If you follow me on Instagram, then you might have seen my story the other day about returning to our home in Chicago after a fun-filled eight months in Milwaukee.
We've been living in Milwaukee (so that Dan could be on-site with a client) since late May of last year, and sadly, our time here is coming to an end.
Milwaukee holds a special place in my heart and always will. It's where Dan was living when we first started dating nearly 12 years ago, and it's been such a wonderful place to spend with Sloane during her first year on this planet.
To be totally honest, I'm not all that excited to return to Chicago. While I love and appreciate the life we've built there over the last decade, I'm ready for a change.
Milwaukee—being the smaller city that it is—was such a surprisingly positive shift for us, and it made us realize that we've grown apart from the big city we once adored.
I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Chicago, and I'll certainly make the most of the time we have left there once we leave Milwaukee this Sunday, but I'm ready for something new. Something different. Something earthier and more grounded. Something closer to nature and with a little less hustle and bustle.
Long-term, our plan has always been to move to Colorado. We both love the range of outdoor activities that comes with the mountains. But we're not totally ready to make that move yet. And so, it's back to Chicago for now, and we'll see what unfolds from there.
I suppose it's also worth mentioning that our place in Chicago is listed for sale. It's a space we've put a ton of heart and soul into and one we've loved living in. If you or anyone you know is looking to buy in Chicago, please reach out. It's a 3-bed, 2 bath penthouse unit in an elevator building in the Lincoln Square/Ravenswood area. It has lots of fun finishes and upgrades with a massive kitchen and a walk-in pantry (which if you live in the city, you know is nearly impossible to find).
Side (but serious) question: Do you like when I share more life stuff in posts or do you prefer I stick to the recipe details and get on with it? The more this space grows, the more I find myself shying away from sharing. I guess because I'm unsure if that's what you want. If you have a moment to drop a comment down below or email, please do reach out to let me know.
Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup. I mean, is this dreamy or is this dreamy...?
My favorite kind of soup is cream of [insert any vegetable or grain here] soup. And based on the LOVE you've all been showing this soup lately, yours is too.
It's hard to go wrong with thick, creamy, buttery deliciousness all wrapped up in a warm and cozy package.
It was with this idea in mind that I came up with this vegan version of a classic cream of broccoli soup.
To make it, you'll bring a large pot of water to a boil and add four cups of fresh or frozen cauliflower florets. Boil the florets until fork-tender (about 8 minutes) and set aside.
While the cauliflower boils, trim and cut four large stalks/heads of broccoli into florets and dice an onion. Heat a bit of olive oil in a large stockpot and add the broccoli and onion. Sauté the vegetables for about 8 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
Then, add four cloves minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute, or until the garlic softens.
Next, add several cups of vegetable broth to the pot, increase the heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the reserved boiled cauliflower to a high-speed blender along with raw cashews, nutritional yeast, fresh lemon juice, and sea salt. Blend on high until super smooth and creamy.
Once the soup base has finished simmering, add the creamy cauliflower-cashew mixture to the pot.
Increase the heat to medium-low and simmer for 6 to 10 more minutes, or until it begins to thicken and reduce.
Taste and generously season with more sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. I like to add a few shakes of smoked paprika, too, but this addition is optional.
Once the soup is ready, ladle it into bowls and serve warm.
I like to top mine with a handful of oyster crackers and a few grinds of black pepper, but you can also serve it with a fresh tear of baguette for your sopping and dipping enjoyment. :)
Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 heads/stalks fresh broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (about 8 cups)
- 1 large white or yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 ¾ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 ½ cups filtered water
- ⅔ cup raw cashews, soaked for two hours (unless using a high-speed blender)*
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- A few dashes smoked paprika (optional, but recommended)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and boil for 7 to 10 minutes, or until fork-tender. Strain and set aside.
- While the cauliflower boils, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the broccoli and onion. Sauté for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute, or until it begins to soften.
- Stir in the vegetable broth (it may not fully cover the broccoli florets, and that's okay), increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the boiled cauliflower to a high-speed blender along with the filtered water, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and sea salt. Blend on high for two minutes, or until completely smooth and creamy.
