Nourish your body and cozy up with a bowl of this ridiculously creamy vegan broccoli cheddar soup. No cashews, gluten, or dairy - just plant-based goodness in each spoonful.
Panera's broccoli cheddar soup paired with a dunkable wedge of crusty bread was my childhood bliss. This was of course before I went vegan and when my body (somewhat) tolerated gluten.
I recently stumbled into a love affair with soup and knew a vegan version of cheesy broccoli soup had to be made. What I didn't expect was for it to be so easy to throw together and for the result to be so luxuriously creamy and velvety - all without using any cheese or raw cashews.
Why you'll love this vegan broccoli cheddar soup
- A lightened-up variation of the classic
- Simple ingredients that create a delicious symphony of flavors
- Ultra creamy
- Satisfying and filling, thanks to cannellini beans & veggies
- Easy and quick to throw together
- A great make-ahead dish that freezes well
Here's what you'll need to make this delicious vegan soup recipe:
- Cauliflower florets: I used frozen cauliflower, fresh also works!
- Broccoli florets: frozen or fresh broccoli florets work - just make sure they are small (bite-sized) for best results.
- Avocado oil: adds healthy fats and helps create rich flavors. Substitute with vegan butter or a high-quality olive oil.
- Carrots: thinly dice or julienne the carrots.
- Yellow onion: creates a delicious savory flavor when sautéed with carrots and garlic
- Garlic: mince finely for best results. Garlic powder also works in a pinch, adjust to taste as needed.
- Chickpea flour: a naturally gluten-free flour that creates a creamy texture and adds additional nutrients (protein, fiber, calcium, and magnesium).
- Cannellini beans: to keep the soup nut-free, we are using cannellini beans to add creaminess and protein.
- Vegetable broth: use low-sodium vegetable broth for best results. Alternatively, decrease the amount of salt used.
- Nutritional yeast: added for cheesy flavor and essential B vitamins like folic acid and B12
- Liquid aminos: adds depth and a richer flavor to the soup.
- Dijon mustard: similar to liquid aminos, it adds depth and acidity. Lemon juice also works, but recommend Dijon for best results.
- Spices: salt, black pepper, paprika salt & red pepper flakes add just the right amount of flavor and tie all the flavors together. Red pepper flakes add a little kick, omit if sensitive to heat.
For the complete recipe, including the full list of ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the recipe card below.
- Large pot or large Dutch oven
- Immersion blender or high-speed blender
Top tips for making vegan broccoli cheese soup
- Broccoli florets: tender broccoli florets are important for texture and flavor. Nothing is worse than sipping a spoonful of soup and accidentally getting a chewy piece of broccoli. For best results, cut stems off (slice them) and keep florets in small, bite-sized pieces. Steam until tender (a fork should easily pierce through).
- Thickness: the best thing about soup is it's extremely customizable in ingredients and texture. For a thinner soup, add more veggie broth. For a thicker soup, add an additional tablespoon of chickpea flour and/or decrease the amount of broth.
- Vegan cheese: nutritional yeast adds a delicious cheesy flavor but for a bolder cheese taste, add vegan cheddar cheese. I recommend Violife or Follow Your Heart cheddar shreds.
- Nutmeg: The traditional version calls for nutmeg, as it compliments the flavor of the cheddar cheese and adds flavor complexity to the soup. I don't find it necessary in this vegan soup, but ¼ teaspoon can be added if desired!
- Spicy: add pickled jalapeños or an additional pinch of red pepper flakes for a spicy variation. Taste as you go, adding just a bit at a time to prevent the soup from becoming too spicy.
- Greens: top with crispy kale chips or stir in kale (before or after blending, depending on desired texture). Use sautéed kale for best results if adding to the soup after blending.
- Roasted vegetables: add broccoli and cauliflower (carrots can be added also!) to a sheet pan or two. Toss with avocado oil, salt, and garlic powder. Roast at 425F for 20-25 minutes or until charred to your liking. Add to the soup before blending (reserving some broccoli to stir in after for texture).
What to eat with broccoli cheese soup
Warm, crusty bread is one of my favorite things to enjoy with this cheesy soup, but here are a few other ideas of what to serve with soup besides bread:
- Quinoa or brown rice for a heartier dish
- Vegan Caesar salad
- Biscuits: vegan buttermilk biscuits or vegan jalapeno cheddar biscuits
- Homemade croutons: cut a loaf of bread into bite-sized pieces and toast at 390 for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Season as desired
- Grilled cheese: Vegan Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese or Vegan Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese
- Sandwich: Vegan Cheddar & Apple Sandwich with Jalapeno Cranberry Spread
- Crispy Roasted Potatoes
- Kale chips
This vegan broccoli cheddar soup yields 6-8 servings and stores well so quick lunches/dinners are in your future.
- Fridge - once cooled, store soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To reheat, add to a saucepan over medium-low heat or microwave.
- Freezer - store cooled soup in the freezer for a few months. For ease, store in single-serve portions (in freezer-safe containers). Let thaw and then reheat.
The soup does thicken a bit as it sits, so add a splash of broth, water, or non-dairy milk if needed.
I hope you enjoy one of my favorite soups! If you made this vegan broccoli cheddar soup recipe let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Your feedback is the final touch on each recipe 💛 Here's to a delicious soup season!
Creamy Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe (GF)
- cutting board + knife
- large stock pot
- high-speed blender or immersion blender
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 ⅓ cup carrots, thinly diced or julienned about 3 carrots
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced about 1 medium onion
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon EACH of iodized salt & black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chickpea/garbanzo bean flour
- 1 ¼ cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed no salt added
- 3 ¾ cups low sodium vegetable broth
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon liquid aminos
- ½ teaspoon EACH of Dijon mustard, paprika, and red pepper flakes*
- ¼ teaspoon + an extra pinch of pink Himalayan salt (sub additional iodized or other salt of choice)
- Prep (10 min): I used frozen cauliflower and broccoli florets. If you are using fresh, cut heads into bite-sized florets. Then, mince garlic, dice onion, peel +slice carrots, and drain cannellini beans.
- Steam broccoli: add a bit of water to a steam pot, over high heat. Place broccoli in the steam basket. Cover and let steam for 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Fresh broccoli will need less time so be sure to check it every few minutes to prevent mushy broccoli. Remove from heat and set aside once done. Sauteé veggies: While the broccoli is steaming, warm a large stock pot over medium heat. Once warm, add avocado oil, cauliflower florets, carrots, onion + ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Stir and cover for about 6-8 minutes to help the carrots and cauliflower become tender, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and add minced garlic. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add chickpea flour and stir to coat. total time 10 min
- Combine all ingredients(8 min): add the rest of the ingredients (cannellini beans, veggie broth, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, dijon mustard, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt). Increase heat to medium-high. Stir and bring to a low boil (mine took about 8 minutes to start to boil on the sides slowly and then I shut it off). Add in steamed broccoli and stir to combine.
- Blend (3 min): carefully ladle the soup into a high-speed blender. I did mine in two batches. For the first batch, I blended for just a few seconds (so still some bits of veggies remain). For the second batch, I blended for a bit longer for a smoother texture. I prefer this texture combo but feel free to do whatever works best for you! Alternatively, use an immersion blender and blend directly in the pot until the desired texture is achieved.
- Serve: Taste and add additional salt or pepper if needed. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with warm, crusty bread & enjoy!