This Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a cheesy, creamy, dairy-free broccoli soup packed with six vegetables.
You won’t believe that this cheesy texture comes from plant-based ingredients and no cheese is needed at all.
I love a comforting, thick, and loaded soup for my family on cold days.
Plus, kids love broccoli, so this broccoli soup is always welcome by everyone.
Is Broccoli Cheddar Soup Vegan?
This classic cheddar broccoli soup contains butter and loads of cheddar cheese. It’s the key ingredient to its creamy, ultra-thick, and cheesy texture.
As a result, broccoli cheddar soup is not vegan, and you can’t use a classic soup recipe, using store-bought vegan cheddar instead.
Vegan cheddar is oily and won’t provide the same thick, stringy texture you get from real cheese.
If you are wondering how one can make a cheesy vegan soup without adding vegan cheese, let me show you how amazing potatoes, carrots, and nutritional yeast are to mimic cheese.
How To Make Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This vegan broccoli soup may look overwhelming based on the list of ingredients you need, but it’s actually an easy vegan soup, ready in under 30 minutes.
All you need to make this creamy broccoli soup are:
- Fresh Broccoli Head – You need fresh, crunchy broccoli to add texture to the soup. I don’t recommend frozen broccoli florets.
- Carrots – Fresh, organic carrots are the best.
- Celery – Fresh washed celery. Remove the leaves.
- Lemon Juice – Either freshly squeezed or form a store-bought bottle.
- Vegetable Stock
- Cashew Nuts – Unroasted. Soak the cashews in boiled water for 30 minutes if your blender is not powerful enough to blend the soup.
- Salt and Pepper
- Nutritional Yeast – This adds a lovely cheesy flavor to the soup and a yellow color.
First, clean the vegetables, peel the potatoes and carrots, and cut them into small cubes of the same size. Then, measure the quantity of each diced vegetable with measuring cups.
Next, cut the onion and celery, and crush the garlic. Then, cut both broccoli heads into small pieces. You can keep the broccoli stalks to reduce food waste, which tastes amazing.
In a large pot, warm olive oil and vegan butter. Next, add the onion and garlic and cook, often stirring, until golden brown and fragrant.
Next, add the raw cashews, chopped carrots, celery, potatoes, and half the chopped broccoli.
Stir, and cook until the broccoli florets are vibrant green. It takes less than 3 minutes.
Simmering The Soup
Finally, add the nutritional yeast, paprika, pepper, and vegetable stock.
Cover the pot with a lid, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the vegetables and cashews have softened.
When the vegetables soften, it’s time to blend the soup, and there are two options to blend your soup.
But, before you blend, remove the lid, remove the pot from the heat, and let it steam out for 5 minutes to avoid burning yourself or damaging your blender jug.
Most blender jugs, like the Vitamix ones, can handle the heat, but it’s not made to handle too hot liquids.
The easiest way to blend soup is to use an immersion blender. Place the immersion tool directly into the pot and blend until smooth.
However, this technique makes the soup grainy instead of smooth and velvety.
I recommend blending the soup. However, for safety reasons, blending the soup in batches is preferable. Only add a third of the volume, and blend on medium-high speed until creamy.
Then, keep each batch of blended broccoli soup in a separate bowl until the whole soup has been blended.
Returning To Heat
Now, return the blended broccoli soup into the non-stick pot and stir in the remaining chopped broccoli florets and pieces.
Cook the soup over medium heat uncovered while stirring often until the vegetables are vibrant green.
Adjusting The Texture
We all have different ways of eating soup. Some people love it thick, dense, and velvety, while others like it thinner and runnier.
Depending on your liking, you may want to thin out the soup. To do so, add a splash of cold tap water, stir, and stop adding when you enjoy the soup texture.
Making It Cheesy
Next, taste the soup and see how salty and cheesy it is. If you want a real cheddar flavor, you will have to stir store-bought vegan cheddar into the soup.
However, if you simply want a more robust cheese flavor without using processed cheese, then add more nutritional yeast – up to extra four tablespoons.
Also, feel free to add more salt and pepper.
