Vegan broccoli cheddar soup… thick, creamy and so cheesy, topped with addictive homemade pretzel bread croutons for the perfect (surprisingly healthy) comfort meal. Nut free, easy to make in under an hour and so delicious!
Even though the weather is getting warmer, we’ve still had some rainy days this spring that make me just want to curl up with a warm bowl of soup. This vegan broccoli cheddar soup is definitely my new favorite. The texture honestly surprises me every time I make it. So rich and AP creamy… you could honestly never guess that it’s pretty much just made out of vegetables! Since the soup is pretty light, it gives you a good excuse to really pile on those pretzel bread croutons!
What You’ll Need to Make this Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
Sunflower seeds: While other recipes may use cashews, I prefer to use hulled sunflower seeds to keep this vegan broccoli cheddar soup recipe nut free. Not only do they add some healthy fats, sunflower seeds help make the soup base super rich and creamy.
Onion, carrots, celery and garlic: These aromatics add flavor to the soup and also help bulk it up a bit.
Russet Potato: The starch from the potato thickens the soup without the addition of cornstarch or other thickening agents. you’ll need one peeled russet potato that’s around 6 oz. it will end up cooking with the other vegetables, so make sure you cut it up pretty small so everything softens at the same rate.
Nutritional yeast + soy sauce: The ultimate combination for making this soup taste super cheesy. The nutritional yeast has a strong cheesy flavor, while the soy sauce brings a salty element of umami.
Broccoli: you’ll need a big oil head of broccoli to break up into tiny little bite sized pieces. I like to use a knife to cut off the thick stems and then use my fingers to further break the florets into about 1/2 inch pieces.
Vegetable stock: To cook the vegetables and thin the soup. I like to use unsalted, but if that’s all you have, hold off on the salt until the end and taste before adding more.
Apple cider vinegar: this goes in right at the end, so it’s easy to forget. It’s important though! Just a little hit of acid at the end will really bring out that cheesy flavor.
How to Make Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Soak the sunflower seeds: in order to get the seeds soft enough to blend, they’ll need to soak in boiling water for at least 15 minutes. I like to do this at the beginning so they can soak while I prepare the other ingredients.
- Sauté the vegetables: First sauté the onion in a bit of oil until translucent and then add in the rest of the aromatics along with your chopped russet potato. Cook those for another 5 minutes or so before pouring in the vegetable stock. Bring everything to boil and cover with a lid. Hold at a steady simmer for about 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are very soft.
- Blend it all together: drain the sunflower seeds from the water and place in the container of a high speed blender. You must use a powerful blender or the soup will not turn out creamy. When the vegetables are done cooking, dump those in along with the nutritional yeast, soy sauce and salt. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy.
- Add the broccoli and serve: transfer the soup back to the pot and simmer over low heat, adding more broth to thin as needed. Add in the broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes or so until tender. Serve warm with croutons on top and enjoy!
The Best Croutons…
This is one of those soups that is good on its own, but really good with a few croutons on top. Especially pretzel bread croutons. The only vegan pretzel rolls that I’m able to find is this Pretzilla brand. Not sponsored or anything, just that seems to be the only one. If you can’t find pretzel bread, a nice crusty loaf of sourdough would also be delicious.
Croutons are super easy to make at home, just cube up the bread and toss it with oil and a few herbs and spices. Spread the cubes evenly on a sheet pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. The croutons will keep for a while too, so I like to make them in advance.