Are you a fan of Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl, but looking for a healthier option to make at home? This homemade vegan broccoli cheddar soup version is just as rich and creamy as the original, but made healthier with a base of cashews and potatoes. Plus, it only requires one pot and seven ingredients to make!
There’s nothing better on a chilly day than a warm bowl of soup, am I right? Make it hearty and decadent and it’s just about the closest thing to comfort food you can get.
Related recipe: Creamy vegan tomato basil soup
Panera used to be one of “the spots” in school. My friends and I would go there regularly because it was healthy, quick and semi-affordable. Two of my favorite menu items include the broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl and the cobblestone pastry. YES.
But let’s say you want broccoli cheddar soup on repeat at home. What do you do? Make it healthier with a few simple swaps!
In this recipe for vegan broccoli cheddar soup, here are some of the healthy swaps we’re making:
- Heavy cream for soaked cashews to a create a luscious texture
- Heavy cream for potato puree to achieve that comfort food “stick to your bones” feeling
- Cheddar cheese for nutritional yeast (one of my favorite ingredients to have on hand to achieve a “cheesy”, nutty flavor and get your daily dose of vitamin Bs!)
To make it feel like you’re serving your copycat Panera broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl, I like to toast a few cubes of bread to garnish on top. This step is optional, but highly recommended.
Related recipe: The best ever cozy vegan pot pie
Cooking tip: If you didn’t soak your cashews ahead of time, don’t worry. You can do a “quick soak” by placing them in a saucepan and covering with water. Bring to a boil then cover and remove from the heat. Let soak for about 20 minutes.
In this vegan broccoli cheddar soup, we are using frozen broccoli. I like using frozen better than fresh in this recipe because it has a softer texture and is super convenient.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup diced onion
- 4 cups frozen broccoli (plus more for topping)
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
- 2 small Yukon gold potatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Optional: bread for crouton garnish
- To prepare the potatoes, poke holes in each one with a fork and wrap in a paper towel. Microwave for about 8 minutes, or until fork tender. Let cool slightly, then peel off the skin.
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the broccoli and stir, allowing the broccoli to begin to thaw.
- Meanwhile, make the “sauce”. Add the cashews, cooked potatoes, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy for a few minutes. Add the sauce to the onions and broccoli and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree with a hand immersion blender until most of the broccoli has been finely chopped. If you don’t have a hand immersion blender, you could add the broccoli and onions to the blender after the sauce is pureed and continue pureeing with the sauce, then return to the soup pot to simmer.
- Optional: If you are roasting additional broccoli and bread cubes for garnish, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roast the frozen broccoli for about 20 minutes and the bread cubes for about 5 minutes, making sure they don’t burn.
- To serve, ladle the soup into four bowl and top with roasted broccoli and a few bread cubes.
Keywords: vegan broccoli cheddar soup, copycat panera broccoli cheddar soup, dairy-free broccoli cheddar soup, vegan creamy soup, healthy soup, soup, vegan soup, 30 minute meals, dinner
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