Parmesan Cheese Guide

Parmesan cheese is a delicious and distinctively flavored cheese. The salty taste pairs wonderfully with the sweet, acidic flavor of tomato sauce, which is why it is so often used in Italian cooking.

Though we tend to associate it with pasta, parmesan is much more than simply a topping for spaghetti and meatballs. It can be used in a wide variety of ways, can be found in many forms, and does have specific storage needs. Let’s take a minute to cover some basic information about this tasty cheese.

Shredded parmesan cheese on a cutting board

What Is The Difference Between Shredded and Grated Parmesan

Grated parmesan is probably what you are must accustomed to seeing and using. It is grated into a fine, almost powdery, consistency and is often used on pastas. This is also the same parmesan cheese you would see in a pizza parlour to sprinkle on your favorite pizza recipe!

Shredded parmesan is, well, shredded into thin strands. Since parmesan is such a strong hard cheese, we generally use a finer shred. It is a great garnish to Tomato Soup and of course Caesar Salad and adds a distinctive “bite” of pungent flavor and a kick of salt.

How to Choose Parmesan Cheese

Age – As parmesan ages, its fragrance and internal consistency change. Older cheeses have a creamier quality that many experts prefer. Check the pin-dot writing on the side of the wheel to ensure that it is not covered by oblique lines.

Those lines indicate that it is not actually qualified as parmigiano reggiano. If it doesn’t qualify, it has not been aged the necessary 12 months. Aging should range from 18 to 24 months for the best flavor.

Color – The cheese should be the color of straw. It can be a pale beige all the way to a deeper yellow. Color should always be uniform throughout the cheese.

How to Store Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese needs to be stored in a dry place. Slices, shreds or grated cheese that has been vacuum-packed or sealed can be stored in the refrigerator for a period of a few months (I use a Foodsaver vacuum sealer for absolutely everything). If it is NOT vacuum packed, then be sure to allow the cheese to breathe by loosely wrapping the cheese before storing it in the refrigerator. I buy cheese storage bags for more expensive cheeses (like real fresh parmesan) as they seem to keep it fresher longer and cheese is not cheap!

How Long Does Parmesan Cheese Last?

Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad? Yes, but not as quickly as standard cheese. Unopened parmesan cheese will last from 7 to 9 months in the fridge. Once opened, parmesan cheese will last for about a month.

Shredded parmesan cheese doesn’t last as long as a brick or wheel of it. The package should have a ‘use by’ label to let you know how long it lasts – about 5-7 days after being opened.

So, there you have it! A quick tutorial on an amazing and popular cheese! Now go make a delicious Italian dinner – like shrimp scampi or one pot pasta!

Our Favorite Parmesan Cheese Recipes

 

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Parmesan Cheese Shredded on a wooden board

This guide to parmesan cheese will teach you about shredded and grated parmigano, how to store it, how long parmesan cheese lasts, and how to choose a wheel or brick of parmesan cheese! #spendwithpennies #parmesancheese #cheese #parmigano #parm
This guide to parmesan cheese will teach you about shredded and grated parmigano, how to store it, how long parmesan cheese lasts, and how to choose a wheel or brick of parmesan cheese! #spendwithpennies #parmesancheese #cheese #parmigano #parm

Crispy Baked Eggplant

Crispy Baked Eggplant is a yummy snack or appetizer (and it’s great baked into our favorite Eggplant Parmesan). Tender slices of eggplant are coated in an easy seasoned breadcrumb/parmesan mixture and baked to crispy perfection!

Serve these as a side dish next to Oven Baked Chicken Breasts or alongside your favorite appetizer recipes!

Dipping baked eggplant slices into a bowl of marinara sauce

Breaded and baked eggplant slices are creamy soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, and adapt well to a variety of baked eggplant recipes and can even replace noodles in your favorite Easy Homemade Lasagna recipe! We love Meatball Subs and often made eggplant parmesan sub sandwiches using these slices in place of the meatballs!

 

How to Prepare Eggplant

Wash the eggplant and cut off both ends. There is no need to peel the eggplant in this recipe as it bakes up perfectly tender. Slice the eggplant into 1/4″ (or slightly thicker if you’d prefer) slices.

To Salt Eggplant or not to salt… this is the question! I like to salt the eggplant for this recipe as it draws out moisture (and some bitterness) making for a crispy exterior. Generously sprinkle both sides of the slices and allow to sweat for 30 minutes. The eggplant will sweat out some of the moisture.

You’ll want to give the eggplant a quick rinse to remove some of the salt but be sure to be quick so it doesn’t soak up moisture. Immediately dab them dry with a paper towel.

Salted eggplant slices on paper towels for making baked eggplant

How to Bake Eggplant

Eggplant is an easy vegetable to make and tastes great. Once cooked, the texture can become similar to a soft baked zucchini. The secret to transforming this mild tasting veggie into a savory and substantial dish is all in the prepping. To make crispy baked eggplant that your family will love:

  1. Dredge the slices by coating each one first in flour, then egg, and then breadcrumbs.
  2. Place the slices on a cookie sheet and spritz with a little bit of olive oil.
  3. Bake until soft on the inside and crispy brown on the outside.

Once baked we love to dip baked eggplant in warm Marinara Sauce or even leftover Spaghetti Sauce.

A baking pan of crispy baked eggplant topped with parsley

How Long to Bake Eggplant

Since these are thin slices of eggplant they only need about 10 minutes in a hot oven. A whole, roasted eggplant, which you would use for baba ganoush, can take much longer.

If you slice your eggplant a bit thicker, it may need a little bit of extra time to become tender.

To Freeze Baked Eggplant: You can freeze the slices for up to three or four months. Just pack them in zip lock freezer bags and remove as few or as many as you need for a quick lunch or dinner for one or two.

Try These Tasty Italian Favorites:

Baked Eggplant

Baked eggplant is a great side dish or adapts well to a variety of other baked eggplant recipes! 

  • 1.5-2 lbs eggplant (sliced 1/4 inch)
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  • 1 lemon (use only the zest of 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil (fresh)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare two baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Slice eggplant about 1/4 inch thick. Place on paper towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

  3. Whisk eggs together in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, add the flour. In a third bowl combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon zest, garlic powder and basil. Set all three bowls aside.

  4. After the eggplant has sat for 30 minutes, rinse well under cold running water well and pat dry.

  5. Dredge each slice of eggplant first in the flour, then into the egg, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture. Place each slice of eggplant on prepared parchment lined pans.

  6. Bake for 5 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 minutes more or until golden brown.

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A slice of eggplant being dipped in marinara sauce.

These baked eggplant slices are delicious! Each slice is dredged in flour, egg, breadcrumbs and  some Italian spices and parmesan! It is baked to a perfectly soft yet crispy texture, my family can't get enough! #spendwithpennies #bakedeggplant #meatlessmonday #meatlessmeal #sidedish #italiancuisine
These baked eggplant slices are delicious! Each slice is dredged in flour, egg, breadcrumbs and  some Italian spices and parmesan! It is baked to a perfectly soft yet crispy texture, my family can't get enough! #spendwithpennies #bakedeggplant #meatlessmonday #meatlessmeal #sidedish #italiancuisine

Homemade Croutons

Homemade Croutons can go on nearly anything, and everyone loves them!  Just the perfect size, flavor, and crunch, this easy garlic crouton recipe will make your mouth water and the kitchen smell great!

These homemade croutons are the perfect addition to an Italian salad and caesar salad or great to top a creamy soup (like our favorite Butternut Squash Soup).

A baking sheet with homemade croutons on it fresh from the oven.

What Are Croutons?

In an era where nothing goes to waste (doesn’t that still apply today?), croutons were made from the very last slices of bread, cut into cubes, seasoned and then baked to a crispy perfection.

Whether you are making croutons for salad or croutons for soup, pop open a can of biscuits and take the easy way out on a busy day!

Homemade crouton ingredients on a working surface like bread cubes, parsley, and onion powder.

What To Add To Croutons

Croutons are versatile, and the recipe can be changed to fit whatever you’re adding them to. Some of my favorite additions include:

  • Bread:  Sourdough, leftover rolls, stale bread
  • Dried Seasonings: Rosemary, Dried basil, Italian seasoning
  • Fresh Seasonings: Lemon zest, fresh herbs & parsley
  • Cheeses: Parmesan, cheddar

How to Make Croutons

Croutons are as easy as 1,2,3 to make and they keep well in the pantry for up to a month! To make these delicious crunchy morsels:

  1. Dice: Dice the bread into cubes and place in a bowl. You can use any kind of bread here, even leftover french bread or sliced breads will work!
  2. Toss: Toss with melted butter, seasonings and parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake: Bake until golden.

Serve on a tossed salad, greek salad, or your favorite soup or stew recipes!

Bread pieces covered in parmesan cheese and butter ready to be baked into homemade croutons

Dried Croutons will last on the counter for about a week. If you’re keeping these longer, you can freeze homemade croutons. No need to defrost first, they can be added directly to your favorite dishes and salads!

More Recipes You’ll Love

Homemade Croutons

Homemade croutons can go on nearly anything, and everyone loves them!  Just the perfect size, flavor, and crunch these are a great addition to any soup or salad.

  • 12-14 slices bread
  • 1/3 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  1. Cut bread into 3/4" cubes and place in a large bowl (or freezer bag).

  2. Pour the melted butter evenly over the bread cubes

  3. Gently toss with seasonings and cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they aren’t getting too dark.
  5. Remove and cool when they are lightly golden brown.
  6. Serve on top of a salad, soup or in a bowl as a snack!

For a lighter version, spray bread cubes with cooking spray in place of melted butter.

 

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We love making these easy homemade croutons from bread at home. They're the perfect addition to salads, or a delicious snack! #spendwithpennies #croutons #homemadecroutons #bread #saladcroutons #easycroutons #parmesancroutons

Zucchini Pancakes – Deliciously Different!

Zucchini Pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy the perfect vegetable, zucchini! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfectly delicious bites.

Serve the these veggie pancakes with a dollop of sour cream or marinara sauce for the perfect healthy appetizer or side dish!

Moist zucchini pancakes topped with salsa and fresh parsley.

Zucchini Pancakes or Fritters

I love making all types of fritters and pancakes  from Salmon cakes to mashed potato cakes. These zucchini fritters have officially joined the team.

I usually think of fritters as a crisp deep fried item, almost like hush puppies. Zucchini has a lot of moisture giving these zucchini pancakes are a texture that is a cross between a pancake and a fritter; golden and crisp on the outside and soft and tender in the middle.

Zucchini is over 90% water so in these pancakes, I pre-cook the zucchini to remove the moisture and squeeze out any remaining moisture.  Many people salt the zucchini but I prefer the method of cooking the zucchini first (along with the white onion).

Delicious zucchini fritters covered in parsley.

How To Shred Zucchini

When you make zucchini pancakes, shredding the zucchini helps to keep it thin enough to shape them. I use the large side of a standard box cheese grater to shred zucchini.

You don’t need to worry about peeling zucchini before you shred it as the peel softens a ton when it is cooked. You will hardly notice it in your dish.

A stack of delicious zucchini pancakes topped with parsley.

How To Make Zucchini Pancakes

When we make zucchini pancakes, cook the shredded zucchini first to eliminate some of the water. This keeps the pancakes from becoming soggy and helps to hold them together while they cook.

Mix your ingredients and drop about 1 ½ tablespoons into the hot pan. Cook ‘em for about 5 minutes on each side or until you see a beautiful crispy and caramelized exterior!

Serve zucchini pancakes with an array of dipping sauces like pico de gallo, sour cream, hot sauce… there’s no wrong answer here!

More Zucchini Faves

Zucchini Pancakes

These zucchini pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy this colorful vegetable! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfect zucchini pancakes. 

  • 2 large zucchini (or 3 small)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  1. Cook shredded zucchini in a non-stick pan until tender, about 5 minutes.  Cool and using cheesecloth or a tea towel, squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, seasonings, cheeses and bread crumbs. Add zucchini and egg.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium high. Drop zucchini mixture by large tablespoons into hot oil. Spread to 3″ circles.

