This Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup tastes so much like the traditional, you won't believe it's both dairy-free and gluten-free. And for those with allergies, it's nut-free too! For this veganized, gluten-free version, the dairy milk is replaced with plant-based milk, dairy butter with vegan butter, cheddar cheese with vegan shreds, chicken broth with vegetable broth and all-purpose flour with chickpea flour. This indulgent soup is rich, hearty, thick and creamy and makes for the perfect comfort meal when paired with your favorite gluten-free, vegan bread.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This gluten-free, vegan version stays true to the classic dish and is pure comfort food!
- If you were a fan of Panera's broccoli cheddar soup, it will blow you away how much this GFV copycat version reminds you of your old favorite.
- This soup is ultra creamy, rich, thick, hearty and totally indulgent.
- It's perfect with your favorite GFV bread or alongside a salad for an easy lunch or dinner.
- It cooks in less than 30 minutes!
- This soup is not just vegan and gluten-free, but also cashew-free/nut-free and perfect for those with nut allergies.
Ingredients you'll need
- Fresh Broccoli
- Sweet or Yellow Onion
- Vegan Butter - You can use avocado oil or olive oil in place of the butter if you prefer.
- Chickpea Flour - This is my go-to flour for making a gluten-free roux.
- Black Pepper
- Unsweetened Plant-Based Milk - I used Oatly brand oat milk in these photos, but have also made this soup successfully with coconut milk (the beverage kind, not the canned version).
- Gluten-Free, Low Sodium Vegetable Broth - I used Pacific brand.
- Vegan Cheddar-Style Cheese Shreds - I used Miyoko's Farmhouse Cheddar brand in these photos, but have also used Violife. Of course, you can use your favorite cheddar-style shreds such as Daiya or another brand as long as it melts well.
Step-by-step recipe instructions
Chop the broccoli
First, wash your broccoli by rinsing under cold, running water and patting dry. Next, slice through the broccoli stalk near where the stalk begins to branch into florets, as close to the florets as possible.
Some florets will fall off, while some will still be attached.
Remove the remaining florets from the stalk.
Then, chop the broccoli florets into small pieces.
Steam the broccoli
Method 1 (my preferred method): Add the chopped florets to a microwave safe bowl with ¼ cup water. Microwave covered on high for 4 minutes and set aside.
Method 2: You can also steam the broccoli in a rice cooker using the steaming feature.
Refer to your rice cooker's instructions for water measurement and steaming time.
Method 3: Another method is to cook on the stovetop using a steamer basket.
Sauté carrots and onion
First, you'll want to finely dice the carrots and roughly chop the onion.
Then, heat vegan butter in a pot over medium-high heat.
Once the butter is melted, add the carrots and onion and sauté until tender.
Add flour, seasonings, milk and broth
Stir in the chickpea flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg until well combined with the carrot-onion mixture.
Note that any clumps of chickpea flour will melt during cooking.
Then, gradually stir in the plant-based milk followed by the vegetable broth.
Cook and blend
Bring the soup to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Lower the heat to medium-low to medium and cook until thickened (about 3-5 minutes), stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, leaving some chunks of carrot intact if desired, being careful not to splash the hot liquid.
You can also use a regular blender instead of an immersion blender by carefully pureeing the soup in batches, again being careful not to splash the hot liquid.
Refer to your blender's instruction manual for pureeing hot liquids before doing so to ensure safety.
Personally, I find the immersion blender makes for an easier cleanup.
Add the broccoli and cheese
After blending, return the soup to medium-high heat.
Stir in the chopped broccoli florets.
Then, stir in the vegan shredded cheese.
Continue to cook over medium-high heat until cheese melts, broccoli is hot and soup is thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.
Taste test and add more salt if desired.
Transfer to serving bowls and enjoy!
Ideas for serving
For the ultimate comfort meal, this soup is best paired with your favorite gluten-free, vegan bread.
I typically purchase mine from a local baker; however, you can use your favorite store-bought brand too, such as Schar's baguette.
Serve bread warm and dunk it right in your soup or enjoy on the side with some vegan butter. 🙂
You can also serve it with some gluten-free, vegan garlic bread instead.
It's also great as part of a soup and salad lunch or dinner with your favorite side salad.
Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yes! You can freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I used glass bowl, covered it with plastic wrap and then secured with the lid. Before reheating, be sure to fully thaw in the refrigerator first.
To reheat on the stovetop, add soup to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat to medium and continue to cook until warmed throughout, stirring frequently. It can also be reheated the microwave in a covered microwave-safe dish until warmed throughout in 1-minute intervals, stirring in between.
I don't recommend using frozen broccoli for this soup as the texture and flavor are far better with fresh, but you can use it if you really want to.
More vegan comfort food recipes
- Chickpea Noodle Soup
- Open-Faced Chickpea Pot Pie
- Vegan Lentil Lasagna
- Stovetop Vegan Mac & Cheese
- Vegan Lemon Risotto
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 3 cups chopped broccoli florets (approximately 2 small heads of broccoli)
- ¼ cup vegan butter, cut into pieces (you can sub olive oil or avocado oil for vegan butter if desired)
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped sweet or yellow onion
- 2 cups finely diced carrots
- 6 tbsp chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 cups unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk (see notes for options)
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free, low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup vegan cheddar-style cheese shreds plus more if desired for topping (such as Miyoko's, Violife, Daiya, etc.)
- Add chopped broccoli florets to a microwave safe bowl with ¼ cup water. Microwave covered on high for 4 minutes and set aside.
- While broccoli is cooking, heat vegan butter (or oil) in a 3-quart or 4-quart stainless steel soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Once butter is melted (or oil is heated), add chopped onion and carrots. Sauté until tender (approximately 4-7 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Stir in chickpea flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg until well incorporated. Note that any clumps of flour will melt in the next steps.
- Gradually stir in plant-based milk and vegetable broth.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low/medium and cook until thickened (about 3-5 minutes), stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture, leaving some chunks of carrot intact if desired, being careful not to splash hot liquid.
- Return the soup to medium-high heat. Stir in the chopped broccoli florets followed by vegan shredded cheese. Continue to cook until cheese melts, broccoli is hot and soup is thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Taste test and add more salt if desired. Top with more vegan cheese shreds if desired.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs for this recipe)
This post originally appeared on Watch Learn Eat on August 27, 2019. It has been republished to reflect both recipe and photo revisions. Changes to the story were also made.
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