This post may contain affiliate links
The Broccoli Cheddar Soup at Panera is quite a huge hit among adults and kids. It has a “comforting” texture to it, which you would definitely love to recreate at home if given a chance.
You would be thrilled to know that you can not only do the exact copycat version of this soup right in your home kitchens but also make a healthier version than Panera.
Vegan Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Are you interested to know more about this? Keep reading to know about the copycat Vegan Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe and the tips you can follow to make it healthier, tastier, creamier, and more comforting than the original Panera version.
Here, we will tell you about the vegan version. Since you will use plant-based proteins to make this soup, you can rest assured knowing that this will be a nutrient-rich dish that your family is going to enjoy. This soup is perfect for anyone known to have dairy or nut allergies, as we are not going to use any of these ingredients in our recipe.
Once you are done making the soup, make a bread bowl and serve the soup in it to give the classic Panera touch right inside your kitchens. We are sure that this version of soup will be a super-hit in your home, and you may have to do this repeatedly. As you keep doing, you may also get different ideas to innovate on this basic recipe.
Ingredients needed for Vegan Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Yellow Onion – 1 (diced)
- Frozen Broccoli – about 20 ounces
- Russet Potatoes – 2 Large ones (peel and cube them)
- Nutritional Yeast – ½ cup
- Raw Cashews – ½ cup (can avoid in case of nut allergies)
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Garlic – 1 teaspoon
- Pepper – ½ teaspoon (freshly ground)
- Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
- Veggie Broth – 1.5 cups
- Water – 2 cups
- Vegan Milk – 1 cup (any vegan milk, but unsweetened version only)
- vegan cheddar cheese – for decoration
Process of making the Vegan Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- We recommend you use all the above ingredients to get the perfect creamy texture of the soup, just like at Panera. However, in case of nut allergies in your family, you can avoid cashews altogether.
- Use a big soup pot for sautéing the yellow onions and frozen broccoli. Once they are slightly sautéed, you need to pour just ½ cup of vegetable broth into the pot and cook well. Let the flame remain medium-high while the vegetables are getting cooked. The onion and broccoli need to be very soft. After a while, you need to check if the broccoli is breaking apart when you press it with the back of a spoon. If it breaks, you can switch off the flame.
- In another pot, boil the potatoes and cashews (if using) with water. They need to be cooked until they turn very soft. Once they become soft, switch off the flame and strain all the water from them. Blend the contents well in a blender, until you get a creamy mixture.
- In the blender that contains the potato & cashew paste, you should now add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, garlic, turmeric, water, and vegan milk. If your blender cannot hold all the ingredients, blend them twice in small batches. Blend all the contents well until the entire mixture is smooth and devoid of lumps.
- Now, switch on the flame of the soup pot. You already have the soft broccoli and onions inside. You should add the potato mixture in the blender to the broccoli. To this, add the veggie broth that is remaining and stir the contents well. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes on a medium-high flame before switching off the stove.
- Serve in a bowl or a bread bowl and enjoy immediately, while it is hot and creamy.
- You can store the leftovers, if any, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Some tips you can try to get the perfect Panera kind of soup
- You can buy a big loaf of bread, scoop out the middle, and warm the hollowed portion for a few minutes to get a nice toasted exterior. Make small cubes of the pieces you have scooped out, and toast them well on a pan. Decorate the soup with these toasted bread cubes to get that Panera-like feel.
- If you want to make the soup thicker, you can reduce the water poured when blending the contents. Don’t cut down on the quantity of vegan milk, though, as it adds to the soup’s creaminess.
- If you don’t want to bite into any pieces or prefer a completely pureed soup with just the flavors of all ingredients, we recommend you blend the onions and broccoli well after being sautéed and made soft.
- You can make the soup tastier and more visually appealing than before. You can roast a few broccoli pieces to be added to the topping. For this, please preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and roast the frozen broccoli for about 15 to 20 minutes to get the crisp taste. This will give your soup the perfect garnish.
- We recommend using frozen broccoli for this soup as fresh broccoli is not as soft as frozen one.
- You can cut down on the carbohydrate content of the soup by replacing potatoes with cauliflower.
- Please don’t skip nutritional yeast, as it is used to give the soup a cheesy and thick flavor. There are quite a few high-quality brands of nutritional yeast in the market, with subtle flavors suitable for use in this soup.
- It is good to soak cashews in hot water for about 1 or 2 hours before cooking them with the potatoes. This way, they get softer quickly, and blend into a thick paste quickly.
All the ingredients used in this recipe have excellent health benefits. While salt, pepper, turmeric and garlic are known to have many medicinal benefits, the other vegetables used for this soup are loaded with antioxidants and immunity-boosting properties.