- Add the cauliflower mixture to the pot of soup and stir to incorporate. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 6 to 10 minutes, to thicken and reduce the soup, stirring occasionally. At first it will seem like the soup is much too thin, but just continue to simmer and keep in mind that it will continue to thicken as it cools to a temperature at which it's comfortable to enjoy!
- Taste and generously season with more sea salt and black pepper to taste. (I usually add another 1 teaspoon of sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.) Stir in a few dashes of smoked paprika, if using.
- Serve warm.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
- If the soup is thicker than desired after refrigerating and reheating, simply whisk in a bit more vegetable broth or filtered water and adjust seasonings as needed.
This soup looks amazing - totally making it this weekend! I do enjoy the sharing of life stories :)
Thanks for taking the time to offer your input, Courtney! Means so much. And hope you enjoy the soup!
I just found your blog/site.... I love it!
And it’s the personal sharing that Draws me to your site over others!!
Keep sharing at your comfort level....
I’m going to make this soup soon too... yummy 😋
So glad you found my site, Michele! And thank you for taking the time to comment with your thoughts—it means so much to know that it's appreciated. Hope you enjoy the soup!
Plus you have the ‘jump to recipe’ button at the top of your page so if ppl just want the recipe they can do that very easily.
Great user friendly site!
This is a good point, as well! One that I often forget about. You're so right—all they have to do is click the button if they don't want to read my life ramblings.
Shira Isenberg says
My family lived in Chicago for a long time. We were in Lincoln Square, so not that far from you. We even had 3 kids in our condo before we moved to the burbs! We moved to Naperville 5 years ago and I love it! Very affordable houses, great neighborhoods and schools. And there's still a small downtown/Riverwalk area that we love. Might be good to check out before heading west.
I'm so impressed that you had three kids in your condo in Chicago, Shira! It still feels like plenty of space with one little one in ours, but envisioning multiple makes me sweat a little bit. Mostly because of the lack of outdoor space. Our neighbors sometimes let their kids play in the alley, but lately we've had an increase in rats running around so it makes me a bit hesitant about that option (even though city rats are kinda cute).
I've heard wonderful things about Naperville, so appreciate hearing your thoughts on it as well. Great to know there are nice in-between options that still have a nice downtown without all the honking and hustle of the city.
Or Geneva...the sweetest small town and still has train service to the city. If you visit here, you’ll never want to leave ❤️
It's nice to know a little about what's happening in your life, it makes the site cozy and real. Best wishes for the sale of your home and for what the future brings you!
Thank you for taking the time to share your input, Joanna! Means so much to receive feedback, and I'm happy to hear that little life updates make the site feel cozy—definitely feels cozier on my end when I share as well.
I like more life stuff! I think that's the advantage of food blogs over recipe books.
Question about this recipe: how much cauliflower and broccoli by weight? It's so much easier to figure out at the store! Thank you for sharing this, I'm excited to try it and I'm sure my husband will love it.
Thanks for commenting, Nicole! Glad you enjoy the life stuff, too. Makes this space feel warmer on my end, so I'm glad it's appreciated on your end too.
Regarding the weights: That's a great question. I use frozen cauliflower florets, and it's nearly a 1-pound bag, so probably about 14 ounces in total (of florets, so you'd obviously need to purchase a considerably heavier head to be able to get that weight in florets). For the broccoli, it's probably about 24 to 30 ounces of florets, but the beauty of this recipe is that the broccoli doesn't have to be exact. I used the florets from four medium-large stalks, but you could easily add more or less to taste. The cauliflower amount is more important to be precise with since it's the base for the cream sauce. Hope this is helpful!
Greta Gretz says
New to site
Only read recipes and skip personal stuff for you polling ;)
Glad you're enjoying the site, Greta! And thanks for sharing your input! :)
Andrea Anderson says
I like when you share a little of your life! It gives the blog more personality. 😄
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Andrea! Glad that a little life sharing is appreciated here. :)
Manuela Nogueira says
Hello. This soup looks amazing and very healthy. Thank you. But make notice that nutritional yeast can't be at more than 65 celsius because it loses properties. Maybe you can added in the end for topping.
Jess @choosingchia says
Wow does it ever look creamy! Such a beautiful soup Ashely!
Eva Kowalewicz says
Ashely! I love to hear what’s going on in your life! Come to the Bay Area for an outdoorsy life! Love your blog trying to eat mostly plant based these days! Plan on trying this South is weekend!
