A Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup whose cheese-less cheesiness you’ll love. Get it while it’s hot!
It’s not quite “soup weather” yet here in New Jersey. Do you know soup weather? It happens after that turning point in the weather every year when the cold creeps in and hot soup becomes a daily necessity. We’ve been having some chilly nights, but overall the weather is still pleasant and mild. I know it won’t last though. That’s why I made this recipe and other soups ready at hand for you to douse Old Man Winter with when he rears his ugly head!
I really like this soup because it has a comforting texture and simple, familiar taste. The broccoli’s pungent flavor is reduced by steaming it before adding it to the soup. The cheesiness comes from the combination of cashews, nutritional yeast, and other seasonings which all work together to create such a nice flavor. I think children who otherwise don’t like vegetable soups will like this one. Serve it with a sprinkle of paprika (sweet or smoked), some crostini, or some chopped chives. If you don’t like broccoli, you can easily replace it with cauliflower.
- 500g or a little over 1 lb of broccoli (around two small heads)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 8 cups water
- 4 teaspoons vegetable broth powder, or replace 4 cups of the water with 4 cups of prepared vegetable broth
- 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup unroasted cashews, soaked in warm water for 2 hours or in boiling water for 20 minutes
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 Tablespoons flour (or 2 Tablespoons cornstarch if gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- First prepare the broccoli for steaming by separating it into its florets and washing thoroughly. Add 1 cup of water to a small pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add the broccoli, sprinkle them with a pinch of salt, and cover the pot tightly. Steam for 5-6 minutes until it is cooked, but still bright green. Drain the broccoli and set it aside to cool.
- In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft and translucent, around 5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add the thyme, turmeric, and paprika and sauté for 5 seconds to bloom the spices, then quickly add the water. Stir in the vegetable broth powder, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf and bring the broth to a simmer.
- When the broth has simmered for a minute or two, transfer some into a blender jar with a ladle (2 or 3 cups, doesn't have to be exact--just don't blend the bay leaf!). Add the soaked and drained cashews to the blender with the simmered broth, along with the nutritional yeast and the flour (or cornstarch). Blend on high until completely smooth--this may take a few minutes depending on your blender. (Be careful when blending, as the soup is hot. You may want to remove the vent in the lid to release steam, but be sure to put a hand towel over it and start the blender on LOW speed.)
- When completely smooth, pour this blended mixture back into the pot with the unblended portion and stir until combined.
- Let the soup come back to a boil, stirring occasionally. You will see it thicken as it boils. Just let it simmer for 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
- Finally it's time to add the broccoli. Chop up the steamed and cooled broccoli into bite-sized pieces (or smaller if you like) and add them to the soup along with the lemon juice. Stir and bring it back to a simmer and serve hot.