This cheesy broccoli soup is rich & creamy but loaded with veggies and plant-based protein! Healthy, vegan, & gluten-free comfort food made in one pot.
This is my healthier, vegan version of broccoli cheese soup. Since it’s vegan, there’s obviously no actual cheese in it, but it’s still thick and creamy and full of “cheesy” flavor! The secret to making a creamy broccoli cheese soup without dairy? Chickpeas, nutritional yeast, and vegan cheese or cashews! Chickpeas make up the base of the soup, making it thick and protein-packed; nutritional yeast adds that cheesy, umami flavor; while just a bit of vegan cheese or cashews adds extra creaminess. And don’t worry, you can’t taste the chickpeas! It kind of tastes more like a potato soup. Anyway, it’s delicious and super easy to make, so let’s get started!
- chickpeas ⟶ adds protein and thickens the soup
- can sub white beans
- vegan cheese or cashews⟶ makes the soup creamy
- nutritional yeast* ⟶ adds “cheesy” flavor
- broccoli ⟶ frozen broccoli also works!
- spices ⟶ nutmeg, smoked paprika, & turmeric
- aromatic veggies ⟶ onion, celery, carrots, garlic
- vegetable broth ⟶ I always keep a jar of Better Than Bouillon* in my fridge so I can have veg broth ready whenever I need it; it’s super convenient!
One Pot Meal
The hardest part of making this broccoli soup is chopping all the veggies (especially if you’re a perfectionist like me and trying to make them all the same size). But once you have all that done, it’s really easy!
- Blend chickpeas and water until smooth and creamy.
- Cook onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and broccoli stems for a few minutes to soften. I like to cook these in a bit of olive oil for better flavor, but you can also use vegetable broth.
- Add nutritional yeast and toast it for about 30 seconds, stirring to combine it with the veggies.
- Add chickpea mixture, vegetable broth, and spices. Bring to a boil, then add broccoli and lower to simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes or until broccoli florets are tender.
- Mix in vegan cheese and continue to simmer another 2 minutes, stirring frequently to melt the cheese. Once the cheese has melted into the soup, turn off the heat, and add salt/pepper to taste.
Cheesy Broccoli Soup Tips & FAQ’s
What if I don’t have vegan cheese? ⟶ Cashews are a great substitute to make the soup rich and creamy. Use 1/4 cup of soaked cashews in place of the vegan cheese, and blend the cashews with the chickpeas and water.
Can I use a food processor? ⟶ Please use a blender if you have one. (I use my trusty old Vitamix*.) Food processors don’t blend liquids well and you will be left with a slightly chunky mixture.
How should I serve cheesy broccoli soup? ⟶ This soup is already loaded with plant-based protein and veggies, so all you need is a grain! Bread goes really well with soup since it can soak up all the liquid, but I think adding in some pasta would also be really delicious! If you want extra protein, crispy chickpeas are also a nice garnish 🙂
Use all of the broccoli, including the stem! ⟶ I know a lot of people cut off the stem and just save the florets, but the stem is perfectly edible too! Cut the thick stem off to separate it from the head, then chop the stem into similar sizes like the celery and onion. You will add the stem pieces to the pot before the florets, since they are tougher and take longer to cook.
Need more protein? ⟶ Stir in whole chickpeas, white beans, or even baked tofu! Or serve the soup on the side with a main protein dish. You can also increase the protein in your overall meal by serving some nuts on the side (they’ll also add more healthy fats and omega 3’s :).
More Hearty Soups!
I hope I’ve inspired you to make this cheesy broccoli soup! If you do try it out, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking, leave a comment/rating down below, and let me know how you liked it! I love all of your tasty recreations 🙂 Happy cooking!
Chickpea Cheesy Broccoli Soup (Vegan, GF)
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 ribs of celery diced
- 2 carrots julienned
- 3 cups chopped broccoli florets and stems separated
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth**
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ½ cup vegan shredded cheese or ¼ cup raw cashews soak cashews in hot water for 10 minutes
- salt & pepper to taste
- Add chickpeas, water, and soaked cashews (if using) to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add onions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes to soften, then add carrots, celery, and chopped broccoli stems and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
- Add nutritional yeast and stir to combine with the veggies. Add some of the vegetable broth to deglaze the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pot for any stuck pieces.
- Add chickpea mixture, vegetable broth, and spices. Bring to a boil, then add broccoli florets and lower to simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes or until broccoli florets are tender. Keep an eye on it as it may boil over. I like to crack the lid of my pot a bit to prevent boiling over.
- Mix in vegan cheese (if using) and continue to simmer another 2 minutes, stirring frequently to melt the cheese. Once the cheese has melted into the soup, turn off the heat, and add salt/pepper to taste.
- If using cashews, you can add a little bit of lemon juice at the end for some tang.
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