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Best Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup

on June 15, 2020
last updated October 20, 2021
5 from 1 vote

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Creamy, cheesy, hearty, and healthful—this vegetarian broccoli cheddar soup will warm you up from the inside out.
Best Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup - On Tray

Looking for a cozy dinner that’s equally delicious and nutritious? This Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup has everything you need.

THE ULTIMATE bread-soaker. The must-lick-the-bowl classic. The undeniably delicious vegetarian soup that warms you up from the inside out.

As an environmental scientist, I am always trying to highlight sustainable ingredients. Broccoli, when sourced locally and in season, is considered a sustainable crop.

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. Like other vegetables in this category, they naturally produce insect-deterring plant compounds, meaning they do not require many pesticides to thrive.

They also have a relatively low water footprint. Broccoli and cheddar is a classic combo that allows this awesome veggie to thrive!

A dutch oven full of broccoli cheddar soup with a ladle and two bowls of soup with French bread

Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup Tips and Tricks



Developing this recipe has been a bumpy ride. I’ve had soups that split into a greasy mess. Soups that were creamy but had no flavor. Soups that were too spicy to taste anything else. And soups that were less soup, more sauce.

But through determination and a belly full of cheese, we got to this sinfully delicious soup of all soups. And I learned a lot along the way.

Primarily what I learned is that there are three main components you have to get right if you want the soup to be creamy, cheesy, and flavorful: The veggies, the spices, and the roux.

Gather Your Ingredients

Here’s everything you’ll need:

flour, veggie broth, onion, pepper, salt, garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, chili powder, butter, carrots, broccoli, half and half, cheddar cheese

Use a Block of Cheese

I know. It’s a whole extra step. Why grate your own cheese when the grocery store sells perfectly packaged cheese that is already shredded?

Well, pre-shredded cheese has extra preservatives to keep it from sticking together. And as a self-prescribed (but independently verified) cheese-aholic, I can TASTE the difference.

Green tip: Shop organically if you can. Organic farms rely on biodiversity to generate rich soil, avoiding the use of pesticides and fertilizers, which means no toxic runoff. This is still true for cheese!

I have made this recipe with both, and freshly hand-shredded blocks of cheese undoubtedly produce a creamier, cheesier, fresher-tasting soup. Not convinced? Read all about it here.

block of cheddar cheese being grated

Prep Your Veg

The broccoli needs to be blanched before it’s added to the soup so that it integrates beautifully without too much crunch. To blanch it, you’ll just cut them off the stalk and throw them in boiling water for ten minutes.

After this process, they should still be a little al dente, and they’ll retain their super vibrant fresh green color. After you blanch the broccoli, you can cut it into bite-sized pieces, or you can choose to leave them chunky.

I like a little bit of both. You also want to make sure the carrot is sliced nice and thin. You definitely don’t want raw carrot in your warm and creamy soup. Make sure to peel the outer layer of the carrot off first.

I also use my peeler to slice off super thin noodle-like pieces which I then chop. I’m actually not a huge carrot fan, but it adds extra flavor and texture to the soup that I missed when experimenting without it.

prepped veggies for broccoli cheddar soup

Let The Onions Sweat

Letting the onion cook in the butter is essential to extracting the flavor of the onions and getting them the right consistency for the soup.

Add the onions and butter to the pot over medium heat and cook them until they become translucent and fragrant about 5-8 minutes.

Green tip: Eating seasonally is one of the best (and most delicious) ways to support local and decrease your carbon footprint. Local foods have less associated transportation costs and fuel emissions. Check when broccoli is in season in your state with this Seasonal Eating Guide.

Form a Roux

The roux is what gets your Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup that perfect creamy soup consistency. A roux is just a mixture of flour and fat (in this case butter) used in sauces, soups, and gravies. I use this same technique in my Hearty Mushroom Gravy and Mac-n-Cheese!

Getting the roux right sets you up for a smooth and creamy dish. It’s important to avoid lumps, which is why I always suggest using a whisk. It’s also best to sift the flour into your onion/butter mixture.

When you’ve finished preparing your roux, it should just look like your onion is coated in a thin, equal layer of flour as pictured below.

fried onion roux

Add Your Veggie Broth Next

Once your roux is ready, add the veggie broth and give it a whisk, ensuring that any clumps of flour integrate into the broth.

You’ll add your spices and veggies and allow it all to cook together for about 30 minutes to get a deep flavor.

adding vegetable broth to onion roux

Add Your Dairy Last

Once your soup has cooked for 30 minutes, you’ll remove it from heat to add the half and half and cheese.

This is the best, foolproof way to avoid any curdling. Continue to stir until your soup is creamy and smooth.

adding half and half and cheese to vegetarian broccoli cheddar soup

Should You Have Leftovers

This cozy soup will stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for 3 days. Reheat it on the stove for about 10 minutes (preferred) or cover and microwave on high for 1.5-2 minutes, stopping and stirring halfway in between.

To freeze, keep this in an airtight container frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating and enjoying as instrcuted above.

Best Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup - Close Up Overhead

Why You Should Make This Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup



  • It’s classic. Classic flavors that never get old.
  • It’s cozy. Soup for the soul!
  • It’s creamy. The perfect consistency.

If you’re loving this Broccoli Cheddar Soup and looking for more cozy meals, check out this Mushroom Stew and this Vegetarian French Onion Soup.

Best Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Marley Goldin Course: Dinner, LunchCuisine: American
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

45

minutes
Total time

55

minutes

Creamy, cheesy, hearty, and healthful- this vegetarian broccoli cheddar soup will warm you up from the inside out.

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli

  • 1 large onion

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 tablespoons flour

  • 3 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 large carrot

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 cup half and half

  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  • Get 10 cups of water on the stove to boil and prepare your veggies by washing broccoli and cutting off the stalk, peeling and chopping carrots, dicing onion, and mincing garlic.
  • Boil the broccoli in boiling water for 10 minutes and then chop it into smaller pieces.
  • In a Dutch Oven or large pot, cook the onion in the butter until translucent and fragrant—about 5 minutes.
  • Sift in the flour and whisk to form a roux
  • Add vegetable broth and whisk together making sure there are no clumps of flour.
  • Add broccoli, garlic, carrot, and spices and stir well. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  • Turn heat off, but keep your pot on the burner. Add half and half and whisk together until smooth.
  • Fold in shredded cheese with your whisk until smooth and creamy.
  • Serve hot with a toasted baguette.

Recipe Video

Pro Tips

  • To get your carrots thin, use your peeler! Peel the outer layer off and discard, but then use the peeler to shred off thin slices.
  • Sifting in the flour will ensure a smooth roux with no lumps!
  • If you love extra sharp cheese, use it in your soup! I’ve made this recipe with everything from mild to extra sharp, and loved them all! I switch up the cheese depending on what I’m in the mood for

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