  4. Fry about 3-4 minutes on each side flipping as needed.

  5. Serve warm with sour cream or tomato sauce.

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Zucchini pancakes piled up on each other and topped with tomato sauce

 

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These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack

Spaghetti Carbonara

This Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe is famously flavorful! Tender pasta is tossed in a delicious parmesan-egg sauce with savory panetta. The heat from the pasta cooks the sauce making for a quick and creamy dish!

Serve it with a fresh Italian Salad and Homemade Garlic Bread for the perfect Italian inspired meal!

An overhead shot of spaghetti carbonara with a wooden spoon, parmesan cheese, and pepper.

What is Spaghetti Carbonara?

Sounds fancy, right?  Spaghetti a la Carbonara is one of the easiest recipes you can make but can also make you look like a master in the kitchen. This dish adds an uncooked egg mixture to hot pasta and the heat from the pasta cooks the egg mixture making for a rich creamy sauce.

  • Pancetta adds a delicious salty flavor to this recipe (although it can be substituted with bacon)! In Italy this dish is made with guanciale (pork jowl) but it’s hard to find here so we use pancetta (from the pork belly).
  • Parmesan Cheese is common in North America (as it’s easy to find) although spaghetti alla carbonara is traditionally made with Pecorino Romano.
  • Any pasta shape will do, like fettuccine, or penne, or even rigatoni style but a classic spaghetti carbonara is traditional.

How to Make Spaghetti Carbonara

Carbonara has a creamy sauce with an egg base. The heat from the noodles cooks the eggs so it’s best of the eggs are room temperature and you have it prepared so it can be added to the hot pasta quickly!

  1. Whisk eggs, parmesan cheese and black pepper bowl and set aside.
  2. Saute the chopped pancetta (or bacon) until it is crisp.
  3. Boil the pasta until it is ‘al dente’ (not soft, but ‘to the bite which is what al dente means.’). Save one cup of the pasta water because it is starchy and you can use it to adjust the consistency of your sauce if needed. Do not rinse the pasta, the starch helps the consistency of the sauce.
  4. Quickly add the egg mixture to the hot cooked pasta. Stir in the pancetta and toss to combine. The heat from the pasta will thicken the egg. Add a bit of pasta water if needed to get the right consistency.

Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a little chopped parsley for garnish!

A close up shot of spaghetti carbonara with pancetta and green parsley.

Work Quickly for a Smooth Sauce

Remember that your pasta has to be hot to cook/thicken the egg mixture. If it’s too hot your sauce will not have a smooth consistency (so remove the pan from the heat just before tossing the egg mixture with the hot pasta).

Add a few tablespoons or so of the reserved pasta water to reach the desired consistency. Cream isn’t traditionally added to carbonara but you can add a small splash of cream if you’d like.

What Wine Goes with Spaghetti Carbonara? Spaghetti Carbonara is a rich pasta dish so the best wine pairings will always be crisp whites like Pinot Grigios or Gris. Let the full-bodied flavors of the eggs, cheese, and garlic take center stage and pair with a light, pear or citrusy flavored wine.

More Italian Favorites

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghettini carbonara features pasta in a delicious parmesan-egg sauce with savory panetta.

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 6 slices pancetta (chopped, or bacon)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Whisk eggs, parmesan cheese and black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan and add garlic. Cook 1 minute.

  3. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

  4. Place hot pasta in pan with pancetta/garlic and toss to coat. Quickly remove from heat and add egg mixture.

  5. Using tongs, mix well adding pasta water if needed. Stir in pancetta/bacon and add parsley/parmesan for garnish.

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A close up photo pf spaghetti carbonara showing creamy sauce, pasta, pancetta and garnished with fresh parsley

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Parmesan Roasted Leeks

Roasted Leeks are a tasty side dish that will elevate and enhance any savory meal from meatloaf to chicken piccata. Prep time is quick and ingredients are simple — shredded parmesan, butter, herbs and seasoning.

