I don't know about you, but I LOVE broccoli cheddar soup! And I'm thinking specifically of Panera's broccoli cheddar soup - so yummy, creamy, and... NOT healthy at all. I'm also thinking of the times I would even get it at Subway back in college. Yeah, no thanks.
Ever since becoming plant-based over 6 years ago, I've been recreating new versions of my old favorites, like mac & cheese, BBQ pulled pork, Alfredo, cookie dough, and pot pie (how do I not have a recipe for that yet?!)
So the fact that I can enjoy a big bowl of creamy, thick, cheesy soup without any crappy ingredients or animal products is a damn miracle. Yes, this cheesy nostalgic deliciousness is basically just a healthy vegetable soup in disguise. In fact, I didn't even use any oil, so this recipe is virtually fat-free (not that we are afraid of eating healthy fats, but it's nice to have meals that don't use any oil)!
Oh, and it's easy!
Essentially, we're doing this soup in 2 easy steps:
1) Cooking the broccoli and cauliflower with the onion, celery, and garlic to make a brothy soup.
2) Make the cheese sauce by roasting sweet potato and bell pepper, then blending them up with a few other ingredients.
I guess step 3 is putting the result of Steps 1 and 2 together.
Oh! You could also use frozen broccoli and cauliflower to make this recipe even easier! You just wouldn't cook it for as long. But I had fresh, so that's what I used!
Cheezy Broc-Cauli Soup
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 head broccoli, cut into florets and chop the stems
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3-4 cups vegetable stock*
2 bell peppers, any color, cut into quarters
1 medium or large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 - 1 cup non-dairy milk*
Paprika, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 F. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out the chopped sweet potatoes and peppers and roast for 20 minutes, or until cooked.
In a large soup pot, water saute (with a couple TBSP water, adding as needed) the onion and celery until soft, then add the garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower. Pour in the vegetable stock and cover, heat on low/medium for at least 10 minutes or until the broccoli and cauliflower are soft.
In a blender, puree the sweet potato and peppers with the almond milk and nutritional yeast. This is also where I added a dash of paprika, pepper, and salt.
Add the cheezy mixture to the pot of broccoli. If it's too thick, add a bit of vegetable stock, water, or almond milk. If you like the soup smoother, mix some of it in your blender and then add back into the soup (or use an immersion blender).
Add more seasonings to taste.
Enjoy this classic comfort food, without feeling heavy afterward!!
Please see this recipe as a list of ingredients and not a recipe that must be exact - if you live celery, use more, if you don't eat garlic, skip it. Ya know?
Pay attention to how much liquid you're using and start small, especially if you like thick soup. You can always add more later!
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