This Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the ultimate comfort food. Each bite is perfectly thick and cheesy yet surprisingly dairy-free! It's creamy, decadent, packed with flavor, and it comes together in under 45 minutes.
Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of soup on a chilly day?
This vegan version of the classic broccoli cheddar soup has the creamy, cheesy goodness that you love but it's made with cashews instead of dairy.
This soup effortlessly comes together in one pot with simple ingredients.
This vegan broccoli soup is perfect for chilly weather or whenever you're in the mood for something creamy and comforting.
It's made with simple ingredients like cashews, nutritional yeast, broccoli, potatoes, and carrots.
Cashews: Softened cashews become super creamy when blended. If you are looking to make this soup nut-free, substitute the cashews with coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk. It won't be as thick.
Nutritional Yeast: Adds additional cheesiness.
Onion and Garlic: Make sure not to overlook the sauté step. It is essential for optimal flavor development.
Flour: Thickens the soup.
Carrot: Added to traditional broccoli cheddar soup. You can use pre-shredded carrots or use a grater and shred them yourself.
Broccoli: Use fresh for best results. I recommend shredded the stalk and adding it to the soup for additional broccoli flavor and less waste.
Potatoes: When broken down, they add additional creaminess.
Seasonings: A lot of flavor comes from the vegetables but additional seasonings include paprika, mustard powder, salt, pepper, and a touch of cayenne.
Vegetable Broth: Traditional broccoli cheese soup uses chicken broth but vegetable broth works great and adds the perfect amount of flavor. I recommend low-sodium so you can control the salt.
Vegan Cheese: Violife cheddar shreds are added for additional cheesiness.
Kosher Salt: Please read the important note about salt in the notes section of the recipe card. If you're using table salt, you will need to adjust the amount added.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make This Recipe
This vegan broccoli cheese soup is great to make when you're craving a cozy meal but is still easy to make!
This decadent and cheesy soup can be ready in under 45 minutes.
The full written recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Bring a cup of water to a boil. Add the cashews to a heat-safe bowl and pour the hot water over the cashews. Allow them to soak for at least 20 minutes.
Step 2: After they have softened, add them to a high-speed blender along with the water and nutritional yeast. Blend until completely smooth.
Step 3: In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 7-10 minutes or until it becomes translucent and starting to brown. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
Step 4: Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the onions and stir until no raw flour is visible.
Step 5: Stir in the shredded carrots, shredded broccoli stalk, peeled and diced potatoes, paprika, ground mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
Step 6: Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a slight boil then quickly reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
Step 7: If you want a smoother soup, use an immersion blender to pulse the mixture a few times leaving some texture. Add the cashew cream.
Step 8: Then add in the broccoli florets. If you prefer smaller pieces of broccoli, chop them smaller.
Step 9: Bring the soup back a slight boil then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat for 12-15 minutes and then stir in the vegan cheese.
Step 10: Taste and adjust salt and pepper to preference.
Divide into serving bowls and top with extra vegan cheese, fresh parsley, and chili flakes. Serve with fresh bread!
Note: Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1:1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Substitutions & Variations
Feel free to get creative and use what you have on hand to make this cheesy broccoli soup.
Make it with frozen broccoli: You can use frozen broccoli to replace fresh broccoli. Just keep in mind the end result will be mushier. Thaw it and drain any excess water before adding it to the soup.
Make it gluten-free: Simply swap the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour. If you want a thinner soup, omit the flour.
Don't have vegan cheese? No worries! The nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor so omitting the vegan cheese will not alter the flavor all that much.
Make it nut-free: The creamy base of this soup is made with cashews but can be made with unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk. Keep in mind it will be thinner.
This broccoli cheese soup is delicious served on its own topped with croutons, parsley, and vegan cheese shreds.
But is delicious served like a Panera "Pick Two" and serve with your favorite salad or sandwich.
I usually go for a vegan caesar salad, fresh vegetable sandwich, or a vegan BLT.
Tips & Tricks
Important Note about Salt: Different types of salt vary in intensity and cannot be swapped in a 1:1 ratio. When substituting table salt for kosher salt, reduce the amount specified in the recipe by at least half.
If you're soup is gritty or grainy, the cashews weren't blended long enough. To prevent this from happening, rub the cashew cream between two fingers and if you feel any texture, keep blending.
If the soup is too thick, add an additional splash of vegetable broth.
Prefer a smoother soup? Use an immersion blender and pulse a few times breaking down some of the soup but still leaving some texture. I like to do this before adding broccoli.
Or completely blend it! If you want a completely smooth soup, use an immersion blender after the broccoli has cooked to chop any large broccoli florets.
Avoid adding extra flour. If the soup lacks thickness, either simmer it longer or incorporate more cheese. Adding additional flour may result in clumps instead of effectively thickening the soup.
Storage: Let the soup cool before transferring it to an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reheating: Reheat in the microwave or stovetop until hot. This soup thickens as it cools so you may need a splash of water to loosen it.
Freezing: This broccoli cheddar soup can be stored in the freezer. After allowing it to cool completely, place it in a freezer-safe container or freezer-friendly storage bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes but keep in mind that the broccoli will end up mushier and will break apart.
Cashews make this broccoli cheddar soup rich and creamy but you can use coconut milk or even unsweetened almond milk instead. Keep in mind that it will be a thinner and less creamy.
I use and love Violife cheddar shreds but Follow Your Heart and Daiya are great too!
More Soup Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 1 cup Cashews soaked
- 2 cups Water
- ½ cup Nutritional Yeast
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion finely diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour or gluten-free flour
- 1 cup Shredded Carrots
- 1 large Broccoli Crown
- ¾ cup Shredded Broccoli Stalk optional
- 2 cups Diced White Potatoes peeled
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt see note
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Ground Mustard
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- 4 cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
- ¾ cup Vegan Shredded Cheddar Cheese I used Violife
- Bring a cup of water to a boil. Add the cashews to a heat-safe bowl and pour the hot water over the cashews. Allow them to soak for at least 20 minutes.
- After they have softened, add them to a high-speed blender along with the water and nutritional yeast. Blend until completely smooth.
- Helpful tip: Touch the cashew cream and rub it between two fingers. If it has any texture, keep blending.
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 7-10 minutes or until it becomes translucent and starting to brown. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the onions and stir until no raw flour is visible.
- Chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and set aside. I chop the broccoli crown into florets and then shred the broccoli stalk and add it to the soup pot. This is optional but it's a great way to reduce waste.
- Stir in the shredded carrots, shredded broccoli stalk, peeled and diced potatoes, paprika, ground mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a slight boil then quickly reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
- If you want a smoother soup, use an immersion blender to pulse the mixture a few times leaving some texture.
- Add the cashew cream and broccoli florets. If you prefer smaller pieces of broccoli, chop them smaller.
- Bring the soup back a slight boil then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat for 12-15 minutes.
- Stir in the vegan cheese and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes or until melted.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper to preference.
- Divide into serving bowls and top with extra vegan cheese, fresh parsley, and chili flakes. Serve with fresh bread!
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