The Cottage Smallholder

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Recipe for leftovers: broccoli, cauliflower and Stilton soup

Photo shows a bowl of steaming soup made from leftover Stilton, cauliflower and broccoli. Yum!

Photo: Steaming bowl of soup made by recipe for leftover Stilton cheese, broccoli stalks and cauliflower

A few years ago I woke up one night. I could hear a loud crunching coming from the bottom of my giant 100 year old bed.

What on earth could it be?

I hastily groped for the light switch and discovered that Inca, our youngest Min Pin, was gnawing a head of broccoli. She had stolen the head from the kitchen and dragged it upstairs. Inca loves vegetables and often thieves from the pig bin but this was the first time that she had stolen from the vegetable basket. I was too tired to take it from her. In the morning I was surprised to find that she had eaten the stalk and left the prized florets.

Back then we used to throw the stalks away but from that point on they were recycled as dog treats. Since we discovered that they make a great base for soup, Inca hardly gets a look in these days.

I made a cauliflower and broccoli cheese for supper this week. And was left with a large handful of cooked florets that couldn’t fit into the dish. I’d sliced and simmered the stalks of both vegetables in the base of the steamer. So soup seemed a good option. Incidentally, I now steam the florets for cauliflower/broccoli cheese. I don’t know why but steamed florets taste so much better than ones simmered in water and of course the stalks can be cooked at the same time.

Cooked stalks might be nutritious but they certainly don’t look appetising. So secrete them at the back of the fridge if you are going to make soup for someone that you live with. Unless of course you fancy a surprise takeaway – then leave them in a saucepan and wait for the lid to be lifted.

The handful of florets, leaves and stalks made enough soup for four hungry people. It was delicious and basically made out of leftovers and scraps that could easily have just been thrown away. The Stilton was found lurking in the fridge.

Skinflint broccoli, cauliflower and Stilton soup

Make and enjoy a large cauliflower and broccoli cheese, reserving a large handful of cooked florets. Slice and cook the broccoli and cauliflower stalks and cook at the same time. Reserve these in their water.

I large handful of cooked florets
The cooked leaves and stalks from one head of cauliflower and one head of broccoli
2 tsp of vegetable stock powder (I use Marigold)
Half a tsp of garlic granules
Some of the water that the stalks and leaves were cooked in
100g of creamy stilton cheese
Ground white pepper to taste
Sprinkle of parsley to serve

Blitz the stalks with a stick blender and enough vegetable water to make this possible. Add the florets, more vegetable water and blitz again, we prefer the florets to be a bit chunkier in this soup. Ideally this soup should be thick so add the vegetable water gradually until you have a good consistency.
Add the vegetable stock powder, garlic granules and crumbled Stilton cheese and stir until the cheese has melted into the soup. Season well with freshly ground white pepper, dress with a sprinkle of parsley and serve in warm bowls.

Prepare for tumultuous applause when your guests discover exactly what they have just eaten.

Other skinflint soup recipes that may be of interest:
Cauliflower soup with blue cheese and orange zest
Broccoli and watercress soup
Broccoli stalk, last weeks courgettes and post Christmas Stilton soup
Delicate cauliflower leaf and pecorino cheese soup

  Leave a reply


  1. Kell Smurthwaite

    This is one of my favourite soups – and surprisingly, ti’s my 3-y-o son’s favourite too! He’s forever asking for “Mummy’s green cheesy soup” for lunch – LOL! 🙂

  2. michelle in wellington, nz

    I too peel and slice the stems but they seldom make it into the cooking and they are the most delicious part!

  3. Ruthdigs

    Do you peel the stalks Fiona?
    Sounds lovely and I love broccoli stalk but have always peeled it in the past.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Ruthdigs

      No I don’t peel the stalks, just chop off the dry end and slice lengthwise

  4. robin wood

    Looks great. I think we often eat with our eyes and the lovely golden colour and sprinkled parsley look gorgeous. I often make stilton and broccoli soup which tastes good but mine comes out a sort of insipid green. I’ll try this.

  5. Trim the woody sides away with a knife, cut off the very bottom, then cut the rest into cubes and steam with the florets. I’ve always done this.

  6. I’m with those who enjoy eating the raw stems, but I do also save them for stir-fries. The soup sounds delicious too.

  7. The peeled stalks rarely make the steamer in my house – they are cooks perks!! I absolutely love the peppery crunch of them as a pre-dinner nibble. Same with cauli stalks. YUM!

    If they DO escape my greedy jaws, I slice mine about the thickness of a pound coin and steam along with the florets. Even when cooked I prefer the stalks to the florets in all honesty.

  8. Frogdancer

    “Surprise take away”… made me smile!

  9. Richard @ Eco Friendly Living Advice

    I have to admit this soup looks pretty darned good! Think I might just have to give it a bash this weekend!

  10. Fuss Free Helen

    the insides of the peeled stalks are a highly prized delicacy in my kitchen. I only discovered just how good they are recently.

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