This thick and creamy, vegan broccoli soup with cheesy-without-the-cheese nacho cheese sauce and crispy fried potatoes is rich, savory, and totally indulgent with zero regrets. 👏
- This plant-based soup is made from whole food ingredients and does not include any fake processed vegan cheese
- The soup and the vegan cheese sauce are dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free.
- Every bowl of this rich and savory soup is super creamy, comforting, cheesy AND packed with veggies.
This creamy plant-based broccoli soup is packed with rich and cheesy flavors.
- AND it includes an actual rainbow of veggies - potatoes, carrots, tomato, onions, garlic, and a ton of broccoli.
- AND even though I keep using words like creamy and cheesy it is 100% dairy free.
It’s really a salad disguised as bowls of creamy broccoli cheese soup which is honestly a kind of trickery I am 100% on board with. Also, let’s not forget the crispy fried potatoes. Let’s never ever forget the crispy fried potatoes.
After topping bowls of split pea soup with crispy fried potatoes, I vowed to always top bowls of creamy soup with crispy fried potatoes because it is a superior way to eat soup. Just sayin'.
The potatoes add a buttery, creamy-on-the-inside-crispy-on-the-outside texture to this soup that gives you something to chew on and makes the soup feel even more satisfying and indulgent.
Is a creamy, cheesy, satisfying, and plant-based meal your kind of thing? Perfect. Me too. Let's make some soup.
The only "rare-ish" ingredient in this soup is Urfa pepper which can easily be ordered if it's not something your local market keeps in stock. Or, if you prefer, you can leave it out entirely and add more paprika.
- Vegan butter OR vegetable or olive oil. Fat is essential for sautéing onions, garlic, and spices to create the broccoli soup base. The kind of fat you use is up to you.
- Chopped onions and garlic build flavor in the broccoli soup base. I usually use a yellow onion, but any kind will do.
- Coriander, Urfa pepper, and smoked paprika. If you're not familiar, Urfa pepper is a dark red Turkish chili pepper with a gorgeous savory-sweet-smokey and slightly sour flavor that adds flavor and complexity to this soup. It's a really good addition to this plant-based soup but if you can't find it, just leave it out and add additional paprika.
- Salt and pepper, of course.
- Sugar. Just one teaspoon of sugar boosts the flavor of this soup to a surprising degree.
- Non-dairy milk. Use any kind of non-dairy milk you like as long as it's unsweetened and unflavored. One word of caution: Coconut milk can give this soup a slight coconut flavor that's not bad as long as you know what to expect.
- Vegetable stock. I used Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base. Most commercially prepared vegetable stock brands including Better than Bouillon contain quite a bit of salt so keep that in mind when seasoning your soup.
- Potatoes. Potatoes are an important component in the soup and the cheese sauce. PLUS, topping bowls of soup with a handful of crispy fried potatoes is so, SO delicious. Use any kind of potato you like - I prefer buttery yukon gold potatoes or russets.
- Broccoli florets, obvi. Fresh or frozen. Also, this is a fantastic way to use up any roasted, sautéed, or grilled broccoli leftover from another meal!
- Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley.
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice. A bit of lemon juice elevates the flavors and fresh-factor of this soup to a degree that might surprise you. Taste and add as much or as little as you like.
- Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce. This creamy vegan nacho cheese sauce is 100% plant-based, gluten-free, nut-free, and easily prepared in 2 simple steps.
- And, the pièce de résistance... Top creamy, cheesy bowls of broccoli soup with Crispy Fried Potatoes. The recipe for crispy fried potatoes calls for butter and olive oil. If you want to keep things 100% vegan, just use vegan butter or only oil.
*See the recipe card for precise quantities.
Variations and Substitutions
- Swap out the crispy fried potatoes for crispy fried mushrooms as in this recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Soup.
- Other topping ideas: croutons, crispy pieces of bacon, sausage, or tofu, shredded cheese, or roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Use cauliflower instead of broccoli for a creamy, cheesy cauliflower soup.
- Toss in a can of beans, or a cup or two of homemade slow cooker beans or instant pot beans.
- If you want to make this soup because it's dairy free but you don't really care if it's vegan, add some chicken! If you like the idea of adding chicken but want to keep it vegan, add some frozen plant-based chicken.
- Add some cooked grains - rice, couscous, or quinoa are all delicious in this soup.
Step by Step Photos and Instructions
I usually like to make the super easy vegan nacho cheese sauce before starting on the soup and then let it hang out in the refrigerator until I need it. (You can even make it up to a week in advance if you prefer.) While the potatoes and carrots simmer for the cheese sauce, gather the ingredients for the soup.
Chop up an onion and cook it in some vegan butter or oil until it's soft and translucent.
Add some chopped garlic and all the spices and cook for a couple of minutes to let the spices bloom.
Add some non-dairy milk, vegetable stock, and a chopped potato and bring the liquid to a boil.
Add the broccoli, cover the pot, and let it simmer until the broccoli and potatoes are tender.
Remove the pan from the heat, stir in some chopped parsley and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and puree in a blender (preferably a high speed blender) until smooth and creamy.
Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup inside the saucepan.
Stir in the nacho cheese sauce and give it a taste. Add more lemon juice, salt and pepper if you like.
Cover the soup to keep it warm while you prepare the crispy fried potatoes.
Ladle the broccoli cheese soup into bowls and top with more chopped fresh parsley and a handful of crispy fried potatoes.