Eva!! Always so wonderful to hear from you. The Bay Area is certainly not off the table for us—what area are you in?
Hi Ashley! I love when you share a bit more life stuff. I remember you shared a lot more when you were pregnant, and I kept coming back to it since I've been pregnant (I'm due any day now). I've found myself wondering what you've been up to since your pregnancy because I'm also anxious about whether I want to go back to being a "professional" and practicing law, or spending more time with my child and doing something more creative. Thank you for sharing your life update and this very tasty looking recipe!
Oh Charlotte, thank you for taking the time to let me know! Your input means a lot. And your comment made me realize that I never did share an update regarding my career and what I decided to do. I'll have to cover that in more detail in a future post, but long story short: I peacefully relinquished my full-time position as a psychologist to the person who'd been filling in for me while I was on leave. It was scary to let go of such a secure position but also invigorating and exciting.
With hindsight on my side, I can say with 100% certainty that it was the right decision for so many reasons. I'm so much happier in my career than I've been in a long time, and it's wonderful to be able to work just three days a week and spend time with Sloane the other two days. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have this sort of work-life balance and to be doing something that I love (most) of the time (and I say 'most' of the time only because I never want to paint the picture that my life is perfect—it's not, and it's way too easy to do that on the internet, and it's just not the truth for anyone).
Best wishes to you with your little one! Such an exciting and life-changing time.
My daughter has a nut allergy so I will be using the hemp seeds. Do I need to soak the seeds as well? Can’t wait to try this recipe!
Hi, Jamie! Great question. No need to soak the seeds, just blend as is. Enjoy!
I like the stories. Makes me feel like I’m getting letters from a friend. I can’t believe how easy this recipe looks. I’m making this for a coworker’s baby shower who is vegan. I directed her to your blog even before she was preggers.
We live near Milwaukee, just north. You’ve inspired me to go check out the city more.
So glad you like the stories, Maria! Love that notion, too—letters from a friend. :)
And yes, you must checkout the city more! You live near a great one. Our favorite spots are for sure the Milwaukee Public Market and pretty much anything in the Third Ward. Also, if you're into beer/breweries, MKE Brewing Co. is a brand new brewery with great vegan options and is SUCH a cool space. Very light, bright, airy, and crowd-friendly.
Corrie Duffy says
Just found your blog and I am so glad that I did.
This soup looks really beautiful and it tastes yum as well
I had made it for dinner last night and it was such a big hit. Even my picky eaters - kids, loved it!
Thanks for the lovely recipe, Ashley!
So glad you and your family enjoyed it, Corrie! Always warms my heart to know when recipes are picky-eater approved. :) Thanks for taking the time to come back and share!
Update: made the recipe this morning before work for vegan mama baby shower. Super simple, I doubled batch and there were NO leftovers. Everyone at the office raved and could not believe it was vegan. Lots of requests for recipe. The “sauce” was amazing. Tasted like Alfredo sauce. Are there other recipes that use the cauliflower base? I was thinking I could make a big batch and freeze for future recipes. It was THAT good.
Ahh, so glad everyone enjoyed it, Maria!! And yes, there are many recipes on my site that use a similar base, including a few pasta recipes. Here are a few:
I love your sharing of life! I’d like to throw Nashville into the hat for your consideration of re-location locales ;)
Ahh, Nashville! We've heard SUCH great things. I've never been myself, but I need to get down there ASAP.
Miriam Shipp says
Hi, I made this yesterday and shared it with a neighbor who is undergoing chemo and needs mild foods. The soup was absolutely delicious and I could have eaten it ALL. Thank you. Today’s post calls for walnuts and because I don’t eat them, I wonder if cashews or almonds could be substituted ?
Hi, Miriam! I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for taking the time to let me know!
Regarding today's post, almonds would work great as would shelled hemp seeds. Hope this helps, and enjoy!
