How To Give Hearty Cream Of Broccoli Soup A Lighter Vegan Twist

As the name implies, cream of broccoli soup is a luscious blend of broccoli and heavy cream that's rich and delicious enough to convince picky eaters to have their vegetables. Cream, butter, and flour are common ingredients in any cream of vegetable soup, providing delicious flavor and a thick, creamy texture. However, you can swap the dairy and gluten for lighter, vegan-friendly ingredients to create an equally tasty cream of broccoli soup with a fraction of the heft.

Instead of cream and butter, vegan cream of broccoli uses cashews and nutritional yeast as a vegan cream. Cashews are famous for their buttery, savory flavor profile, while nutritional yeast has long been touted as parmesan cheese's vegan doppelgänger. Vegetable broth makes a flavorful base for broccoli and cashew cream, while potatoes are a perfect, starchy thickening agent and provide a comforting earthy flavor.

These ingredients are as easy to find as cream and butter and require minimal preparation. Furthermore, while cashew cream and potatoes are worthy substitutes for flour, cream, and butter, this vegan cream of broccoli soup has a more vegetable-forward flavor. Even if you aren't vegan, this soup can be a nice addition to your repertoire along with its dairy-laden counterpart — one is a hearty dairy soup to fill you up during the winter months, and the other is a lighter vegan soup for spring and summer meals.

How to make vegan cream of broccoli soup

Vegan cashew cream is an easy blend of cashews and water. Throw the two in a blender and liquify them until you have a uniformly creamy consistency. You can make the cream while you steam broccoli florets, reserving both of these ingredients for later.

The key to a delicious soup of any kind is to create a flavorful foundation. You can start with a mirepoix or a foundation of onions, spice powders, and fresh herbs fried in olive oil. If you want a better butter substitute, you can try vegan butter or margarine. Once you've fried your base until translucent, add peeled, cubed potatoes and cooking liquid. Vegetable or no-chicken broth is a more flavorful option than water alone. If you don't have vegetable broth, you can throw a cube of vegetable bouillon in with the water. A waxy Yukon gold potato is optimal for this soup; It's firm enough to hold its shape in a whole vegetable soup but also creates a creamy consistency if you prefer blended soup.

After simmering the potatoes until they're tender, add the broccoli, cashew cream, and a hearty sprinkling of nutritional yeast for that cheesy, salty finish. You can leave the vegetables whole for a light, brothy, and texturally varied soup. If you desire the classic, uniformly creamy version, you can run the soup through an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender.