Sometimes the best way to get rid of the old is to create something new, and that’s exactly what happened when I first made this vegan cheesy broccoli soup. I’d bought a box of vegetables just over a week earlier, and my original plans for the purple sprouting broccoli had gone awry – mainly due to my own laziness. It was starting to look a little cheerless, if not downright despondent, so I decided to play around with some things I’d heard about vegan ‘cheesy-ness’ substitutes and chuck it into a soup.
To my utter delight (and relief, because I was hungry and didn’t have anything else I could eat for dinner) it was not a disaster! In fact, upon taste-testing it (and ensuring the first time wasn’t a fluke) with my sister earlier today, it actually got a “good”! This is from someone who told me “it’s green, so please don’t tell me what’s in it until after I’ve eaten it”. ‘Good’ works for me!
This is a delicious healthy, hearty soup full of protein, fibre and healthy fats. It’s light and fresh-feeling enough to be enjoyed in the summer months, but also feels a little like you’re being wrapped in a hug, making it perfect for winter too!
Vegan ‘Cheesy’ Broccoli Soup
(Serves 3, 4 as a starter)
Per portion: 299 calories | 26g carbs | 17g fat | 16g protein | 8g fibre
You will need:
3/4 cup (~115g) cashews
E.V.O.O (or alternative oil)
1 medium yellow onion
1 large clove garlic
300g broccoli (purple sprouting or tenderstem)
7 tbps nutritional yeast (~35-40g)
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 litre of water
The first step needs to take place several hours prior the start of cooking. The cashews need soaking. All you need to do is place them in a bowl and cover them with cold water, then leave for at least 4 hours! This will soften them up. There’s also some suggestion that there are nutritional benefits to soaking nuts before consuming them, but take this with a pinch of salt – I can’t be bothered verifying the science just at the moment. It’s a nice idea, but it’s not the reason we’re doing this.
When you’re ready to start cooking, you’ll be relieved to know that this is literally only going to take you 15-20 minutes from starting to eating. First add a splash (~2 tsp/1tbsp) of olive oil to the base of a saucepan, then roughly chop your onion and garlic and start to cook over a medium heat. It doesn’t really matter how fine you chop the onions as they’re going to be blended later, we’re just starting them off cooking now.
Add 1 litre of vegetable stock (or, as in my case, 1 litre of water and 2 vegetable stock cubes), a pinch of salt and liberal amounts of black pepper. How much salt you add will depend on personal preference, and how salty your stock is already. Bring to a simmer and let cook for a few minutes, stirring when you get bored.
After 6/7 minutes add the (drained) cashews. If you’re concerned that those timings are oddly-specific, don’t be – just throw them in at some point between 5 and 10 minutes of cooking. This is a quick soup and they just need to go in towards the end.
As does the nutritional yeast, about 7 heaped tablespoons of it (~35-40g). Mix it all together, and leave to cook for another couple of minutes. The cashews should be soft – I picked one up, squeezed it and it split into two.
Turn the heat off and allow the soup to cool for a few minutes. The next step is to blend it, and if you’re using a traditional blender rather than a hand-held blender you don’t want to crack the jug from the heat – something I didn’t realise was possible and learnt the hard way a few years ago. This probably only applies to cheaper blenders, so you’ll know your own, but exercise caution.
Blend the soup until smooth. The broccoli should be very smoothly mixed in, but the cashews will probably end up a little bitty, like a medium-coarsely ground meal. It will be mixed in, and the longer you blend for the finer it will get, but my point is this soup is never going to be silky-smooth. But it’s not supposed to be. In fact, one of the suggestions my sister made is that the cashews were blended less – she really enjoyed getting the odd larger chunk as they add an extra depth of texture of the soup.
Finally, pour the soup back into the pan and re-heat until at the desired temperature for eating.
Et voila! Serve with crusty bread, and enjoy! We ate ours with a delicious French dark sourdough, that I’m definitely looking forward to using the rest of.
- ¾ cup (~115g) cashews
- 1 tbsp E.V.O.O (or alternative oil)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 large clove garlic
- 300g broccoli (purple sprouting or tenderstem)
- 7 tbps nutritional yeast (~35-40g)
- 2 vegetable stock cubes
- 1 litre of water
- pinch salt
- liberal pepper
- Several hours before the start of cooking, place the cashews in a bowl and cover in water. Allow to soak for 4+ hours.
- When you're ready to make the soup, first add ~1tbsp extra virgin olive oil to a large saucepan.
- Roughly chop the onions and garlic and add to the pan. Start to cook over a medium heat.
- Rinse and roughly chop the broccoli, then add to the pan.
- Add 1 litre vegetable stock, plus a pinch of salt and liberal amounts of black pepper.
- Bring to a simmer and leave to cook for a few minutes.
- After 6-7 minutes drain the cashews and add them to the soup, followed by the nutritional yeast. Leave to cook for a couple more minutes. The cashews should be soft – if you pick one up, squeeze it and it should split into two.
- Turn the heat off and allow the soup to cool for a few minutes, then blend until smooth.
- Return to the stove and heat to your desired temperature for serving.
- Bon appetit!