Cream of Broccoli & Carrot Soup ♥ Recipe

Cream of Broccoli & Carrot Soup, fresh broccoli plus carrot for color and sweetness, made creamy with evaporated milk. For Weight Watchers, #PP3. #AVeggieVenture
graphic button small size size 10 Today's broccoli soup recipe: A creamy broccoli and carrot soup, broccoli for good health, carrot for a little color and sweetness. The soup uses evaporated milk for creaminess so I thought I'd take a look at the calorie and nutrition differences between canned milk and fresh milk. graphic button small size size 10

Vegetable soups are a staple in my kitchen so no surprise that over the years, I have collected a veritable "stable" of soup recipes. (Wanna check the size of said stable? Check the Kitchen Parade soup recipes and A Veggie Venture soup recipes.) I love the soups that are full-full of all kinds of vegetables, so much so that I created a master recipe, Master Recipe: How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup, it's never the same twice and includes soooo many tips about extracting flavor the vegetables. But I also like the soups that star just a single vegetable, here it's broccoli but I've added carrot for a little color and sweetness.

EVAPORATED MILK Do you keep evaporated milk (aka "canned milk") in your pantry? I do! We love it with our morning coffee! (And ummmm, yes, we do occasionally run out of regular milk and aren't big fans of black coffee. In fact, I'm on the lookout for a small lidded pitcher that would make it easy to keep evaporated milk in the fridge for a few days, covered but easily pourable.) Evaporated milk is milk with about 60% of the water removed, so concentrates the milkiness and adds an extra-milky flavor (without added volume) to soups, puddings, etc. (Please know, evaporated milk is "not" the same as "sweetened condensed milk" which is thick-thick-thick and sweet-sweet-sweet.) So I thought I'd take a look at the nutrition differences between evaporated milk and regular milk, to help us make smart choices. Here's what I found (data details below):

graphic button small size size 10 Cup for cup, evaporated milk is equivalent to half & half calorie-wise but has twice the protein, twice the sodium and half the fat. That makes it a "good" substitute for recipes that call for half & half unless your diet calls for reduced sodium.
graphic button small size size 10 Non-fat evaporated milk has 1/3 more calories than whole milk but more than twice the protein. This makes it a good milk substitute for people looking to increase their protein intake, not so much for drinking per se but in soup recipes, say. Or morning coffee!
graphic button small size size 10 What do you think of these assessments and my reasoning? Is evaporated milk on your radar? How do you use it? Or do you avoid it entirely because it comes from a can? I'd love to know what you think!


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 10 cups

4 cups stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, trimmed and cut into big pieces
2 pounds fresh broccoli, trimmed, cut into rough pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
0 - 3 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 cups (a 12-ounce can) evaporated milk
Carrot ribbons, optional garnish

MAKE SOUP. In the microwave, heat stock until it boils. This step can be skipped if you're in no hurry but if you are in a hurry, it really helps move things along.

In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil on medium high, drop in onion and carrot as they're prepped, let cook, stirring occasionally until onions begin to turn color. Don't just "sweat" the onions to barely cook them, you want to see golden color, this is the sign that real flavor is developing. Add the broccoli, thyme and salt, stirring to coat with fat, let cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Add stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer, let cook until broccoli is cooked but still bright green, about 15 minutes. With an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth.

THICKEN WITH CORNSTARCH In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and about 1/4 cup of the evaporated milk, just until the cornstarch is absorbed into the milk. Stir into the soup, add the remaining milk. Bring back to temperature but do not allow to boil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

SERVE Serve in bowls topped with a simple garnish, just carrot ribbons.

LEFTOVER REPORT Keeps several days without becoming "skunky" and reheats quickly in the microwave.

graphic button small size size 10 STOCK We use No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock because it's on hand and full of flavor. But a good vegetable stock would work too, so would a good commercial stock, my favorite is Better Than Bouillon. (Note to Vegetarians)
graphic button small size size 10 CARROT PREP When you pay attention, you'll find that there are "seasons" even for grocery store carrots. For a few months beginning in mid-summer, the carrots appear fresh and clean, the skins aren't at all mottled. During these months, it's easy to just trim off the leaf end (that's where the carrot greens once were) but there's no need to peel the carrots. But other times of the year, the carrots come in rougher shape, you probably do want to peel them. If you're going to use carrot ribbons for garnish, you'll want to cut the ribbons with a carrot peeler before cutting the carrots into chunks. Drop into a small bowl of water to keep hydrated.
graphic button small size size 10 BROCCOLI PREP If the broccoli is good quality, the stalk skins may be quite tender but if they seem tough, you might want to do a little knife surgery, cutting off the toughest parts. Do remember that the soup will be puréed so that will help too.
graphic button small size size 10 SALT How much salt to add always takes consideration, based on both your own taste and the saltiness of your stock. If you're using homemade stock, chances are good it might be not-at-all salty or might be slightly salty (mine is usually "slightly salty" since it starts with a rotisserie chicken); this means you'll need to add more salt. If you're using a commercial stock, chances are it's very salty and you'll need to add less salt, if any at all. I usually start with a teaspoon of salt with the broccoli, so that the broccoli and carrots themselves are seasoned as they cook. Then at the end, after the evaporated milk is added, I taste the soup and decide whether to add more salt.
graphic button small size size 10 IMMERSION BLENDER This is such a handy kitchen tool! I use this immersion blender, it comes with a couple of other attachments which get used often too. But an immersion blender is especially good for soup because you can purée the soup right in the pot, no need to dirty the blender or food processor!

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~ How To Steam Broccoli (Step-by-Step Photos) ~
~ Lemony Broccoli with Lemon Vinaigrette ~
~ Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Power Food Broccoli Salad ~
~ Quick Broccoli Soup ~
~ Smashed Potatoes & Broccoli ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

A Veggie Venture is home of 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2015

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Canned milk (evaporated) is so good in coffee, I agree.
    Very interesting facts on your milk comparison. In Canada we can get "2%" canned milk.
    I like it, not as rich as whole milk but way better than fat free. I am guessing you have it as well. The figures are probably somewhere in the middle. Going to make this soup for Saturday lunch.

  2. Really interesting post! We use condensed milk all the time (in sweet things, particularly ice cream) but rarely use evaporated milk. In fact I can't remember the last time I did. I need to look into this -- I can see it has some real virtues I've overlooked. You might want to check a restaurant supply house for a small lidded pitcher -- health codes often require restaurants to serve milk/cream in something with a cover, and I know I've seen them there (in basic stainless). Anyway, really nice soup -- and it's cold today, so soup definitely beckons.

  3. I love evaporated milk and keep it in the pantry in case we run out of regular milk or if a recipe calls for it. I even drink it if there is just a bit left and I don't want to put it back in the fridge. Thank you for your research. I will probably use it more often now that I know the facts. My only concern is taste as my husband doesn't share my affinity. However, I'll take it slow and maybe he won't notice.

  4. Anonymous ~ Thanks for the tip re the 2% canned milk, I’ll look for it! Hope the soup turned out well for you!

    Kitchen Riffs ~ Thanks for the tip re the pitcher, I love that so many have noticed that small detail!

    SB ~ That’s so funny, I don’t think I’ve ever even sipped evaporated milk, next time I’ll try it! I was kind of impressed by the nutrition details too, I’m glad they are meaningful to you as well.


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