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Vegan Broccoli & Cheese Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Cheese Soup

The inspiration for this Vegan Broccoli & Cheese Soup is twofold. For one, our class discovered this beautiful gem growing in our school garden when we returned from the holidays.  And I needed to figure out a way to get the kiddos to actually try the thing pronto.  Plus, back in my gluten days I used to obsessively crave this Broccoli & Cheese Soup from Jason’s Deli.  And while I’ve tinkered around with healthy allergen friendly alternatives to bunches of stuff over the years, this one’s been swimming around in the back of my head for a while.

This Broccoli & Cheese Soup gets its cheesy flavor from blended cashews and nutritional yeast.  If you have never played around with cashews as a dairy free alternative, well time to change that! It can be blended to make alfredo sauce, cheese balls, amongst a bevy of other things.  Nutritional yeast adds a nice nuttiness turning up the cheese factor a notch while giving you a hefty dose of B vitamins.

So that explains the cheesy flavor…the deep orangy cheesy hue comes from a steamed sweet potato.  While giving you a fiber boost and plenty of Beta Carotene to boot.

vegan broccoli & cheese soup

Some Broccoli & Cheese Soup recipes blend everything all up nice and smooth.  My old Jason’s Deli Broccoli & Cheese Soup had nice chunks of broccoli so I decided to recreate that instead.  Feel free to blend away if that’s your thing.

When I tested this soup out on the kiddos I decided to play mum about the cheese.  I just told them “here is some soup made from our broccoli in the garden.” The second they saw the color though, they all assumed the cheese was on.  And then the excitement revved up.  I stayed quiet and just listened in on them saying it tasted cheesy and whatnot.  And once I’d taken their thumbs up or down vote, I spilled the vegan cheese beans.  They were pretty surprised, and I think a little irked when I told them they’d just eaten a sweet potato.  Oh wells, sorry little guys… 😉

All in all, about half of the kiddos liked the soup enough to come back for more.  Which for a group of picky second graders, ain’t half bad.  It was really a win win, because I got my students to eat some veggies while getting myself (and you!) a new soup recipe in the mix.

Ok, so onto the soup making…

Ingredientsvegan broccoli & cheese soup

1 med. sweet potato, peeled & chopped into 1 in. chunks

4 cups broccoli florets

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup raw cashews

3 tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 quart broth

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1/4 lemon

Directions

Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water with a steamer basket inside.  Turn heat up to high and while waiting you can peel & chop your sweet potato.

Once the water’s bubbling, drop your sweet potato in the steamer basket, cover, and reduce heat to medium.  You can let it steam while you get all the over veggies going.

In a large stockpot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute for a couple minutes until onions turn translucent.  Then remove onions/garlic from heat and add to a vitamix or other high speed blender.

sweet potatoes, cashews, onions, & broth in vitamix
broccoli in cashew cheese broth
cashew cheese broth
vegan broccoli & cheese soup in pot

Once the sweet potato has steamed and is fork tender (will take about 10 min. or so), add it to the blender along with the cashews, broth, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and pepper. Blend it all up until it’s nice and smooth.

Transfer the blended yum back over to the large stockpot and turn the burner up to medium again.  Add your chopped broccoli florets, cover, and simmer to allow broccoli to soften up and flavors to meld a bit more.

When broccoli is tender to your liking, squeeze in a little lemon juice (about 1/4 of a medium lemon’s worth) stir it up and taste test.  I am a bit of a salt fiend so I added in an additional 1/2 tsp. or so, but play around with the lemon/salt/pepper until you get the right combo for you.  Then serve it all up and enjoy! 😀

vegan broccoli & cheese soup

In the mood for some more soup magic? Try this Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Cheese Soup

This Vegan Broccoli & Cheese Soup gets its cheesy flavor with a little help from blended cashews and nutritional yeast.  Its cheesy hue comes courtesy of sweet potato.  Gluten free, dairy free, vegan and paleo friendly.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mindy

Ingredients

  • 1 med sweet potato peeled & chopped into 1 in. cubes
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 med onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 quart broth
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 med. lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water with a steamer basket inside.  Turn heat up to high and while waiting you can peel & chop your sweet potato.
  2. Drop your sweet potato in the steamer basket, cover, and reduce heat to medium.  You can let it steam while you get all the over veggies going.
  3. In a large stockpot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute for a couple minutes until onions turn translucent.  Then remove onions/garlic from heat and add to a vitamix or other high speed blender.
  4. Once the sweet potato has steamed and is fork tender (will take about 10 min. or so), add it to the blender along with the cashews, broth, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. Blend it all up until it's nice and smooth.
  5. Transfer the blended yum back over to the large stockpot and turn the burner up to medium again.  Add your chopped broccoli florets, cover, and simmer to allow broccoli to soften up and flavors to meld a bit more.
  6. When broccoli is tender to your liking, squeeze in a little lemon juice (about 1/4 of a medium lemon's worth) stir it up and taste test.  I am a bit of a salt fiend so I added in an additional 1/2 tsp. or so, but play around with the lemon/salt/pepper until you get the right combo for you.  Then serve it all up and enjoy! 
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