Broccoli Cheese Soup

You'd never guess that there's no dairy in this rich, creamy broccoli cheese soup! It's made of a savory, healthy blend of potatoes, veggies, and herbs.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

A while back, I posted a photo of this gorgeous pile of broccoli on Instagram with a call out for broccoli recipe requests. Overwhelmingly, people asked for a healthy/vegan version of broccoli cheese soup. Jack loves cheesy broccoli soup (and most cheesy things, to be honest), so we were both excited to take on the challenge.

This recipe is not to be confused with cream of broccoli soup. I have a super delicious, very green, Creamy Broccoli Soup on page 55 of my first cookbook. It’s made with leeks, coconut milk, broccoli, lemon, and spinach. It’s light, healthy, and tastes similar to the version my mom made for me while I was growing up.

This version – broccoli cheese soup – is thicker, richer, and more cheese-like. I say cheese-like because there’s no melted butter, grated cheese, evaporated milk, or heavy cream in this recipe. Rather, its thick, creamy base is made with potatoes and cashews, similar to the way I make vegan nacho cheese.

Broccoli and cheese soup recipe ingredients How to make broccoli cheese soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe Ingredients

For the “cheese” factor here, I loosely based the ingredients on the ones I used in this Carrot Queso. Potato is the main thickener (along with some cashews), carrot gives it a cheesy color, apple cider vinegar gives it tang, and dill adds a savory flavor that pulls it all together.

Broccoli in a blender

Then, because I get tons of requests to use the whole bunch of broccoli, I use a full pound of fresh broccoli in this recipe. I simmer the stems and blend them into the creamy base, and I steam and pulse in the broccoli florets for texture. If you’re looking for more whole-vegetable recipes, try making this broccoli salad or cauliflower rice next. Waste not, want not!

Broccoli and bread on baking sheets

Broccoli and Cheese Soup Recipe Tips

  • Top it with something crunchy. While the soup simmers, roast the last of the broccoli florets along with some cubed bread, because this creamy soup is best with some crispy garnishes.
  • Don’t blend the broccoli too much. Unlike creamy broccoli soup, you don’t want this soup to become a smooth puree. Blend the potatoes, celery, onions, the stems of the broccoli, and carrots until they’re completely smooth, but just pulse in the steamed florets. They add lovely green color and texture to the soup.
  • Don’t skip the dill! Even if dill isn’t your thing, I urge you to try it in this recipe. It’s essential for mimicking the rich, complex flavor of sharp cheddar cheese. If you want to skip it, I recommend blending in a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast to make the soup taste more cheesy.

Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

If you love this broccoli cheese soup recipe…

Try my cream of mushroom soup, butternut squash soup, or lentil soup next, or find more of my favorite soup recipes here!


4.4 from 14 reviews

Broccoli Cheese Soup

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe is our favorite healthy comfort food! Don't skip the dill - it's essential for rounding out this soup's savory, cheesy flavor.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ⅓ cup chopped carrots
  • 1 lb. broccoli, stems diced, florets chopped
  • 1 small yukon gold potato, diced (1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups cubed bread, for croutons
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 small baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, broccoli stems, salt, and pepper and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic and stir, then add the broth and apple cider vinegar, and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Let cool slightly.
  3. Set aside 1 cup of the broccoli florets to roast as a topping for the soup. Place the remaining florets in a steamer basket, and set over a pot with 1-inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer, cover, and let steam 5 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.
  4. Meanwhile, place the reserved broccoli florets and the bread cubes on the baking sheets. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast until the bread is crispy and the broccoli is tender and browned around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the soup to the blender add the cashews and blend until creamy. Work in batches, if necessary. Add the steamed broccoli florets, dill, and lemon juice, and pulse until the broccoli is incorporated but still chunky. The soup should be thick; if it's too thick, add ½ cup water to thin to your desired consistency.
  6. Season to taste and serve the soup in bowls with the roasted broccoli and croutons on top.
Notes
Note: many readers have had enjoyed blending a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast into the soup for an extra "cheese-like" flavor. You can find it at Whole Foods or other health food stores. If you can't find it, no worries, it's delicious without it too!

