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Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for weeknight dinners or satisfying lunches! You will not believe how rich and creamy this dairy free broccoli cheese soup gets without heavy cream or cheese!

Ready in just 25 minutes, this plant based broccoli cheese soup is naturally gluten free, dairy free and a great way to get in lots of vegetables!

Spoon full of broccoli cheese soup over a bowl.

Why this recipe works

  • Ready in under 30 minutes: This vegan broccoli cheese soup is the ultimate comfort food and it’s ready in just 25 minutes making it perfect for weeknight meals, lunches or even as an appetizer! 
  • Packed full of flavor, even your kids will love this soup! The creamy cheesy sauce is sure to make the vegetables disappear from everyone’s bowls!
  • It’s everything that you want broccoli cheese soup to be but completely dairy free. The secret to the cheesy goodness comes from vegan cheese replacement: nutritional yeast.
  • All you need is 1 pot and 9 easy to find ingredients (you can even use your Instant Pot)! You are going to love the secret ingredients that make this vegan broccoli cheese soup super filling!
  • The best part of making soup is it tastes even better the next day, so double or triple the recipe for your weekly meal prep!
  • This recipe is loaded with vegetables and full of fiber and nutrients. You will never believe the base of this recipe is a combination of cauliflower and white beans (no cashews)! It’s creamy and delicious without any cream!
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Ingredients

  • Cauliflower – you can use fresh or frozen cauliflower in this recipe! I helps to thicken the soup and is undetectable I promise!
  • Vegetable Stock (or broth) – the broth helps to add flavor and makes the soup taste like it’s been cooking all day! This is one of my secret ingredients when trying to get something delicious on the table in under 30 minutes!
  • Broccoli – the star of the soup! Be sure your broccoli is fresh and tender!
  • Carrots – carrots are another staple for broccoli cheese soup! They add a touch of sweetness to the soup.
  • White Beans (or Soaked Cashews) – these are the secret ingredient! You blend up the beans and that makes the soup creamy without any cream! You could also use soaked cashews for the same effect if you are Whole30 or bean free!
  • Dairy Free Milk – use whatever your favorite unsweetened dairy free milk is! You could use almond milk, coconut milk (canned or refridgerated), oat milk or cashew milk!
  • Nutritional Yeast – this is what makes the soup cheesy without any cheese! You can find nutritional yeast in most supermarkets now but you can always find it online. We choose to get the non-fortified kind due to MTHFR mutations.
  • Spices: Garlic powder, salt, dried thyme – these help boost the flavor of the soup and are easy to find!
Large ladle full of broccoli cheese soup over a pot of soup.

How to make vegan broccoli cheese soup

Check out the step by step process in how to make dairy free broccoli cheese soup story!

  1. In a large pot, add 1/2 the carton of vegetable broth and cauliflower. Cover and cook 12-15 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender.

    Collage of how to chop the cauliflower and the cauliflower in a pot with vegetable broth.
  2. While cauliflower is cooking, chop broccoli and slice the carrots.

    Bowl full of chopped broccoli and carrots.
  3. Once cauliflower is tender, blend the cauliflower in the pot with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender and blend in batches, being careful with hot liquids).

    Immersion blender in the pot of cauliflower and broth.
  4. Add the remaining vegetable broth to the cauliflower puree, broccoli, carrots, garlic powder, salt, thyme and black pepper. Stir and cover for 7 minutes, or until broccoli is tender.

    Pot full of broccoli, carrots, broth, salt and seasoning.
  5. While the soup is cooking, rinse and drain the can of great northern white beans. Blend with 1/2 cup non-dairy milk until smooth.

    How to puree white beans.
  6. Finish the soup! Add the pureed beans, the rest of the milk and 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and stir to combine.

    Soup with nutritional yeast, pureed beans and the soup.
  7. Step 7: Allow soup to slightly cool before enjoying.

NOTE: If the soup is too thick for you, add another 1/4 cup non-dairy milk. If the soup is too thin for you, simply simmer on the stove for 5 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. You can also add 2 tbsp of arrowroot starch for added thickness.

How to make dairy free broccoli cheese soup in instant pot

  1. Chop the cauliflower into similar size pieces (shape doesn’t matter)
  2. Add the cauliflower and 1 cup of vegetable broth to the pressure cooker insert.
  3. Secure the lid and close the vent to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower is steaming, chop broccoli and slice the carrots.
  5. Once the cauliflower is done cooking, manually release the pressure (carefully) by moving the vent from sealing to vent.
  6. Blend the cauliflower with and additional cup of vegetable broth in the pot with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender and blend in batches, being careful with hot liquids).
  7. Add the chopped broccoli and carrots, salt, garlic powder and thyme to the cauliflower mixture in the pressure cooker. Add the last 2 cups of vegetable broth and stir. 
  8. Turn on the saute function for 4 minutes. Once the mixture has cooked for that 4 minutes, turn off the pressure cooker and put the lid on for 2-3 minutes to let the broccoli steam.
  9. While the soup is cooking, rinse and drain the can of northern white beans. Blend with 1/2 cup non-dairy milk until smooth using immersion blender or high speed blender. 
  10. After the 2-3 minutes of steaming, take the lid off the pressure cooker and stir well. 
  11. Add pureed beans and additional 1/4 cup non-dairy milk and 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and stir to combine.
Bowl full of broccoli cheese soup with a spoon resting in the bowl.

