This cheesy vegan broccoli soup is rich and creamy, easy to make, and a perfect paleo fall recipe. Whole30 compliant and totally dairy-free, there’s plenty of cheesy flavor but no weird ingredients!
There’s this memory I have of my childhood, a collage of moments recounted to me, flash photography prints I’ve been shown, a slice of my early narrative pasted together over time. I’m standing on the wooden chair with a blue balloon tied onto the hooped back in a dark restaurant with thrift store finds tacked on the walls.
I’m wearing a lavender dress with white trim, and my hair’s pulled half back, secured with a grosgrain bow. My bangs are heavy, my eyes are big and dark, my smile is tiny yet cartoonishly exaggerated. My face is illuminated with the glow from 5 candles, waving gently in front of me, burrowed into the white buttercream frosting atop a Betty Crocker cake mix cake brought from home.
Happy birthday to YOU, happy birthday TO you, happy BIRTHday dear Cheryl, happy BIRTHday to you…
And everyone’s clapping, and I’m blowing out the candles, still grinning, and asking my mom if I can lick the frosting off the bottom of the little pink wax sticks. We’re at the Broccoli Cheese Soup Place, aka TGIFriday’s, as we are every childhood birthday during this particular stretch. We went often, my parents certainly thrilled by knowing I’d actually eat what I ordered and by the fact I’d willingly eat something green. And for kid birthdays, they’d stand me up on a chair, provide a latex balloon, sing loudly, and clap heartily.
To this day, broccoli cheese soup is one of my all-time favorite soups, if not my hands-down forever-and-ever favorite. And what’s not to love? Heaps of rich, gooey cheese stirred into an already creamy base with tender broccoli to make you feel better about your choices. I could eat it every day, except…
Heaps of rich, gooey cheese stirred into an already creamy base with only a handful of tender broccoli to make you feel better about your choices. With fall on the horizon, I knew I had to create a healthier, dairy-free version of the American favorite, leaving out all of the ingredients that make you feel sluggish and integrating more nutrient-dense foods.
This cheesy vegan broccoli soup is Whole30-compliant, too, (and paleo, of course!) making it a perfect fall weeknight dinner on a round, reappearing as early-lunchtime-inducing leftovers the next day. And since it’s dairy-free, it’s easy to freeze!
Why this cheesy vegan broccoli soup is so good:
- I based this paleo broccoli cheese soup on the offerings at Panera and TGIFriday’s, hoping to convert the dairy-loving diehards to my cheesy vegan broccoli soup substitution.
- This cheesy vegan broccoli soup is rich and creamy with plenty of delish cheese flavor, tender broccoli, and carrots.
- It’s easy to make and comes together quickly, made originally one night when a bout of morning sickness left me uninterested in the chicken dish we’d meal planned. Instead, I whipped together this vegan broccoli soup and hurriedly snapped photos before diving in.
And oh, oh, oh. The little girl at the Broccoli Cheese Soup Place has certainly grown up.
- If you’re vegan, definitely use olive oil or vegan butter to cook your onion in. Make sure you use vegetable stock to boil your broccoli and carrots.
- If you’re not vegan, you can use ghee to sauté the onion, and you can use chicken stock to boil the broccoli.
- Start with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and work up to 1/2 cup. If you’re vegan, you’re probably super used to that “nooch” flavor! But if you’re not, 1/4 cup will probably hit that sweet spot for you.
- Add turmeric to this cheesy vegan broccoli soup for color: start with just a pinch and work up to the saturation of yellow you want!
How to make this vegan broccoli soup:
Sauté onion in a medium saucepan over medium heat in a bit of olive oil; cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add stock, broccoli, and carrots; cover. Simmer about 10-15 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
In a high-speed blender, combine cashews, water, mustard powder, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, almond milk, and cayenne pepper. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Pour into saucepan and stir. Season with salt and pepper, then ladle the vegan broccoli soup into serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
To make this vegan broccoli soup, I used…
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Best Vegan Queso Blanco (Whole30, Paleo)
- Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
- Paleo Spinach Artichoke Dip (Vegan)
- Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Soup (Whole30, Paleo, Dairy Free)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee, if not vegan
- 1 small onion diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock if on Whole30 or not vegan
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot about 2 medium
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked for 4 hours if you don't have a high-speed blender
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice about half a lemon
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- dash cayenne pepper dash
- sea salt
- freshly cracked pepper
- Fresh parsley to serve, optional
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and sauté until translucent, stirring often. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add stock, broccoli, and carrots, then cover with a lid. Simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- In a high-speed blender, combine cashews, water, mustard powder, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, almond milk, and cayenne pepper. Blend at high speed until very, very smooth. Pour mixture into broccoli mixture and stir until smooth. Add plenty of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Spoon into serving bowls and top with fresh chopped parsley.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.