Vegan “Cheesy” Broccoli Soup

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

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 lighter/vegan version of cheese broccoli 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 the 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. Don’t worry – there’s still a ton (or a pound) of broccoli in this recipe. I love both versions, it’s just a matter of what I’m in the mood for (though Jack is always in the mood for cheese).

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

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!

Vegan "Cheesy" 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.

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

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!

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

5.0 from 6 reviews
Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup
 
Serves: 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 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, more to taste
  • 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 over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, potato, garlic, broccoli stems, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well-browned and tender, 10 to 12 more minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a blender, combine 2 cups of the vegetable broth with the raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, ¼ 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Stir the fresh dill and lemon juice into the soup and season to taste with more salt and pepper.
  7. Serve the soup in bowls with the roasted broccoli and croutons on top.
Notes
*If gluten free, use GF bread.

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!

 


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.

31 comments

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  3. Nina on said:

    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.

    • 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 on said:

        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!

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

  5. Shelby on said:

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

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

  6. Kristen on said:

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

    • 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).

  7. Sue on said:

    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 on said:

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

  8. Jennifer on said:

    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!

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

  9. Beth Ann on said:

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

  10. Heidi on said:

    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.

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

  11. Claire on said:

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

  12. Victoria on said:

    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!

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

  13. Samantha B from benevolent.net on said:

    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.

    • 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!

  14. Cynthia on said:

    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!

  15. Jeanine Gugel on said:

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

    Thank you!
    Jeanine

    • 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!

  16. Fi on said:

    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.

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  18. Lacy on said:

    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.

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