Awhile back I posted a photo of this gorgeous pile of broccoli on Instagram with a call out for broccoli recipe requests. If you replied there, thank you!! It’s so fun and helpful to hear your ideas and there were tons of great ones! Many of you said “roast the broccoli, simply, and finish it with a little lemon.” You must know me really well because I love a simple preparation like that. Another big request was for a healthy/vegan version of broccoli cheese soup.
I turned to Jack and said “cheesy broccoli soup!!” and his eyes lit up because he gets excited like a little kid when I say “cheesy!”
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 that I love so much. 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 – CHEESY broccoli soup, is thicker and more rich and cheese-like. I say cheese-like, because there’s no dairy in this recipe, rather it’s thick creamy base is made with potatoes and cashews, similar to the way I make vegan nacho cheese.
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup 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. I should add that there’s also broccoli stem pieces blended in here because I got tons of requests to use the whole bunch of broccoli. Waste not, want not!
Creamy Broccoli Soup
After you puree the base of the soup, the florets of broccoli get pulsed in so that the soup has a lot of broccoli texture throughout. Return it to the pot and simmer until the broccoli bits are cooked through.
While the soup simmers, roast the last of the broccoli along with some cubed bread because this soup is best with some crispy garnishes. Happy soup night!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ⅓ cup chopped carrots
- 1 small yukon gold potato, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups chopped broccoli florets and stems, separated, about 1 lb. - reserve 1 cup florets for garnish
- 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups cubed bread, for croutons*
- ¼ cup fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 small baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, potato, garlic, broccoli stems, and pinches of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well-browned and tender, 10 to 12 more minutes. Let cool slightly.
- In a blender, combine 2 cups of the vegetable broth with the raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and the cooled vegetables from the pot. Blend until creamy and well pureed (depending on your blender, this might take a minute or so).
- To the blender, add the broccoli florets (minus the cup of florets for garnish). Pulse until the broccoli is incorporated but still chunky. Pour the mixture back into the soup pot along with the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth. Simmer until the broccoli is soft and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. If your soup becomes too thick, add a bit of water to create your desired consistency.
- 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.
- Stir the fresh dill and lemon juice into the soup and season to taste with more salt and pepper.
- Serve the soup in bowls with the roasted broccoli and croutons on top.
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!