This cheesy vegan broccoli cheese soup recipe is so creamy and comforting. Whip up this delicious dairy-free soup made with healthy vegetables and a cashew cream sauce in just 30 minutes! Gluten-free!
This recipe is from our second cookbook, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, and inspired by our former love, Panera’s cheddar broccoli soup
Thanks to the magic of cashews and nutritional yeast, we were able to create a healthy broccoli cheese soup with less calories and fat, yet all of the creamy goodness you’d expect.
See recipe card for quantities.
Notes on the Ingredients
Potato – You can use any kind of potato you have on hand. We prefer a Russet potato because it has a lot of starch, which helps to thicken the soup.
Cream Sauce – This makes the soup silky and creamy. Adding vegan sour cream to the cashew sauce gives it an even silkier texture and a nice pop of tanginess to the flavor.
Carrots – Not only do they add vitamins and nutrients, they give the soup a beautiful cheddar cheese color.
This is a quick and easy recipe. Here is a visual overview with simple guidelines.
- Chop the broccoli into bite size pieces (include the stems). Smaller pieces will make it easier to blend
- Slice the carrot and celery into small pieces.
- Wash the potato
- Peel the potato
- Dice the potato into bite size pieces
- Saute the carrot and celery in olive oil until the celery begins to soften, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
7. Add the potato to the pan.
8. Pour in the broth
9. Cover the vegetables with the broth.
10. Add the broccoli and nutritional yeast and cook until the vegetables are fork tender.
11. Make the cashew cream sauce.
12. Add the cream sauce to the soup and blend with an immersion blender until the vegetables are broken down into small pieces.
Hint: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour small batches of the slightly cooled soup into a stand blender.
Cashews – if you have a nut allergy, replace the cashews with hemp or sunflower seeds.
Potato – butternut sqaush will give the soup a sweet flavor, although it’s a good replacement for those who can’t eat potatoes.
Vegan sour cream – if you can’t find vegan sour cream, plain vegan yogurt that’s made of soy or almonds will work.
Shredded vegan cheese – if you don’t want to make the cream sauce, add vegan shredded cheddar cheese by So Delicious, Violife, Miyoko’s, Chao, or Daiya and stir into the soup after blending until melted.
Spicy – add chili pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or a chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper when you saute the onion, carrots, and celery.
Deluxe – add garlic croutons, crumbled vegan tofu bacon, crispy onions, a dollop of vegan sour cream, and/or shredded vegan cheddar.
Kid friendly – add lots of shredded vegan cheese and crushed potato chips or pretzels. It’s a great way to get them to eat their veggies!
How to Serve and What to do with Leftover Soup
Serve our vegan broccoli cheddar cheese soup with homemade croutons, crispy fried onions, shredded cheese, and/or vegan sour cream.
Bread Bowl – for a fun and easy way to serve (think less dishes to wash), serve the soup in a bread bowl.
Baked Potato – Pour it over a baked potato. This soup would work great with our vegan cheddar & broccoli stuffed baked potato.
Rice – cheese and rice are always a good combination. Just combine with cooked rice for a quick and easy meal.
To make this classic vegan broccoli cheese soup we suggest using an immersion blender.
It will give you more control in regards to the texture of the soup.
If you don't have an immersion blender, a typical stand blender will work, too.
Yes, this can be made up to 4 days before serving. Reheat on a low setting until warmed through.
If you want a thicker soup, whisk a ¼ cup of water with a tablespoon of cornstarch and then whisk it into the soup. Let the soup simmer for approximately 15 minutes and stir often.
If you added shredded vegan cheese to the soup, it may take several minutes for it to melt. Keep stirring until it's completely melted.
Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Yes, store it in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat it on medium-low heat. Stir frequently to avoid scorching.
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1 cup raw cashews - boiled or soaked See Note Below
- ½ cup vegan sour cream or plain vegan yogurt - not coconut based
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil You can use 2 tablespoons of broth or water if you don't cook with oil.
- 4 cups broccoli - chopped into bite size pieces
- 3 medium carrots - diced
- 2 celery stalks - diced
- 1 medium potato - peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves - peeled and minced
- 64 ounces vegetable broth
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast See Note Below
- salt and pepper to taste
- shredded vegan cheddar cheese
- vegan sour cream
- crispy onions
- Soak or boil the cashews until they are soft and puffy (see note below), then drain and rinse and put in the blender.
- Make the cream sauce. Add the ½ cup of vegan sour cream, ½ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt to the blender and blend on a high setting until the cashews break down and become smooth and creamy. Approximately 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and blend once more. There shouldn't be any solid pieces of the nuts in the cream sauce. Set aside
- Over medium heat, heat a large stock pot and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the carrots and celery and cook until the celery begins to soften. Approximately 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add the minced garlic and stir. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the potato, broccoli, and the ¼ cup of nutritional yeast to the pot and pour in the 64 ounces (two 32 ounce containers) of vegetable broth. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are fork tender. Approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
- Whisk in the cashew cream sauce until fully combined.
- Blend the vegetables with an immersion blender until the vegetables are blended into small pieces, or to your desired texture.
- Top with any of the suggested toppings.
- CASHEWS - the cashews need to be soaked in water for at least 4 hours or boiled (preferred method) in water for 10 minutes, or until they're soft and puffy. This will ensure that they break down into a smooth and silky sauce.
- If you're making this for someone who has a nut allergy, substitute with the same amount of raw shelled sunflower seeds or hemp seeds.
- VEGAN SOUR CREAM - If you can't find vegan sour cream, substitute with plain vegan yogurt with an almond or soy base. Do NOT use a coconut base yogurt as it will alter the flavor of the soup.
- POTATO - you can use any type of potato. We prefer a Russet potato as they have a lot of starch and create a thicker soup.
- If you are making this soup for someone who can't eat potatoes you can substitute with acorn squash, although it will make the flavor of the soup slightly sweet.
- You could also omit the potato and whisk 1 tablespoon of corn starch in a ½ cup of water and whisk that into the soup to thicken. Do this 10 minutes before the soup is done and let it simmer to thicken.
- NUTRITIONAL YEAST - if you don't enjoy the flavor of nutritional yeast, you can add a 15 ounce package of shredded vegan cheddar cheese to the soup and stir until the shreds are completely melted.
- STORAGE - store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.