Pro Tip: Crispy fried potatoes are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside because they are boiled and then fried. I like to boil the potatoes before making the soup (or in a different pot while making the soup) then fry them right before serving. You can also boil the potatoes up to 3 days in advance and keep them in the refrigerator until you're ready to fry them.
Storage and Make Ahead Tips
- The nacho cheese sauce can be prepared up to a week in advance. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Or, freeze the nacho cheese sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Broccoli cheese soup reheats really well. Prepare the soup in advance and store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The same applies to leftover soup which is perfect for lunch the next day! Reheat on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave.
- The crispy fried potatoes are at their crispiest right after they've been fried. But, they are still delicious later on. If you have some leftover, just put them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. Add them to the soup before reheating.
- Broccoli cheese soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Store the soup in an airtight container in the freezer and allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave.
Absolutely. Frozen broccoli works just as well as fresh broccoli in this soup. No need to thaw the broccoli before using - just dump it into the soup pot frozen and let it cook until tender.
I love serving hunks of crusty bread with this soup, but here are a few more delicious options: soft, homemade dinner rolls, warm homemade flour tortillas, or flaky buttermilk biscuits.
If you want to go the soup-and-salad route, Israeli Salad and Vegan Pearl Couscous Salad are the perfect salads to serve with creamy broccoli cheese soup.
For a crispy, dip-worthy, side dish, these baked carrot fries are hard to beat.
Or, round out the meal with a platter of roasted beets, roasted cabbage, or roasted brussels sprouts.
What to Serve with Broccoli Cheese Soup
My favorite homemade dinner rolls are an obvious choice to serve with this soup or any soup. Same with homemade whole wheat bread and homemade flour tortillas. These are not vegan bread recipes but it's easy to swap out vegan butter and vegan egg substitutes in any of them.
And, even though this broccoli soup is basically a salad, I love the whole soup and salad combination and often serve warm bowls of this soup with roasted beets, jicama and apple salad, or a classic Israeli Salad.
Finally, small bowls of this soup make a delicious starter for a warm and cozy meal that includes skillet vegetable lasagna as the main dish.
- 4 tablespoons (54 grams) of vegan butter - OR, vegetable or olive oil
- 1 cup (142 grams) chopped yellow onion or shallot
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon Urfa pepper (*See note below)
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 cups (681 grams/ 24 ounces) non-dairy milk, unflavored and unsweetened
- 3 cups (777 grams/ 24 ounces) vegetable stock
- 1 cup (120 grams) diced potato (peel the potato and cut into bite-size pieces)
- 1 pound 8 ounces (700 grams/ 7 heaping cups) broccoli florets
- ½ cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley + more for serving
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more to taste
- 1 ½ cups (one batch) vegan nacho cheese sauce
- Crispy Fried Potatoes, for serving (*See note below)
- Add the vegan butter (or oil) to a large saucepan or stock pot and set it over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic, coriander, salt, pepper, sugar, Urfa pepper, and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 more minutes.
- Add the non-dairy milk, vegetable stock, and chopped potato into the pan and turn the heat to high. When the liquid begins to boil, add the broccoli. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, cover the pan, and cook until the broccoli and potatoes are tender. This will take about 12 minutes. Lift the lid and stir a couple of times.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley and lemon juice. Allow the soup to cool for about 10 minutes then puree in a blender. Depending on the size of your blender, you will most likely need to do this in batches. Do not fill the blender more than ⅔ full. Alternatively, you can puree the soup inside the stock pot using an immersion blender.
- Return the soup to the pan and stir in the nacho cheese sauce. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt and/ or pepper if desired.
- Cover the pan and prepare the crispy fried potatoes if you haven't already done so.
- If necessary, allow the soup to reheat for a couple of minutes over medium heat then serve in bowls topped with crispy fried potatoes and more fresh parsley.
Two things I like to do before making this soup:
- This super easy 2-step recipe for vegan nacho cheese sauce comes together quickly. I usually get the potatoes and carrots boiling for the sauce and then gather the ingredients for broccoli soup while they cook. You can also prepare the vegan nacho cheese up to a week ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freeze it for up to 3 months.
- I also like to boil the potatoes for the crispy fried potatoes before I make the soup or in a separate pot while the soup is simmering. Then, once the soup is prepared, you can quickly fry the potatoes until they are crispy, spoon them onto bowls of soup, and serve.
You can boil the potatoes for the nacho cheese sauce and the potatoes for the crispy fried potatoes at the same time, in the same pot. BUT - be sure to remove the potatoes for the crispy fried potatoes when they are not quite cooked through because you will finish cooking them in a frying pan to get that delicious crispy exterior.
You can also boil the potatoes for the crispy fried potatoes up to 3 days in advance and keep them in the refrigerator until you're ready to fry them.
The recipe for crispy fried potatoes calls for butter and olive oil. If you want to keep things 100% vegan, use vegan butter or only oil.
What is Urfa Pepper and where can you get it?
Urfa pepper is a dark red Turkish chili pepper with a gorgeous savory-sweet-smokey and slightly sour flavor that adds a remarkable amount of flavor and complexity to food. You can find it in some grocery stores, or do what I almost always do and order it. I've linked to the brand I use below.
If you need to make broccoli cheese soup right now and don't have any urfa pepper (I get it!), just increase the amount of paprika to 1 tablespoon.
*Nutritional information does include the cheese sauce but does not include the crispy fried potatoes.
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Serving Size:⅙th recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 841mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 7g