This vegan broccoli cheddar soup recipe is a big bowl of comfort food for the rainiest of days. Made with a few simple ingredients like carrots, potato, broccoli, nutritional yeast, and coconut milk. Serve it up with some crunchy croutons and a sprinkle of paprika.
The last few rainy and cold days here in Chicago had me craving soup! What’s your favorite soup on a rainy day? It has been ages since I had a good bowl of broccoli cheddar soup so I thought I would recreate a vegan cheesy broccoli soup recipe I could share here. (That broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl from Panera Bread was my fave before going vegan!)
I’ll show you my secret to getting the ultimate creamy soup with just 3 easy to find ingredients and one simple trick. You won’t even miss the cheese! It’s got all the cozy vibes you want from a creamy soup. If I’m not making this broccoli soup, some of my other go-to soups are this butternut squash and red pepper soup, vegan chicken noodle soup, or my creamy carrot soup.
Why You’ll Love this Dairy Free Broccoli Soup
- Tastes rich and creamy just like a traditional broccoli cheese soup but without the dairy.
- Great for meal prep and packing for work and also freezes well if you want to save leftovers for future meals.
- This delicious soup recipe is vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and nut free.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Broccoli: Chop your fresh broccoli florets into smaller pieces than you would if roasting it in a pan because it makes the soup easier to eat. (It’s hard to pick up big pieces of broccoli with a spoon!) You can use frozen broccoli as well – no need to thaw it either, just toss it frozen into the pot to cook with the rest of the soup.
- Potato & Carrots: Adds extra creaminess as well as color to this soup. I usually use russet potatoes, but most any variety will work.
- Coconut Milk: I usually use full fat canned coconut milk for extra richness, but you could also use lite canned coconut milk or unsweetened, plain soy milk. I wouldn’t recommend other non-dairy milk options like almond milk as it doesn’t have enough fat for that indulgent, creaminess you want.
- Nutritional Yeast: Adds the “cheesiness” flavor to this soup without dairy cheese.
- Vegetable Broth: Use a low sodium veggie broth if you need to monitor your salt intake.
- Soy Sauce & Smoked Paprika: Add umami and a little saltiness to this soup.
- Vegan Cheese: Use your favorite brand of vegan cheddar cheese.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Make Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Step One: Steam the potato and carrot until fork tender in a steamer basket on the stovetop.
Step Two: Add the steamed potato/carrot to a blender with some broth, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, and red wine vinegar to a high speed blender and puree until smooth.
Step Three: Meanwhile, cook the onion and broccoli together over medium heat in a large dutch oven and then add the broth and coconut milk.
Step Four: Once that is simmering, you’ll stir in the carrot/potato puree and bring to a simmer again over medium-low heat.
Step Five: Transfer 1/2 of the soup to the blender and puree or use an immersion blender to puree some of the soup. (Can puree fully if you like a smooth soup.)
Step Six: Add the blended soup back to the pot with the rest of the soup and stir. Stir in some vegan cheese shreds and top with homemade croutons.
- Don’t over blend: When blending together the steamed carrots and potato, limit your blending time to 30 seconds or less. (Just enough to make it smooth.) Potatoes can get gluey in the blender if they are blended too long.
- Don’t toss your broccoli stems: Peel the stems so that you are left with the tender core and chop up with the rest of your broccoli. You won’t even be able to tell they are there in the finished soup!
- Chunky vs smooth soup: I like to puree only half of my soup so that there are still whole pieces of broccoli. If you prefer a smooth soup, just blend all of the soup.
I like using canned coconut milk in this recipe to really punch up the richness. A traditional broccoli cheddar soup has heavy cream or half and half so the coconut milk adds that same richness. You can’t taste the coconut in the finished soup (at least I can’t!), but if you are a coconut-hater, you can sub plain, unsweetened soy milk and it is just as tasty. I haven’t tried it with all the plant-based milk varieties but soy and coconut are the richest of the bunch and likely the best options for this soup. Not vegan? Go ahead and use dairy milk if you aren’t a fan of coconut milk.
Yes, you can substitute lite coconut milk for full fat. It still adds creaminess to the soup, but is lower in saturated fat.
I like to puree the carrots and potato in my, but you don’t have to have a high powered blender for that step. Since there are no cashews and your carrots and potatoes should be falling apart after steaming, any blender or food processor should be able to handle it.
Yes! Just use tamari instead of soy sauce to make a gluten free version of this soup.
Yes, this broccoli soup does freeze well. I like to portion the cooled soup into individual portions and freeze in airtight containers. You can keep this soup in the freezer for up to 6 months. Allow the soup to thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop or microwave.
Yes! If you don’t have fresh broccoli you can substitute with the same amount of frozen broccoli. If using frozen, there’s no need to thaw – just add the frozen broccoli straight into the pot as it will cook with the rest of the soup.
What to Use as a Nutritional Yeast Substitute
I have been asked a few times if you can make this vegan broccoli cheese soup without the nutritional yeast. I prefer this recipe with nutritional yeast, and recommend using it if you can. It is relatively inexpensive, but if you’re not sure you are going to use it much – you can usually find it in the bulk bins at the grocery store.
If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you can use 1/2 cup of vegan shredded cheddar cheese in that step. If you aren’t vegan, you can use regular cheddar cheese if you wish. Check out my nutritional yeast substitutes post for even more options!
What Goes with Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Topping Suggestions: croutons, vegan cheese shreds, crumbled saltine crackers, oyster crackers, coconut bacon, chopped green onion, drizzle of olive oil, or red pepper flakes.
- To Serve on the Side: One recipe makes enough for 5 large filling bowls of soup and the leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I love pairing my soup with a hunk of crusty bread, a sandwich or wrap like this buffalo tempeh wrap. Soup and salad is also a classic combo. This soup would be delicious paired with this easy kale apple walnut salad or this blood orange moroccan salad.
More Recipes You’ll Love
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Broccoli Soup (Vegan)
This vegan broccoli cheddar soup is a big bowl of comfort food for the rainiest of days. Serve it up with some crunchy croutons and a sprinkle of paprika.
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Fill a saucepan with 1″ water and add steamer basket. Bring to a boil and add the carrots and potato to the steamer basket. Cover and cook until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender and allow to cool off for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, add the olive oil and onion to a large pot. Saute for 3-5 minutes or until onion is translucent and tender. Stir in the broccoli, 2 cups of the broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer.
Add the reserved 1 cup of vegetable broth, yeast, paprika, and soy sauce to the food processor/blender with the steamed carrots and potato. Puree until smooth and then stir into the pot with the broccoli. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until mixture is starting to simmer.
Stir in the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Pour about 1/2 of the soup into the same food processor/blender and blend until smooth OR use an immersion blender to puree some of the soup. (I still like to leave some broccoli pieces whole). Transfer back into the pot with the rest of the soup. Stir in vegan cheddar cheese if using.
To serve, divide into bowls and top with croutons, paprika, vegan cheese, coconut bacon, or whatever other toppings you have on hand.
- Recipe makes about 7 cups of soup.
- To store: Once cooled, transfer to airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
- Smooth soup: Feel free to blend all of the soup smooth in the blender if you like a creamy and smooth soup. (I prefer it with some broccoli pieces intact.)
- I love topping this soup with my vegan coconut bacon!
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 871mg | Potassium: 1054mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5383IU | Vitamin C: 137mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 5mg