Roasted leeks soften and caramelize as they cook and have delicious flavor perfect served alongside Oven Baked Chicken Breasts or Salisbury steak.

What are Leeks?

Leeks are a mild-tasting member of the onion family. They grow upright in stalks instead of bulbs, and are white and light green at the bottom, darkening into a deeper green at the top. The layers are thinner than those of onions.

Also unlike onions, leeks don’t really work too well in their raw state. They need to be cooked. When they are, they become melt-in-your mouth tender and develop a surprisingly rich and mildly onion flavor. They can be used as a substitute for onion in any hot dish, like potato leek soup!

An overhead shot of leeks in a cooking dish ready to be roasted.

How to Cut Leeks

Leeks are easier to chop and handle than slippery bulb onions. For roasted leeks, you’ll want to use the white and lightest green parts (the dark green part tends to be tough). Leeks often have a lot of grit/dirt between the layers so be sure to clean them well.

To Prep Leeks:

  • Trim the root end and cut off the tough dark green tops. (You can use the tops to flavor soup stocks.)
  • Cut each stalk in half lengthwise. Fan under cold running water to dislodge any grit particles.

How to Roast Leeks

This roasted leeks recipe is so simple to prepare, and you can roast them in the same oven that you are preparing your main dish in. Here’s all you do:

  1. Place the leeks and water in a baking dish, cut side down.
  2. Simmer on the stove top for a few minutes, then drain.
  3. Flip the leeks over, add the butter and seasoning, top with the parmesan and bake until done.

Steamed leeks covered in olive oil and parmesan cheese ready to be roasted.

Another great way to serve these veggies is with potatoes – roasted leeks and potatoes are one of my favorites. If you are going this route, you’ll need to cut and prep your leeks differently:

  • After trimming the bottom and tops, cut into one-inch rounds.
  • Then swirl the slices under cold running water in a large mixing bowl to dislodge the grit.
  • Lift the leeks out with a strainer and drain well. Then, add the to the pan when making roasted potatoes!

More Roasted Veggie Favorites

Parmesan Roasted Leeks

Roasted leeks are a tasty side dish that will elevate and enhance any savory meal!

  • 4 large leeks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (shreeded)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Cut the root and dark green tops off of the leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and wash between the layers to remove any dirt/debris.

  3. Place leeks cut side down in an oven-safe pan with 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer on the stove top on low for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender.

  4. Drain any water and flip leeks over so they are cut side up.

  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with melted butter and parmesan. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until leeks are tender and golden.

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Roasted Parmesan Leeks on a parchment lined baking tray

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This easy oven roasted leeks recipe is one of our favorite side dishes ever. Parmesan roasted leeks go with just about any main! #spendwithpennies #leeks #roastedleeks #ovenroastedleeks #parmesanleeks #leek #parmesanroastedleeks

Garlic Butter Portobello Mushrooms – The perfect side dish!

Easy Portobello Mushroom recipes are a favorite for us! Portobellos pack a great rich mushroom flavor and a texture that pairs perfectly with steaks or other meats. We love them as stuffed mushrooms, grilled and used as burger buns or even included in Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic!

This side dish is easy with hearty umami flavor while the unexpected bread crumb topping makes it next level, one of the best side dishes ever! The perfect addition to anything from perfect pork tenderloin to baked chicken breasts!

Garlic Butter Portobello mushroom recipe in a frying pan

Buying Portobello Mushrooms

If you can’t find portobellos, you can always use baby ‘bellas, also known as cremini mushrooms. Portobellos are just the full grown version of cremini mushrooms. This recipe also works well with good ol’ white or brown mushrooms too!

Creminis are pack more flavor than white mushrooms. And the granddaddy of them all, the Portobello mushroom cap, reigns supreme for the fullest and most robust flavor. The larger caps are also optimal for sautéing, since they don’t hold as much water as younger mushrooms do.

cleaning the gills to prepare portobello mushrooms for a recipe

How to Clean Portobello Mushrooms

Mushrooms soak up water like sponges, so don’t wash in water (or at the very most, give a quick rinse if needed). Instead, shake off as much of the compost as possible, then wipe off any bits that remain with dampened paper towels.