64 comments

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  1. Nina
    11.02.2017

    Looks fabulous, I am not very keen on dill, does the 1/4 cup added to the recipe taste strongly of dill? What could you sub it out with? Or if I reduce the amount of dill would the soup be balanced in flavour? Thanks.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.02.2017

      Hi Nina, I don’t think it’s a strong flavor here, but I think it adds such a nice savory depth of flavor. I’m not sure it could be substituted with anything specifically, I would just season to taste with maybe a little extra salt and pepper.

      • Nina
        11.02.2017

        Hi, thanks for taking the time out to reply, very much appreciated and also Greetings from the UK. I will give the recipe a try!

        • Carrie
          01.11.2018

          Just thought I would jump in here! I make a soup very similar to this but without dill, instead I add a bit of mustard powder and thyme. So good!

          • Nina
            01.11.2018

            Carrie, thanks for the tip. Is the recipe you make on a web site or your own? Thanks again.

          • Laurie L
            02.11.2018

            Mustard powder—what a great idea!

          • Tam
            02.27.2018

            The mustard powder and thyme sound amazing in a soup like this.

    • Angela
      12.24.2018

      I didn’t have fresh dill so added about 1 tsp of dry dill. It seemed to do the trick, although I hope I got the proportions right. I’m sure it’s better with fresh dill but it still tasted nice. Nutritional yeast gave it that extra kick.

    • Edie Mahan
      01.07.2019

      I made the soup without the dill and it was fabulous. Best vegan cream soup I’ve ever made😋

      • Nina Barker
        01.07.2019

        Thanks for the comment, very much appreciated will try it without dill

  2. Wow, this soup looks stunning. Anything with a generous amount of broccoli and dill, and I’m in! Thanks Jeannine!

  3. Shelby
    11.02.2017

    Do you think you could sub out the cashews or another type of nut?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.02.2017

      cashews become the creamiest, so I would just stick to those for texture.

  4. Kristen
    11.02.2017

    This looks amazing! Do you have to pre-soak the cashews? Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.03.2017

      Hi Kristen, I didn’t because I find they get creamy enough when blended with the hot liquid. If you feel like your blender won’t cream them well, you can definitely soak them at least a few hours in advance (or overnight).

  5. Sue
    11.03.2017

    Am making the soup now and it’s looking and tasting great. One thing – the ground florets are taking longer to cook than I thought and next time think I’ll try stir frying before adding to the puréed stock. Did make it a bit more cheesy by adding some nutritional yeast 🙂

    • Sally
      11.04.2017

      Making it today for a cozy Saturday lunch and plan on adding nutritional yeast for extra cheesy too!

    • Tam
      02.27.2018

      How much nutritional yeast would be good to add for a soup like this?

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        02.27.2018

        Hi Tam, it’s not necessary, it’s delicious on it’s own. You could stir in a few tablespoons to taste while blending if you wanted to.

  6. Jennifer
    11.03.2017

    Made this for three generations last night and received rave reviews! It was so so good! The lemon and dill finish off the soup so nicely and the roasted broccoli and bread on top really make it a meal. Per the comment above, I did not presoak the cashews. Thank you for another yummy recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.06.2017

      Hi Jennifer – I’m so happy to hear that everyone loved it! Yay!

  7. Beth Ann
    11.03.2017

    Made it! Loved it!
    Only bad thing, no leftovers! 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.06.2017

      Ha Ha, I’m so glad you loved it!

  8. Heidi
    11.04.2017

    I made this last night and my spouse and I both loved it. I decided to add 3 T of nutritional yeast to make it extra cheesy – it adds a nice dose of B12 too! Definitely a great soup for when you are in the mood for comfort food but don’t want to eat badly.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.06.2017

      Love the nootch! So glad it was a yummy addition to the soup!

