Loving the BITE: Spicy Broccoli Soup


It’s a lean, mean, green, cancer-, cholesterol-, allergy-, oxidative-stress- and inflammation-fighting-machine.  And, you’re in luck because it’s likely sitting in your refrigerator right now.

With over 300 studies to support its whole-food, nutrition power-house goodness, broccoli is a sure-fire way to improve your health. Specifically, it fights 3 cellular problem areas that can contribute to a whole host of chronic disease and health issues: chronic cellular inflammation, oxidative stress, and poor cellular detoxification.

And, it’s no surprise.  We all know broccoli is good for us.  Look at it, smell it, taste it, feel it, and it screams “healthy food.” My four-year old and two-year old know it’s healthy.  In fact, I recommend eating it at least 5 times per week, for at least 2.5 cups per week (you can bet the kids love this).  It’s that good for you.  And, this week, it’ll taste good too!

Recipe of the week: Spicy Broccoli Soup


  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb Broccoli
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions: (prep: 5 minutes, cook: 12 minutes)

  1. Bring broth to a simmer, along with crushed red pepper, over med heat.
  2. Once broth is heated, add onion and/or garlic.
  3. While broth and onion/garlic are heating, chop off tough ends of broccoli and trim off any tough edges of stalk.
  4. Add prepared broccoli to broth.
  5. Cover and simmer until veggie is tender, just about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor.  Puree soup.
  7. Return to pan and season to taste with pepper.  Thin with broth or water if too thick.
  8. Reheat until soup starts to bubble.  Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Freezes well, too!  If re-heating after thawed, reheat in microwave until warmed through.  Stir as needed.


So, what’s in it for you? Broccoli provides:

  • More Vitamin C than an orange, ounce for ounce.  Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps cyclists fight free radical build-up and oxidative stress.
  • Fiber to fight cholesterol.  While not the most of any vegetable, broccoli’s fiber, especially when steamed or slightly cooked, is great at binding the bile that can increase “bad” cholesterol in your blood stream.
  • Phytonutrients-galore!  Three specific phytonutrients, glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are found in combination in broccoli.  They support cellular detoxification (neutralization and elimination of unwanted contaminants) and contribute to the formation of isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates are special nutrients that encourage the body to produce even more phase-two detoxification CANCER-FIGHTING enzymes.  These enzymes actually disrupt potential cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to damage healthy cell DNA.
  • Vitamin A and Vitamin K.  This vitamin one-two punch actually supports adequate levels of a third important vitamin, Vitamin D.   If you’re low in vitamin D and supplementing it, like many Americans, adequate vitamin A and K will support a healthy balance of vitamin D, which in turn, contributes to overall health and wellness in many areas of the body.
  • Flavanoids such as kaempferol. In a world of ever-increasing occurrences of food and environmental allergies, kaempferol can decrease an allergen’s impact on the body.  How?  It reduces inflammation, which is a part of the body’s response to an allergen.  And as athletes, we want all the anti-inflammatory nutrients we can get!
  • And, of course, more antioxidants.  Beta-carotene and lutein are abundant in broccoli, and these antioxidants work with vitamin C to fight all those nasty cell-damaging free radicals.

To serve up enough broccoli each week, try adding it to daily salads, stir-fries, and fresh veggies packed for lunch.  Each dinner, include ½-a-plate, or 2-3 cups of vegetables (measured when fresh), in the form of fresh salads, steamed vegetables, sautéed vegetables, or healthy pureed soups like the one featured above.  And, for all you raw smoothie drinkers out there, start adding a bit of broccoli to your green smoothies – if you add a little at a time, you will likely not even taste it.  Try this detox smoothie:

Bonus Recipe – Broccoli Detox Smoothie:

  • 1 cup berries
  • ½-1 cup spinach
  • 1 small orange
  • 2 small broccoli florets (add 1 add’l small floret each time you make this smoothie to find your threshold)
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts
  • Protein: Your choice.  I recommend 10-20 grams protein from undenatured whey, Greek yogurt, soy protein, hemp seeds, or a mix.
  • 1 tsp honey or small amount of Stevia, if desired
  • Ice/water for desired consistency

Blend well and enjoy!

It’s time to step it up a notch.  More broccoli.  Less disease.  More wellness.  Less sick days.  More opportunities to get out and love the bike.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body. 

Enjoy Your Ride
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15 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Spicy Broccoli Soup ”

  1. tsoler on February 27, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    wow!i will try both the soup & the smoothie!i use maca powder in my smoothies can i use it here instead of honey??tnx for these yummy recipes!

    • Kelli Jennings on February 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks for the comment – yes, matcha will work just fine. Let us know what you think of the soup – I could eat it every night:)! Enjoy!

  2. Haley on February 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Made this last night and it is gooooood! You won’t even miss the milk or cheese!!!

    • Kelli Jennings on February 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      It is one of my all-time faves, too! And, it’s a great base recipe for other vegetable/spice combos. I’m a fan of carrots and ginger as well. So glad you liked it!

  3. Michelle K on January 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Looking forward to trying this one.

    • Kelli Jennings on February 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for your comment – I hope you’ve since tried it and liked it:). Take care!

  4. 216howard on January 13, 2012 at 3:43 am

    Always like stuff like this post freezer. Freezing intensifies the pepper!

    • Kelli Jennings on February 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Howard – Sorry I missed this comment a whole year ago. Yes, I LOVE it post freezer, too. Watch out for that pepper!

  5. Anonymous on January 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Mmm….broccoli is my very favorite veggie ever!  It’s nice to know all of its benefits.  I love it raw, and I love it steamed, and I love it in soup!  

    We are trying the quinoa burgers this week, so I’ll have to add this soup to next weeks list.  
    Thanks for another yummy recipe, Kelli!  

  6. Karen on January 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I just added both of these to my recipes folder on the computer.  I’ll be sure to try them soon.  Please keep the healthy recipes coming.

    • Kelli on January 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Awesome, Karen – we’ll keep ’em coming.  Let us know what you think of them!  Kelli, RD

  7. Jackie on January 12, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Is it necessary to eat broccoli 4 or 5 times per week in order to obtain the benefits it has to offer?

    • Kelli on January 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Hi Jackie,
      It’s not necessary to eat this amount for many of broccoli’s benefits.  However, many of the anti-cancer benefits seem to be dose-dependent, with 2.5-3 cups/weeks as a common threshold.  In fact, some of the studies show greater benefits with an intake closer to 7 cups per week – that’s a lot of broccoli.  Like with most super-healthy vegetables, the more the merrier.  At the same time, variety is hugely important with nutrition, so it’s important to get a lot of different vegetables in your diet.  All this said, eat as much broccoli as you can (or would like), as well as other high-nutrient vegetables.  I hope this helps!  Kelli, RD 

  8. Patrick on January 12, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Once again, it is nice to learn of the benefits of the foods you provide the recipe for.  I eat a lot of broccoli but only knew about a few of it’s benefits.  Thanks for two good looking recipes that I will try out for sure.

    • Kelli on January 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Hi Patrick,
      Thanks for your comment.  The soup recipe tastes even better than it sounds…it’s a go-to recipe in my kitchen, especially on cold winter days!  Enjoy!  Kelli, RD


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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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