my favorites. Make sure the foil extends around the edges of the pan too, so you can lift the bars out easily.

For the shortbread: add more butter than I suggested in the original recipe. It makes it easier to work with and ever so slightly less crumbly. If you have a food processor make the shortbread with it. And lastly, bake the crust until it’s solidly golden brown (at least 20 minutes, possibly 30)

On the caramel: I experimented with shortcuts and long cuts (like letting it sit in a crock pot for hours on end) and there’s just no nice way to do it. Get ready to stir for a solid 30 minutes, and wear rubber gloves because getting spit on by hot molten sugar and fat hurts like the dickens. Don’t wait to melt the butter into the caramel until the end (like I originally suggested), add it at the beginning.

Cook the caramel over medium-low instead of medium (it will spit at you less but take slightly longer to finish), stirring occasionally until it starts to brown, then stir constantly until it’s nice and brown and thick (see below). You want the texture to be sticky and ribbony with slowly popping bubbles. If you are a candy maker, the mid pot temperature range is between 219-222 F (that’s kind of between firm and hard ball) and the bottom of the pot is around 240 F (that’s soft crack stage). I’m guessing that means the finished product is some kind of hard ball soft crack hybrid, but I don’t know candy, so someone tell me please. Salt the caramel well and taste it (carefully!) before you pour it over the shortbread.

Millionaire Shortbread Bars - Updated

For chocolate: Use chips. Chips contain stabilizers and because I’m not a chocolate expert and I don’t want to bother with tempering, I need the extra help. The biggest failed experiment I had was when I used bar chocolate instead of chips and the chocolate had this awful crumbly sandy texture and I still don’t understand why. Melt the chocolate gently in a glass bowl over a small pot of water on medium low heat, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water below. Set the bowl on a towel before pouring it over the caramel (getting water in melted chocolate will cause it to break and get grainy almost immediately). Then allow the chocolate to set a bit at room temperature before you stick the whole slab of bars in the fridge. I salted the bars for the wedding with Maldon salt before letting them cool, and it tasted good and looked pretty but I think I was tempting fate by possibly drawing moisture out of the chocolate? So salt the chocolate at your own risk (it was delicious though).

So have I scared you out of making these? I really don’t mean to! Honestly even the batches I considered “failures” were gobbled up by my family. I’ve literally only screwed these up badly once (the crockpot caramel and crumbly chocolate incident which was not served to wedding guests), and it was because I was over thinking them. It’s hard to truly fail with a recipe that contains this much butter. The bars pictured were even the messiest, cracked-chocolate-est bars of wedding batches bunch (some were actually pretty) and they were delicious and everyone loved them. I think I’ve just become a bit better attuned to the nuances of texture and flavor after making so many of these bars, so I’m pickier than I used to be. THE MORE YOU KNOW (picture rainbow and book logo here).

Millionaire Shortbread Bars - Updated

So you guys, if anyone makes these and has feedback for me, pretty please let me know. As you can see, I’m open to criticism and making improvements as often as necessary.

NEW AND IMPROVED Millionaire Shortbread Bars


For the shortbread:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks salted butter, cut into small cubes

For the caramel:
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp light corn syrup (use a 1/4 cup measure and fill it one and a half times)
2 sticks salted butter, cubed
more salt to taste (I used at least an extra 1/2 teaspoon)

For the chocolate:
2 cups of your favorite chocolate chips (I like a blend of Ghirardelli bittersweet and semi sweet)


1. Start by making the shortbread. If you have a food processor, add all the ingredients to the bowl and pulse until well combined and all the butter looks evenly sandy. If you don’t have a food processor, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt, and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter.

2. Line your half sheet or jellyroll pan with aluminum foil (making sure all the edges are well covered) and press in the shortbread mixture. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes or until solidly golden brown.

3. Put on some gloves. In a 2 quart sauce pan over medium-low heat, combine ingredients for caramel. Whisk occasionally until the mixture starts to brown, then whisk constantly until the caramel is thickened substantially, is sticky and ribbony when you lift your whisk and bubbles that show up pop slowly. This process will take about 30 minutes, but I promise it’s worth it.

4. Pull out a spoonful of caramel, let it cool, and taste it. Add salt if necessary (you want the caramel to be the main sweet/salty component). Pour the finished caramel over the baked shortbread and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula or knife.

5. Rinse out the saucepan you used for the caramel and add an inch of water to the bottom (resourceful!). Set a glass mixing bowl on top of the pan with your two cups of chocolate chips. Stir the chocolate until it is melted. Remove the bowl to a towel to dry the bottom.

6. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and spread it evenly. I find it helpful to shake the pan back and forth or drop it on the counter from about six inches in the air to help work the bubbles out of the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to come to room temperature before chilling in the fridge. If you have time, you can let the bars cool entirely at room temperature and skip the fridge.

7. After the bars are set, remove them from the fridge (if that’s where you put them) and let them come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes (this makes the chocolate less likely to crack during cutting, though frankly who cares?). Cut into bars and serve them up!


  1. These bars are phenomenal. Thank you for going the extra mile for your sister's wedding and perfecting the recipe for the rest of us in the process. <3

    Carrie — January 6, 2016
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  2. […] UPDATE: This recipe has been updated here! […]

    Easy Millionaire Shortbread | Sweet Salty Tart — January 6, 2016
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