Top tips

  • You can use fresh or frozen broccoli florets in this soup. If you use frozen broccoli, use two 12 oz packages of small broccoli florets.
  • You can use fresh or frozen cauliflower in this soup. If using frozen, you will need two 12 oz packages of small cauliflower florets or two packages of riced cauliflower.
  • If you don’t want to use white beans, and prefer a lower carb, Whole30 friendly soup, you should try my Low Carb Cheesy Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup or you can used soaked cashews in place of the beans!
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What can you serve with this soup

This vegan broccoli cheese soup is incredibly filling but low in calories! Make it a complete meal with:

FAQs

What if I don’t have an immersion blender

I like to use the immersion blender for this soup because I hate spooning hot liquid into the blender and I also worry about the mixture exploding in my face from the pressure that builds in the blender (this happened to me when we were cooking in the professional kitchen).

However, you can use a traditional blender (with caution). To be safe with a traditional blender, carefully spoon in the cooked cauliflower and hot liquid into the blender, being sure to not overfill the blender.

Take the small plastic top out of the blender (or find another way to vent the top if possible). You will want to cover that hole at the top of the blender with a clean kitchen towel to avoid it exploding on the ceiling.

If you cannot vent the blender, only transfer about 1/3 of the soup to the blender at a time and blend until smooth in batches.

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses (do not confuse this with brewers yeast, they are not the same). Nutritional yeast is a staple in most vegan pantry’s because it has a great nutty, cheesy flavor and it’s a great source of Vitamin B-12. You can find nutritional yeast in most grocery stores now (I usually get it at Trader Joe’s) or online!

NOTE: If you have an MTHFR mutation you will want to buy a non-fortified brand of nutritional yeast as you will not be able to use the B-12 that is added to the yeast.

What are the best white beans to use

Most white beans are tender and easy to blend into a creamy base for this vegan broccoli cheese soup. Be sure to rinse and drain the beans well to get all the canning liquid off of them. If you make the beans yourself in the instant pot or on the stove, be sure to drain them before measuring, you will need about 1.5 cups.

Here are some of my favorite kinds of white beans to use in this vegan broccoli soup:

-Cannellini beans
-Great Northern White Beans
-Navy Beans
-Large or small lima beans

How to soak cashews

It’s important to soak raw cashews in water before blending so they are able to get smooth and creamy! Here are the 4 ways to soak cashews that work every time!

Counter: This is the easiest but most time consuming method. You just cover the raw cashews in water and allow them to sit on the counter for 4-8 hours until softened. Drain the liquid from soaking before using.
Pour over boiling water: Bring water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the cashews and allow them to soak for 5-10 minutes until soft. Carefully drain off the liqudi from soaking before using.
Microwave: Add enough water to just cover the cashews (be sure to use a large cup that can hold a lot of volume). Microwave the cashews for 2 minutes (the water will start to boil in the cup). Allow the cashews to sit in the microwave for 5 minutes after done cooking (they will be hot). Carefully remove the cashews with a pot holder and drain off the water.
Stove: Add cashews and water to a small pot on the stove. Bring to a boil. Once bolinig, turn off the heat and allow to soak for 5 minutes. Carefully drain off the water.

Storing leftovers

Fridge: This dairy free broccoli soup is actually even better the next day, so be sure to make extra! It lasts for about 4 days in the fridge in a well-sealed container. I like to store soup in quart size mason jars in the fridge for easy storage and pouring into bowls!

Freezer: The broccoli in the soup will likely become mushy when reheating from frozen, making the texture very different. However the flavor will still be excellent so I recommend you puree the soup smooth before freezing for best results. Once smooth, freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 1 month. I love using these cubes to freeze in 1 cup portions!

Bowl of broccoli cheese soup with a spoon to the left of the bowl.

Substitutions

  • Broccoli: The broccoli can be substituted with cauliflower if needed.
  • Cauliflower: The cauliflower can be substituted with 2 peeled and diced russet potatoes to help create that creamy base.
  • Nutritional Yeast: Can’t have nutritional yeast? You can use a non-dairy cream cheese such as Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese. You will need between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of dairy free cream cheese based on how cheesy you want the soup to taste! You may also want to add 1 tbsp. dijon mustard to give it a nice tang.
  • White Beans: You can use soaked cashews or one large cooked russet potato (peeled) to make soup creamy instead of beans. The easiest way to soak cashews is to cover them with water and let them sit on the counter for 8 hours. If you don’t have that kind of time, you can cook them covered in water for 2 minutes in the microwave or 3 minutes in boiling water on the stove.
  • Vegetable broth: You can use vegetable stock, chicken stock or bone broth in place of the vegetable broth. You could also use water however it will not be as flavorful.
  • Garlic Powder: If you cannot have garlic, you can omit it or use 1 tablespoon of garlic olive oil in place of the garlic powder.
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Spoon full of broccoli cheese soup over a bowl.