Giant portabellas also have dark gills on the underside. These are perfectly edible, but will darken most dishes and make it look mucky. They can also get mushy so it’s best remove the gills by carefully scraping them away with the tip of a spoon or butter knife (baby ‘bellas don’t need the gills removed).

How to Cook Portobello Mushrooms

This sautéed portobello mushroom recipe is so delicious, you won’t believe how easy it is to make.  Remember to stir as little as possible to give the ‘shrooms a chance to get caramelized. Add salt at the end to reduce the amount of water pulled from the mushrooms.

  1. Prepare the topping by sauteing bread crumbs until golden. Set aside.
  2. Fry the the cleaned and sliced portobello mushrooms until caramelized on one side. (Be sure not to overcrowd the pan. Mushrooms give up a lot of liquid when they cook, and you don’t want your mushroom to stew or they won’t caramelize!)
  3. Stir in the butter and garlic and cook until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper and top with the breadcrumbs.

Serve and savor! Garlic has a lot of natural sugars and can burn easily causing a bitter taste.  Adding it at the very end allows it to cook in a minute or two keeping the flavor without the risk of burning it.

Best Portobello Topping

Unlike traditional fried mushrooms, this portobello mushroom recipe is topped with a crispy buttery Panko bread crumb topping (similar to what you’d top a Tuna Casserole with).  Boost the flavor even more, by adding grated Parmesan to the topping. Delish!!!

Try this dish with grilled steak, meatloaf, or any meat and potatoes meal you have planned or even spoon it over garlic bread for the perfect bite!

More Mushrooms You Can’t Resist

Garlic Butter Portobello Mushroom Recipe

Buttery portobello mushrooms with garlic and a crispy crumb topping.

  • 3 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Add 1 tablespoon butter and panko crumbs to pan over medium heat.Cook while stirring until lightly toasted. Place in a dish and set aside.

  2. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Use a spoon to scrape and gently remove the gills underneath. Slice mushrooms 1/4″ thick.

  3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add thyme and mushrooms stirring just to mix.
  4. Cook mushrooms 4-5 minutes without stirring or until caramelized one one side. Stir and continue cooking until mushrooms are cooked. Add in 1 tablespoon butter, garlic and salt & pepper to taste. Cook 1 minute more.
  5. Sprinkle Panko crumbs over mushrooms (with parmesan cheese if using) and serve.

 

Cream of Cauliflower Soup (in 30 minutes)

Cream of Cauliflower Soup is a simple 30 minute soup perfect for lunch or a light dinner meal. We serve this creamy soup when company’s coming or just for a Saturday afternoon.

Add in a side of crusty bread for dipping or some 30 Minute Dinner Rolls and a fresh crisp Italian Salad.

Cauliflower is the perfect veggie, it’s versatile and mild in flavor making it perfect for Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes or even for creating a low-carb cauliflower fried rice. It makes a great base for this mild soup recipe and is perfect paired with cream and cheeses if you’d like!

This recipe is relatively healthy and the lack of flour or starches keeps this cream of cauliflower soup keto friendly and low carb!

How to Make Cream of Cauliflower Soup

There really isn’t a lot to creating the perfect cream of cauliflower soup recipe. Simply chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces, add seasonings and let it simmer until tender. Blend and add a bit of cream.

I sometimes add cheese to this soup, both sharp cheddar and parmesan cheese work well. Remember to add the cheese at the end, once the soup is ready to serve. Cooking cheese over a high temperature can cause it to separate or become grainy. It will melt in if the soup is hot once you remove the soup from the stove.

Cream of cauliflower soup with fresh cauliflower

Blending Cauliflower Soup

Just like Roasted Cauliflower Soup, this cream of cauliflower soup is blended to a smooth consistency. I use a hand blender to make it smooth (and save on washing dishes) but you can also transfer it to a regular blender. If using a regular blender, be sure that the lid isn’t on tight as the steam and cause the blender to burst open.

For more texture remove some of the cauliflower and chop it. Blend the soup to desired consistency and once blended, add the chopped cauliflower back into the soup.