I am already addicted to your Creamy Wild Rice Soup and have shared with vegan and non-vegan friends alike. I thought I'd died and gone to Creamy Soup Heaven. I'd used the general frame to make mushroom soup, corn chowder and oh. They're all SO GOOD. Now. Imagine my surprise when I made your Cream of Broccoli soup and it was EVEN BETTER THAN ALL THE OTHERS. Why!? How?! I don't understand it, but HOLY MOLY this is hands down the creamiest, buttery-est, most divine soup I've ever eaten. Just so I can remember next time, I added chopped celery equal to my onion, added chopped broccoli stems during the saute and waited until the very end of the saute to add the florets. I'm eating leftovers right now and probably will have it again for dinner. Thank you for creating soup nirvana!
Thank you for this AWESOME (and thorough) feedback, Heather. Thrilled to hear you're enjoying this recipe so much!!
Heather Maloy says
Soup so nice I made it twice! For real, I couldn’t make it two days before I had to have it again. (AND your cookbook just arrived!) Yay! Thanks for sharing awesome recipes!
Ahhh! Love this feedback, Heather! Makes me smile. Hope you enjoy the cookbook as much as you've enjoyed this soup recipe! Happy cooking. :)
Very delicious soup.
Glad you're enjoying the recipe, Ekaterina!
Celeste Jackson says
This soup was easy to make and so good! By all means, keep sharing your stories ;) It's fun to hear about.
Glad you enjoyed it! :)
Ever since the wild rice version of this soup I've been dreaming of a cheesy broccoli version made with a similar base. I can't wait to try this. And for what its worth, I've been on a similarly timed 8 month journey to unexpectedly find a new home. I have always loved your insight into life and how it has made its way into your site and recipe inspiration. Please keep sharing what you want to! :)
Thank you for this, Erin. It means so much to receive feedback, especially from those who have followed along for some time. I hope your journey to find a new home is unfolding (or has unfolded) in an aligned, easeful way. Sendings best wishes to you!
The soup was great. I would have preferred a bit more ‘cheese’ flavor, but as a vegan sub, it’s so, so good.
I also love the personal notes and second that people can scroll down if they don’t want to read it.
Thanks for the beautiful site and accessible recipes!
Hi, Melissa! Thanks for sharing your feedback, rating, and kind insights! I really appreciate it. Also total side FYI, this isn't supposed to be a cheesy broccoli soup (just 'cream of'), but I do have another recipe for broccoli cheese soup here: https://www.blissfulbasil.com/best-ever-vegan-creamy-broccoli-cheddar-soup/
OHHHHH MY GOD. Is this somehow even better than the creamy wild rice soup? I can report that this is sooooo incredibly delicious I can’t handle it! Followed the recipe to a tee. And am going to add to my weekly menu. Thank you so much. This will be in heavy rotation. Love how easy and healthy it is too. You’d honestly never guess. Just as decadent as the canned or restaurant variety. Please cream of mushroom next! The Campbell’s golden mushroom variety please!!! :D
NO!!! Really?! That makes me so, so happy to hear. Thanks to your suggestions and a few others, Cream of Mushroom is up next, Shawn. I have an old recipe for vegan cream of mushroom on the site (from 2014, I think?), but I've learned a lot since then and feel that I can make an even creamier, easier version.
Yes!!! Her wild rice soup like this is also on heavy rotation here as well. So good!
What a great looking soup! I love a broccoli cheese soup and make it without dairy and I am SOLD! Cannot wait to try this!
I made this soup this evening & it turned out very lovely. My three year old even loved it & told me that it was very yummy!
The only changes I made were:
1. I used almonds instead of cashews, and because I soaked them for 24 hours they were very soft. Thus, I didn't need to strain the almond cream.
2. I only had 3.5 cups of broccoli on hand, but found that a fine amount. Perhaps this is because I included the stalks finely chopped.
3. I didn't have any lemons, so I used 1/4 tsp vinegar instead, which was fine.
Next time I'll include the fried onions in the blender because my three year old does like the texture of onions.
Hi, Laurie! I'm so happy to know you and your family are enjoying the recipe. Thanks for taking time out of your day to come back and share your rating, thoughts, and adjustments. Means a lot to me and is very helpful for others wishing to make the recipe. :)
Made this soup today and it is EPIC!! Even my kids (ages 7 & 1.5 yrs) LOVED it and asked for seconds! We aren’t vegan but we have dairy intolerances and allergies in our house so I often search for vegan recipes. I mostly followed the recipe as is but I didn’t use the broccoli florets, only the stalks (peeled first) because I wanted to use up my leftover stalks rather than throw them out. Because of this though, I pureed the whole soup in the blender and it was so smooth and creamy! Other subs: I didn’t have any veg broth so I used chicken broth and I didn’t quite have enough nutritional yeast so I added some vegan parm cheese to make up the difference. For the kids, served with brown rice mixed in and for the adults, with lots of fresh ground pepper. BEST. SOUP. EVER.