Serving Broccoli Soup
This vegan broccoli soup is delicious with some toppings like:
- Homemade croutons
- Drizzle cashew cream or soy cream
- Grated vegan cheddar
- Toasted seeds
- Roasted nuts
- Vegan bacon
- Crispy broccoli florets – try my air fryer broccoli recipe to make a batch
- Crispy quinoa to boost the protein content
Store leftover broccoli soup in an airtight container in the fridge or a bowl covered with a piece of foil.
This broccoli soup lasts for up to 4 days in the fridge or can be frozen and thawed in the fridge the day before.
To rewarm the soup, bring the soup into a non-stick saucepan. Bring over medium heat and rewarm, adding more water or a splash of almond milk if too thick.
You can also rewarm the soup in the microwave, in a microwave-safe bowl.
If you have food allergies, I listed some substitution options for you below to try.
- Oil-Free – Skip the oil and butter and cook the vegetables into the vegetable stock.
- Low-FODMAP – Skip the garlic and onion and use a low-FODMAP vegetable stock. Then, use only broccoli florets, not the stalks.
- Nutritional-Yeast-Free – This is the key ingredient that gives the soup its cheesy flavor. If not used, you must use store-bought vegan cheddar, or it won’t taste like cheese.
- Nut-Free – Cashew nuts are the best at providing a thick creamy texture to the soup. However, if you have nut allergies, make a cornstarch slurry by stirring 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/3 cup of water. Stir in the soup just before blending. If not thick enough, repeat and add more slurry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are my answers to your most frequent questions about this vegan soup recipe.
Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?
You can use frozen broccoli, but it won’t provide the same flavor and are always slightly watery. As a result, frozen broccoli will thin out the texture of the soup.
Also, the frozen broccoli cooked in the blended soup will turn softer and mushy quite quickly. Therefore, it’s preferable to undercook frozen broccoli, or the soup won’t have a nice texture.
Do I Have To Soak Cashews?
It depends on the tool you use to blend your soup. If you blend the soup in a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, then no there’s no need to soak the cashews.
Cashews need 20 to 30 minutes to soften in boiling water. In this soup, the cashews are cooked in the stock for that timeframe and then blended in a blender.
For an immersion blender, they may need soaking 30 minutes into a bowl covered with boiled water.
Have you cooked this easy vegan broccoli cheese soup recipe? Share a comment or review below to connect with me.
Did You Like This Recipe?
Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Vegan Butter
- 1 small Onion - finely chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves - minced
- ½ cup Celery - finely chopped
- ¾ cup Carrots - peeled, chopped
- 1 cup Potatoes - diced
- 2 large Fresh Broccoli Head - chopped in pieces – divided (about 5 cups)
- 3 ½ cups Vegetable Stock
- ½ cup Cashews - note 1
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 2 teaspoons Paprika
- ⅓ cup Nutritional Yeast
- ¾ cup Vegan Cheddar Cheese
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Pepper
- ½ cup Water
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- In a large pot, warm olive oil and vegan butter over medium heat.
- Stir in onion and garlic and cook until fragrant and transparent – about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the cashews, chopped carrots, celery, potatoes, and half the chopped broccoli.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes, uncovered, stirring often until the broccoli is vibrant green.
- Add nutritional yeast, pepper, paprika, and vegetable stock.
- Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables and cashews have softened.
- Remove from the heat, uncover, and steam out for 5-10 minutes before pouring into a blender.
- Blend a third of the soup at a time. It's safer for the blender to work in small batches and this prevents splashing or blender jug explosions.
- Set aside each blended batch of broccoli soup in a large bowl until all the soup has been blended.
- Return the blended soup in the pot, add remaining chopped broccoli.
- Stir and cook over medium heat until the broccoli is vibrant green and still crunchy.
- Stir in some water if the texture is too thick or more salt, pepper, or nutritional yeast to boost its cheesy flavor.
- Remove from the heat, stir in lemon juice, and freshly grated vegan cheddar cheese to melt in.
- Serve warm with croutons, drizzle cashew cream, and fresh herbs.
- Store the soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge the day before.