  9. Claire
    11.05.2017

    Delicious! I love this soup! Easy to make too!

  10. Victoria
    11.06.2017

    Thank you L&L for yet another amazing recipe. Made it last night. It’s getting chilly out, and this was the perfect Sunday night cozy supper. I also added nutritional yeast for more of the “cheese” factor. The roasted broccoli on top is so delicious that next time (and there will be a next time) I will make extra. Yum!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.06.2017

      Hi Victoria – I’m so so happy to hear that! Thanks for letting me know how much you enjoyed it 🙂

  11. My spouse is allergic to cashews. Is there anything I could substitute for them? I know it won’t be as creamy, but it’s better than having his throat close up.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.07.2017

      Hi Samantha, you could try blanched, peeled almonds. (I find them in the bulk section already blanched and peeled – or you could use slivered almonds). They should be close to the cashew texture! I hope that helps!

  12. Cynthia
    11.08.2017

    Made this soup tonight and it was so delicious! Yum! The lemon and dill shine through in this soup. It was light yet substantial with the addition of the cashews. A comfy winter soup.
    Thank you for this awesome recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.09.2017

      Hi Cynthia, I’m so glad you loved it!

  13. Jeanine Gugel
    11.09.2017

    Hi! Making this soup tonight and wondering if the broccoli florets needs to be cooked before they go into the blender?

    Thank you!
    Jeanine

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.09.2017

      I blend them raw and then simmer in the soup (once it goes back into the pot) until they’re tender and cooked through. Hope that helps!

  14. Fi
    11.10.2017

    Sunshine in a Bowl! The dill and lemon together is such a beautiful combination. Perfect for chilly afternoons and evenings. Even considered having for breakfast! Will def be making again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.27.2018

      Ha, I’m so glad you loved it!

  15. Lacy
    11.12.2017

    I made this soup last week and it was so good! It truly has a cheesy taste, look, and texture. My whole family, kids included loved it. I did reduce the amount of dill I used because my husband doesn’t like it and he didn’t even know it was in there. The leftovers were great as well for lunch the next day.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.27.2018

      I’m so glad you loved it – thanks for sharing!!

  16. Helena
    01.24.2018

    This looks delicious. I like the idea of it being thicker and cheesier. I’m going to make this on the weekend. I’m hoping my kids will also like it.

  17. Vera
    02.09.2018

    Which blender do you have ? Because my blender doesn’t mix this soup so creamy. So my next purchase has to be a good blender. Thanks for your advice.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.27.2018

      I have a Vitamix, love it!

  18. Jonna
    03.04.2018

    Can I use frozen brocolli florets instead?

    • Angela
      05.29.2019

      I use frozen florets for my own similar style soup. They don’t roast as well depending on how dry they are but are fine. Be careful about overcooking them. It’s very easy to end up with mush.

  19. Christine
    03.08.2018

    Wow, I made this tonight. It’s fantastic! I subbed 1/4 cup of cashew butter instead of the cashews. I tried two other broccoli cheddar soups and this one is the best by far. I like how it doesn’t need store bought cheese or a cup of nutritional yeast. Love the dill. This will be my go-to from now on.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.14.2018

      Hi Christine, I’m so happy to hear that this one was your favorite!

  20. Victoria from livingyourstrength.com
    03.12.2018

    Oh, my gosh that looks so yummy!! Now I just have to get my soup-hating daughter to give it a try 🙂
    It looks like it takes some time to make though. Do you have any suggestions for a quick, healthy, and vegan soup?

  21. I am in love with this recipe, Jeanine! One, because I am a fan of anything that has cheese in it; and two, I love soups and vegetables. Thank you so much for sharing this; I cannot wait to try it on those cold times when I just need the warmth in my stomach. I am sure this will be amazing! Quick question, do you think it is OK to substitute cashew with almonds or hazelnuts or walnuts?