So, so happy to hear you and your family enjoyed the soup, Kat! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your feedback, rating, and adjustments—means so much to me and is incredibly helpful for others planning to make the recipe, too. :)
Hello! I made this today and doubled the recipe but the soup is very watery. I have taken it off the heat to let it cool in hopes that it would thicken but it hasn’t. Any ideas/tips on how to thicken it up? Thank you!
Hi, Tracy! So strange that it turned out watery for you—typically it's very much on the thicker side. Since you doubled the recipe, did you also lengthen the final simmer time? If not, you'll want to reheat and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or so to reduce it further. If it's still not thick enough after doing this (or if you've already accounted for this), then I'd recommend transferring a small amount of the soup (maybe 1/2 cup) to a small bowl and whisking in two tablespoons of arrowroot starch (or cornstarch) until smooth. Then, transfer that small bit of soup back to the main pot and heat the soup over medium-low until it begins to thicken. Hope this helps!
I totally didn't get enough cauliflower and I eyeballed it at our grocery store, so it's a tad more of a stew rather than a soup. I went with it and added plant based butter and some boiled potatoes and it turned out alright in the end. Next time I'll have to try the right way lol! P.S: please keep sharing your life with us! It feels more friendly and less like just another cooking blog. :)
Cauliflower is seriously so hard to eyeball! Have totally run into the same predicament before. I hope you have a chance to remake it with the full amount of cauliflower next time, but sounds like you improvised like a pro. :)
And thank you for your support regarding sharing more life stuff! I will continue to do so.
Jessica Koenig says
Made this tonight and it is absolutely delicious! Looking forward to searching your sight for more recipes. I enjoyed your story as well.
So happy to hear this, Jessica. Thanks for taking the time to share your kind feedback and supportive words. Means so much. Hope you find other recipes to enjoy, as well. :)
This soup is a family favorite -it is in our regular rotation. So good, and one of my favorite comfort foods!L I add a chopped carrot to the cauliflower to give it more of that orange cheesy look, which has been a big hit with my kids. :)
So nice to hear you and your family have been regularly enjoying this soup, Laura! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts. Means a lot and is helpful to those considering making the recipe, too.
If you're ever looking for a full-on broccoli cheddar version, here's a tasty option: https://www.blissfulbasil.com/best-ever-vegan-creamy-broccoli-cheddar-soup/
THIS IS AMAZNG! So good. I actually (immersion) blended the broccoli base a little as my florets were too big. Then added the cauliflower cream base. I will definitely be making this again!
Happy to hear you're enjoying, Karen! And always wonderful to know when a recipe earns the high honor of being remade. Thanks for taking time out of your day to share your thoughts. :)
Hi there Ashley,
I don't have cashews, would soy milk work as I also only have 2 cups of stock. Would the lemon juice curdle the milk? Or should I leave out the lemon juice too? Thanks
Hi, Natalie! I'm not sure how this will turn out using soy milk in place of the cashews as I haven't tested it that way myself. If you have shelled hemp seeds on hand, you can use those in place of the cashews. If you do use soy milk, just be certain it has no added sugar or "flavors"/"natural flavors" as such additives can impart an unwanted sweet quality. Definitely use the lemon juice—needed to brighten the flavors of the soup. Hope this helps.
Lisa Cipriani says
That cauliflower/cashew base is the answer to all of my vegan creamy soup dreams. It's the only thing I will ever use and its so delicious and decadent!
So happy to hear you're enjoying the soup, Lisa! And the base, too. Warms my heart to know it's loved in other homes. Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback!
This soup is crazy pants! It's so delicious. I already know that next time I'm going to have to double the recipe. :)
So glad you enjoyed it, Lisa!! Love that description—crazy pants. :) Makes me smile. Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts and rating—means so much.