Can You Freeze Cream of Cauliflower Soup

This soup does freeze well. We place it in single serve freezer bags and label. To serve, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat until warm.

Ladling Cream of cauliflower soup in a pot

More Creamy Soups You Need in Your Life

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

A silky smooth cauliflower soup for the perfect lunch or starter.

  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 cups fresh cauliflower
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated, optional)
  1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until tender (do not brown).

  2. Add cauliflower, broth and seasonings. Simmer uncovered 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until cauliflower is tender.

  3. Blend using a hand blender until smooth. Add heavy cream and simmer an additional 8-10 minutes or until thickened.

  4. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Stir in parmesan cheese if using.

Note: For a chunky texture, remove 1 cup of cauliflower before blending and coarsely chop.

 

Creamy Cheese Sauce

This super easy Cheese Sauce recipe is a game changer in the kitchen and is way better than any store-bought kind! It’s so versatile, it can be used as a nacho cheese sauce on loaded nachos, mac and cheese sauce or even a cheese sauce for broccoli!

The kids will love this homemade cheese sauce because it goes with everything! And how much easier can it get with only a handful of ingredients? Honestly the best cheddar cheese sauce you’ve ever had.

A serving cup full of homemade cheese sauce topped with fresh black pepper with broccoli in the background.

How to Make a Roux for Cheese Sauce

The most important part of any good sauce is a ‘roux’ which is, essentially, a cooked, thickened combination of butter and flour.

This will be the base of the sauce and it only takes a few minutes to whip up! Be sure to stir it constantly and cook the flour to rid of any starchy flavor before adding the other ingredients.

Any Cheese Goes

You can use any type of cheese for this recipe based on what you’re pouring it over.

Gooey cheese sauce being poured over a bowl of steamed broccoli.

How to Make a Cheese Sauce

Here’s where it gets good! Really good! To make a cheese sauce:

  1. Cook flour and seasonings with butter to remove any floury flavor
  2. Slowly add in some milk to the roux and whisk constantly (it will be super thick). Keep adding a little at a time until it smooths out.
  3. Whisk until it reaches a boil and let bubble 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and add cheese. Whisk until smooth.

Remember to always remove from the heat before adding cheese, the milk will still be plenty hot enough to melt it. Cheese can separate or become grainy if it gets too hot.

Be sure to adjust for taste, feel free to add a splash of hot sauce or garlic powder…anything that you want!

Steamed broccoli smothered in cheese sauce.

How to Thicken Cheese Sauce

The ratio below will create a perfectly thick and cheesy sauce and shouldn’t require thickening.

The best way to thicken a cheese sauce would be to add more cheese! Who can resist a thick, creamy, savory cheese sauce perfect for making Homemade Mac and Cheese too!

Another way to thicken a cheese sauce is to add a little bit of cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and water) added a little at a time to hot cheese sauce. This method is less desirable, you do risk the cheese separating if you re-heat it too much when thickening.

More Cheese Please

Creamy Cheese Sauce

This super easy cheese sauce recipe is a game changer in the kitchen and is way better than any store-bought kind! 

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (or a pinch)
  • 1 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  2. Add milk a small amount at a time, whisking smooth after each addition.

  3. Add onion powder and white pepper.

  4. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking continually until slightly thick.

  5. Remove from heat, and add cheeses. Stir until melted.

Nutrition information is based on 1 cup of sauce.

This gooey cheese sauce is full of cheesy goodness. We love making broccoli and cheese sauce or pouring it over macaroni and cheese. This cheese sauce recipe is the best! #spendwithpennies #cheese #cheesesauce #cheesesaucerecipe #sauce #cheesesauceandbroccoli
This gooey cheese sauce is full of cheesy goodness. We love making broccoli and cheese sauce or pouring it over macaroni and cheese. This cheese sauce recipe is the best! #spendwithpennies #cheese #cheesesauce #cheesesaucerecipe #sauce #cheesesauceandbroccoli

Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup is a bowl full of comfort! Thick, cheesy, and addictive, this delicious soup simmers all day in the crock-pot and is ready to eat when you are, with just a few finishing touches.