  22. Gina
    11.27.2018

    I used my vita mix on pulse and it basically broke the broccoli down?? How can I get it back to the color?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.28.2018

      Hi Gina, you could try pulsing it a bit less next time so that it’s chunky put not pureed. I don’t use a pulse function, I just hit the button a few times until it’s lightly blended. Hopefully, regardless of the color, it still tastes good! If it’s too thick, you could add a little broth or water. Hope that helps!

  23. Nina
    01.15.2019

    Help… what did I do wrong. I made this and it turned out an unappetising green colour not cheesy looking at all. Very bland too.

    I am not used to cup measurements (UK) but own some cups. I weighed the ingredients after I put them in the cup. They measured up as follows:-

    70g Celery, 175g Potato (unpeeled weight) we don’t have Yukon Gold here so had to guess what the weight of a medium potato would be.
    45g carrots peeled weight. Ended up with 266g florets and 165g Brocolli stems. Would love to know how this all measure up to what you make the recipe to. I found pulsing the raw florets in my Vitamix difficult. As there was such a lot. ended up have to pour off and doing it in batches. Wondered, should I have steamed the florets first?

    Sadly, this batch will be wasted. However, any help/advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.22.2019

      Hi Nina, I don’t have specific weights for each item since I found them easier to list in cups. I basically puree everything except the broccoli until it’s smooth and creamy, and then pulse the broccoli very quickly (it might be easier to work in batches? or use less broccoli if you like?), and then the soup becomes yellow with green flecks. After that step, it continues to cook so that the broccoli fully cooks in the soup. I would probably wait to taste it until it’s cooked and then season to taste.

  24. Kathryn
    02.11.2019

    This was really good! Only 4 stars as I found it a bit bland after blending, but definitely a solid starting place. I’ll add the modifications I made: Added nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard, garlic powder and smoked paprika to the sauce (to taste). I blitzed my broccoli and set it aside, adding it in and combining with the sauce. I only added 1 cup of broth at the end. Added a small cornstarch/water mixture to thicken it up a bit more. Added about 1/2 tablespoon of butter and like 4TB of soy creamer in just to give it a bit of fattiness.

  25. Clarissa
    05.07.2019

    Love this soup! I first used my immersion blender to blend the soup, and then I decided I wanted it creamier so I used my Vitamix and it came out much better! I added some nutritional yeast and a little unflavored soymilk for more creaminess. Great recipe overall!

  26. Dana
    08.04.2019

    I’m searching for the creamy green broccoli soup recipe you say is on page 55 of your cookbook. My version of the cookbook has breakfast biscuits on that page! Help!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.04.2019

      Hi Dana, the other broccoli soup is in our first cookbook, The Love & Lemons Cookbook. But the soup recipe pictured in this post is up there right on this page.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.04.2019

      I see I have that link above linking to the wrong page – sorry for the confusion! I made this post before the 2nd cookbook came out.

  27. Carolyn
    08.26.2019

    My seven-year-old and I make this soup once a month since about a year ago. We add nutritional yeast to ours as suggested by some others. It is our favorite! Sometimes for an extra treat, we eat it over baked potatoes! Thank you!

  28. Jenny
    09.02.2019

    Can you freeze this soup?

  29. Stacey
    10.19.2019

    This was delicious!! Even my 5 & 8 year old boys gobbled it up. Truth be told, I didn’t say the word, “broccoli,” I just said, soup. But my 8 year old even THANKED me for making this soup. We will definitely be making this again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.20.2019

      Aww, I’m so glad they loved it so much, that’s so cute!

  30. Talia
    11.16.2019

    This recipe’s texture is pretty awful. Recommend cooking the broccoli before blending, not after. Also recommend adding heaps more spices (I added ground mustard and traditional yeast for more flavor).

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.18.2019

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.