Dreamy Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
There is nothing more nostalgic to me than broccoli paired with cheese and this Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup is the definition of comfort food. As a kid I loved broccoli, and to this day, it’s a tried and true veggie for me. It’s one of few vegetables I can genuinely say I enjoy raw, plain, simply steamed, no seasoning. It’s just such a versatile veggie that’s easily found at most grocery stores and at an affordable price, too!
Now, if you’ve never had a Broccoli Cheese Soup before, it’s a rich and cheesy soup, usually made with cheddar and chunky or blended pieces of broccoli in it. Panera, an American classic chain, is infamous for its broccoli cheese soup and while I can’t say I’ve ever tried it myself, I can say with confidence this vegan version is just as, if not more delicious. I’ve asked my cheese loving, Panera regular friend to taste test it and she gave it a two thumbs up!
This is a hearty soup that’s great for chillier weather, to serve alongside a soup and salad (if you want the true fast casual lunch deal vibes) and to get your veggies in. It’s veggie packed, 100% dairy free and both nutritious and delicious. This Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and grain free with oil free and nut free options.
What’s in this Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup?
To make this soup you’ll only need 10 ingredients (plus a few optional spices)!
- Broccoli → Our star ingredient! Did you know a cup of broccoli florets packs almost 3 grams of plant protein? It’s also rich in vitamins A, C & K, among other vitamins and minerals, and you can use fresh or frozen florets.
- Garlic and onion → Flavour builders key to this soup! Use yellow or sweet onion for best colour results (you know, that cheddar-y colour and experience).
- Russet potato → The best potato for blending into soup. It adds creaminess without adding too much density to the soup.
- Carrots → Both for orange colour and a little natural sweetness. They also bring a lovely dose of vitamins A and K.
- Cashews → This is our source of creaminess! In this recipe there is no need to pre-soak them, as you can boil them along with the veggies until tender. As a nut free alternative, you can try sunflower seeds or cooked white beans, but cashews will provide the best cheezy flavour.
- Vegetable broth → To add extra flavour to the soup, we’re using vegetable broth!
- Nutritional yeast → This magical substance is the key to vegan cheezyness. Don’t skip this ingredient! In addition to flavour it also contains a whopping 8-10 grams of protein per 2 tbsp serving, alongside B vitamins.
- Miso paste → Whenever I’m making a cheezy sauce, I always add miso paste which adds a deep umami and the glutamate that provides more of a savoury experience. Even if you don’t like miso, you won’t taste it, it’s more of a flavour builder in this recipe.
- Spices → The recipe calls for smoked paprika and ground mustard powder, both of which are technically optional, but very highly recommended. In my opinion, both of these spices just adds that extra je ne sais quoi that makes this soup the ultimate cheezy dupe.
And of course, salt and pepper to season and some vegan shredded cheese to garnish, if desired.
How to make Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
This soup comes together in just 4 simple steps:
- Gently sauté aromatics, veggies and cashews.
- Add veggie broth and simmer until veggies are fork tender.
- Blend soup until completely smooth to create your cheesy vegan soup base.
- Return to the pot, add broccoli and cook for an additional few minutes until broccoli is tender.
Secrets to success!
- Make it hearty → For extra wow factor, you can sauté your veggies and aromatics in a few tablespoons of vegan/plant based butter. Traditional dairy based broccoli cheese soup typically starts with butter, which does add extra richness and depth of flavour. You can also add a meltable, shredded vegan cheese to stir in, or just serve atop as garnish for extra dairy-free cheesiness.
- Boost the nutrition → To add a little boost of nutrition, you could add extra broccoli to the soup or even another green veg like spinach. A little turmeric would also be a lovely addition that would not only add some extra hashtag health benefits, but also a lovely orange colour.
- Equipment modifications → If you don’t have a blender, you can also use an immersion hand blender to blend in the pot. Blending is a crucial step in this recipe, so don’t skip it!
If you like this recipe, try…
If you try this recipe out, tag me on Instagram @veggiekins so I can see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you make any fun substitutions, let me know how it worked out below too.
Vegan Broccoli "Cheese" Soup (Gluten Free, Oil Free Option)
Creamy and comforting Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup, but it’s dairy free, vegan and gluten free with nut free and oil free options.
- 1 large head of broccoli about 4-5 cups florets
- 1/2 large sweet or white onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup carrots diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium russet potato about 1 1/4 cup diced chunks
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 4-5 cups vegetable broth
- 2/3 cups nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp white miso paste optional, but highly recommended
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder optional, but highly recommended
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegan cheese to garnish
Sauté onion over medium heat in a large pot with a little vegetable broth or oil. Stir consistently and don’t let the onion brown, you just want them to soften slightly and become fragrant. Add potato, carrot, garlic and cashews and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, again making sure to stir and avoid browning.
Next add vegetable broth and bring to a low boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover, and let cook for about 8-10 minutes, until vegetables are fork tender.
Transfer all ingredients to a blender and add nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, ground mustard powder, miso paste and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and return to the pot.
Toss in your broccoli florets, and cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat until broccoli florets are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
To serve, top with shredded vegan cheese or a nut based parmesan to top.
This recipe was updated on January 7th, 2020. 3 tbsp of raw cashews were upped to 1/3 cup of cashews and the method no longer requires pre-soaking. Ground mustard was also added to the recipe for depth of flavour and liquid quantities were modified slightly.
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