This vegan cream of broccoli soup is brimming with good-for-you ingredients, yet you’d never know it based on taste. Its savory, rich, and oh-so-creamy base is made with a combination of nourishing cauliflower-cashew cream and vegetable broth. Add to that several heads of broccoli, and you have yourself a detoxifying, cruciferous powerhouse that tastes every bit as good as its dairy-based inspiration.
4heads/stalksfresh broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (about 8 cups)
1large white or yellow onion, finely diced
3 3/4cupslow-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2cupsfiltered water
2/3cupraw cashews, soaked for two hours (unless using a high-speed blender)*
2tablespoonsfresh lemon juice
1 1/2teaspoonssea 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.
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.
*No nuts? No problem. To keep this soup nut-free, substitute shelled hemp seeds (i.e., hemp hearts) for the raw cashews.