Easiest Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
There is nothing quite like a nice big bowl of soup. It doesn’t get cold here in Florida very often but when it does, I go looking for something warm to eat. Soup always does the trick. However, broccoli cheddar soup is one of those foods that sneaks in a lot of calories, fat, and sodium. I set out to develop the easiest vegan broccoli cheddar soup so that we can all have a hearty, warm, yummy bowl of soup on a cold day (or any day) and not have to worry about busting our calorie budget in one bowl!
Mission accomplished. Took out the cheese and the milk and the chicken broth and put in heart healthy cashews, vegetable broth, and the secret to the wonderfulness …. nutritional yeast.
What is nutritional yeast?
If you are vegan or looking to cut back on cheese for health reasons, pay attention. Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that packs in lots of Vitamin B12 and has a naturally nutty, cheesy flavor. It is perfect for replacing parmesan cheese, sprinkling on popcorn, you can also add it to sauces and stir-fry. You can find it in Whole Foods or in bulk stores, and is sold as flakes or in a powder form. I used flakes in my easiest vegan broccoli cheddar soup, but if you only have the powder, that works too! It truly is the secret ingredient here because of the hearty flavor. It gives the whole soup its cheesy flavor without the cheese!
I chose to use cashews here over any other nut to give the soup a creamy, subtle texture, and balance the nutritional yeast. I used cashews that I roasted and salted myself but you can use store-bought cashews or raw if that is all you have. If you are using raw, I suggest increasing the salt to 2 tsp or your soup will be too bland. Boil them and blend them in a blender and what you have is a vegan form of cream sauce.
Final step is to toss in your broccoli, fresh or frozen will do. There you have it, I told you it was the easiest vegan broccoli cheddar soup. Make a big batch at home because most restaurants use chicken broth in their broccoli cheddar soup (yes, even Panera!). Top it with some homemade croutons and you have dinner or lunch or brunch. Put it in small glass containers and freeze it for busy nights or lunchboxes! Love soup? Try my recipe for Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Chickpea Flour Crackers! If you are new to being vegetarian (or maybe you aren’t), this vegetarian’s guide to eating out is very helpful so that you avoid ordering soup with chicken broth in it!
Hope you love it!
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