This rich velvety soup is loaded with broccoli and lots of cheese for the perfect slow cooker soup recipe! It’s creamy, dreamy, delicious!

Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup in a bowl ready with a soup spoon

While I do love a good quick Broccoli Cheese Soup, making Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup can be a real lifesaver on those busy family days when everyone is coming and going! The crockpot is the real hero in this broccoli and cheese soup recipe because you just set it and forget it! In fact, why not put it together before work and come home to a healthy, filling dinner that everyone will love! Better yet, only one pot to wash!

How to Make Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • BROCCOLI: Be sure to properly prep the broccoli by removing the fibrous outer skin and chop into uniform pieces. Place in the crock pot and onions and chicken stock. Make sure there is enough stock to completely cover the broccoli because this will be the base.
  • COOK: Cover the crockpot and cook (on low or high) until the broccoli is tender. Add evaporated milk 30-60 minutes before serving.
  • BLEND: You can leave it chunky or puree it with a hand blender until it is smooth. Personally, I like to take some of the broccoli out and chop it, puree the remainder using a hand blender and then add the chopped broccoli back in!
  • CHEESE: Add the cheese just before serving. Dairy (including cheese) can break down and separate if cooked too long or too hot (the exception to this rule is Velveeta, it can be added a bit sooner to melt).
  • ADD-INS: This soup is versatile. We sometimes add in some chunks of processed cheese (Velveeta), a half the jar of Alfredo sauce or a few spoonfuls of pesto. Top it with bacon, add in some garlic or serve it with croutons!

A crock pot filled with broccoli and vegetables ready to make slow cooker broccoli cheese soup

Add some diced potatoes for a heartier broccoli potato cheese soup. Or leave the recipe as is and enjoy it as a low carb broccoli cheese soup! Great for a potluck!

Rich and Creamy

When pureeing the soup, remember not to put hot soup in a blender with a lid!  I used an immersion blender (hand blender) in the slow cooker.  The addition of alfredo (I used light) makes this soup extra rich and creamy!

What to Serve with Broccoli Cheese Soup?

Broccoli and cheese soup is rich, so pair it with simple sides like a crisp salad or coleslaw, some fresh fruit, or some crusty bread and croutons. Let the soup be the star of the show!

Better with Bread: This soup is terrific when served in homemade bread bowls, or with homemade buttermilk biscuits or dinner rolls on the side. It’s even better the next day!

You can freeze Broccoli Cheese Soup!  Ladle portions into Ziploc bags, label, and lay flat so when they freeze, they will stack easily and save space!

This soup is low carb so it’s a great recipe to add into your regular rotation! It’s tough to find a good broccoli cheese soup without Velveeta so don’t forget to bookmark or pin this recipe to save it!

Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

Thick, cheesy, and addictive, this delicious soup simmers all day in the crock-pot and is ready to eat when you are, with just a few finishing touches.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or stock)
  • 6 cups fresh broccoli (about 2 heads)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 2/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (shredded)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Heat butter in a small pan over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until tender, about 3 minutes. 

  2. Wash and chop the broccoli and place in the slow cooker. Add cooked onion, garlic powder, bay leaf, chicken broth, cream cheese and salt & pepper to taste.

  3. Cook on low 6-7 hours (or high 3-4 hours) or until broccoli is tender. Add evaporated milk and cook 30-60 minutes more. Discard bay leaf.

  4. Remove one cup of broccoli and coarsely chop. Puree remaining soup using a hand blender. (You can puree a bit to break up the broccoli or until completely smooth depending on preference).

  5. Add chopped broccoli back into the soup. Stir in all of the cheeses until melted.

  6. Garnish with additional shredded cheeses, or 1/2 tsp of pesto sauce.

For a thicker soup, create a cornstarch slurry by combining 2 tablespoons water with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Add a little at a time to reach desired consistency. Allow to cook an additional 10 minutes.

 

Here are a few more recipes you’ll love

* Ham & Potato Soup * Bacon Corn Chowder * Cabbage Roll Soup *