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup

One pot, healthy vegan broccoli cheese soup is the perfect lunch or dinner recipe! This broccoli cheese soup only takes 25 minutes, and is packed with added veggies, fiber and protein! Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and delicious!
4.83 from 40 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free broccoli cheese soup, vegan broccoli cheese soup
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 4

Guided Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower - removed from thick stalk and cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups organic vegetable stock - 1 box
  • 1 medium head broccoli - removed from thick stalk, cut into small bite size pieces
  • 2 medium organic carrots, sliced
  • 1 15 oz. can organic northern white beans (about 1.5 cup beans) or 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 3/4 cups dairy free milk, unsweetened, divided
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large pot, add 1/2 the carton of vegetable broth and cauliflower. Cover and cook 12-15 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender.
  • While cauliflower is cooking, chop the broccoli and slice the carrots.
  • Once cauliflower is tender, blend the cauliflower in the pot with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender and blend in batches, being careful with hot liquids).
  • To the cauliflower puree, add the remaining vegetable broth, broccoli, carrots, garlic powder, salt, and thyme. Stir and cover for 7 minutes, or until broccoli is tender.
  • While soup is cooking, rinse and drain the can of northern white beans. Blend with 1/2 cup non-dairy milk until smooth.
  • Add beans and additional 1/4 cup non-dairy milk to the soup once the broccoli is tender.
  • Add 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and stir to combine.
  • Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

Notes

Tips: 
  • If the soup is too thick for you, add another 1/4 cup non-dairy milk. If the soup if  is too thin for you, simply simmer on the stove for 5 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
  • You can use fresh or frozen broccoli or cauliflower in this recipe. 
  • If you do not have cauliflower, you can use 1-2 russet potatoes (peeled and cubed) to get the same creamy texture. 
  • Be sure to soak the cashews if you want to use them in place of the white beans to make this soup Whole30 compliant. See the notes in the post on how to soak cashews. 
  • If you have an MTHFR mutation, be sure to buy a non-fortified nutritional yeast. 
How to make Broccoli and Cheese Soup in the Instant Pot
  • Remove the leaves and the thick stalk of the cauliflower. Chop the cauliflower into similar size pieces (shape doesn’t matter)
  • Place a steamer basket into the pressure cooker. Add the cauliflower to the steamer basket and add 1 cup of vegetable broth.
  • Secure the lid and close the vent to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is steaming, chop broccoli and slice the carrots.
  • Once the cauliflower is done cooking, manually release the pressure (carefully) by moving the vent from sealing to vent. Use a long wooden spoon to keep your fingers away from the steam. Carefully remove the steamer basket full of cauliflower from the pressure cooker. Leave the vegetable broth in the instant pot. 
  • Blend the cauliflower with and additional cup of vegetable broth in the pot with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender and blend in batches, being careful with hot liquids).
  • Add the chopped broccoli and carrots, salt, garlic powder and thyme to the cauliflower mixture in the pressure cooker. Add the last 2 cups of vegetable broth and stir. 
  • Turn on the saute function for 4 minutes to heat up the mixture. Cook for 4 minutes and then turn off the pressure cooker. Putt the lid on and allow it to steam 2-3 minutes. 
  • While the soup is cooking, rinse and drain the can of northern white beans. Blend with 1/2 cup non-dairy milk until smooth using immersion blender or high speed blender. 
  • After the pressure is removed, take the lid off and stir well. Add the bean mixture along with nutritional yeast and the additional milk.
Storage:
  • Fridge: Store in an airtight container (I love mason jars for this) in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: The broccoli will break down with freezing. It’s recommended that you puree the soup for the best overall texture after freezing. Freeze in freezer safe container for 1 month. 
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
103
Fat
 
1
g
Carbohydrates
 
17
g
Fiber
 
7
g
Sugar
 
4
g
Protein
 
8
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?Let others know by rating and leaving a comment below!

Recipe Rating




Laura

Monday 14th of March 2022

So good and simple to make! My new go-to recipe.

Lindsay Janine Barclay

Thursday 24th of February 2022

I don't like cauliflower and I couldn't taste it. I love that the broccoli and carrots were not pureed. The soup was so creamy and delicious

organicsoul

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

Vegan broccoli soup is wonderful, It’s wonderful!

Kara

Saturday 30th of January 2021

I’m vegan and my son is vegetarian and this is one thing we always agree on. He is obsessed with this soup. Thanks so much for posting!

S. C.

Sunday 27th of December 2020

I have to twist my family's arms to try anything I make... this soup blew them away. It's wonderful!