Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup Like Panera (Easy!)

This healthy copycat Panera broccoli cheddar soup is both vegan and gluten-free so that you can enjoy your favorite Panera recipe even if you are on a vegan or gluten-free diet! This creamy soup is extremely easy to make using just a few pantry ingredients. Make sure to check this collection of 11 best side dishes for the soup!

Panera vegan broccoli cheddar soup with green onion and garlic on the side.
Serve with chopped chives for presentation and extra flavor!

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Why You Will Love This Recipe

– This broccoli cheddar soup is vegan and gluten-free, allowing you to enjoy Panera’s famous recipe even if you are on a vegan or gluten-free diet!

– The recipe provides tips for how to get rid of the bitterness in broccoli soups.

Very quick and easy recipe. Since there is no meat in the pot, the soup is done within minutes!

Related recipe: Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Tools You Might Need

Dutch oven. Cast iron is great at retaining heat which prevents food from burning. I love using a dutch oven for all the soups I make plus you can make scrumptious homemade bread using a dutch oven! You won’t regret getting one.

Immersion blender (or a countertop blender). I personally prefer the immersion blender as it can also be used for plenty of other great recipes like 1-minute homemade mayonnaise, smoothies, and other cream soups.

Large sharp knife for chopping veggies.

Spatula.

Ladle.

Ingredients

Ingredients for the vegan broccoli cheddar Soup.

TIP: to prevent broccoli from being bitter in the soup (which can happen if your broccoli is older) freeze the florets before using, then saute them in olive oil to let them thaw.

Vegetable stock – I used homemade stock but you can also buy it premade! To make your own vegetable stock, throw some veggies into a pot (you can include onion, carrot, and garlic peel along with herbs and spices) and boil for 1 hour. Discard the vegetables and the stock is ready. Freeze for up to 3 months!

Plant-based milk – you can use coconut, almond, or rice milk for this recipe.

Vegan cheddar – if you don’t have vegan cheddar, you can use nutritional yeast instead. Nutritional yeast provides a cheesy flavor to the soup along with its nutritional value. If you don’t have either, you can still make the soup, it will not taste cheesy, though.

Potatoes – use russet potatoes.

How to Make Vegan Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Step 1 – Prepare the vegetables

If using fresh broccoli, cut the florets off of the stem and rinse. We won’t be using the stem for this recipe but don’t throw it away! The stem is edible and can be used in other recipes.

If you are using frozen broccoli, saute it in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat until thawed completely.

Chop the carrot, celery, onion, and potatoes into bite-size bits and mince the garlic.

Step 2 – Make the soup

Preheat the dutch oven over medium heat and add ¼ cup of olive oil. First, saute onions for 2-3 minutes, then add carrots and celery and continue frying for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and let the veggies fry for another minute.

Add the vegetable stock, potatoes, and broccoli florets and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the veggies become soft enough to pierce with a fork easily. Add salt and pepper to taste, then blend the soup with an immersion blender or in a countertop blender. If you are using the second option, be sure to cover the top of the blender completely to avoid the soup splashing all over your kitchen walls! You might also have to blend the soup in batches.

Step 3 – Add milk and cheese

Once the soup is blended add the plant-based milk, and shredded vegan cheddar (or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast) and stir to combine. Taste the soup and adjust the salt & pepper. Serve with croutons (gluten-free if you are gluten intolerant) or with fresh bread on the side. Sprinkle with some cheese and greens for a pretty bowl! Enjoy!

Vegan Broccoli cheddar soup in a bowl with chives on top.
Top with croutons, chives, spinach, cheese, or dill.

Expert Tips

– Sometimes broccoli soup tastes bitter depending on the type of broccoli you use. To prevent bitterness, blanch broccoli first. To blanch broccoli, boil some water in a medium pot and place broccoli florets into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds or until they become bright green. Take the florets out and rinse. Now they are ready for the soup!

– If you don’t have vegan cheddar you can use 2 tbsp nutritional yeast. If you don’t have either, you can still make the soup but it won’t taste cheesy.

– To adjust the thickness of the soup, add vegetable stock gradually. First, add 3 cups of stock and if after blending the soup is too thick, then add 1 more cup and see whether you need more!

To make croutons preheat a frying pan with some olive oil, add a few larger pieces of garlic and saute until golden brown. Remove garlic and add bread cut into cubes. Fry the bread on both sides until golden brown and crispy!

– Here is my collection of 11 best sides to serve with this soup.

Do you want to also make a bread bowl to maximize the Panera feeling? You can even make a gluten-free bread bowl! Here is the recipe for a GF bread bowl, and here is one for a regular bread bowl.

FAQ

Why Is My Broccoli Soup Bitter?

Some broccoli types will taste more bitter than others, plus older broccoli might be bitter even if the type is not normally bitter. To prevent bitterness you can freeze broccoli florets beforehand or blanch them before using. To blanch broccoli, boil some water in a medium pot and place the florets into the boiling water for 30-60 sends. Rinse and use in soup!

What To Do with the Broccoli Stem?

You can eat it raw or use it in one of these delicious recipes!

How Do You Thicken Broccoli Cream Soup?

If your soup is too runny you can thicken it with cornstarch. Add 1 tbsp of cornstarch to a little bowl with ½ cup of hot liquid (you can scoop some from the soup). Mix the cornstarch into the liquid and then pour the slurry into the soup. Keep the soup on the fire for a few minutes until the soup starts thickening.
Another option is to add cashews. Use ½ cup of raw cashews and blend them in a food processor until they turn into a paste. Add the paste to the soup! Use more if needed.

Other Recipes You Might Like

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Vegan Broccoli cheddar soup in a bowl with chives on top.

Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup Like Panera

Natasha
This delicious broccoli cheddar soup is not only vegan and gluten-free, it is also very easy to make by using a few pantry ingredients!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 183 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 broccoli head not using the stem
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 large celery stick
  • 2 small potatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 5 cups vegetable stock for a thicker soup use 3 cups and add more if needed
  • 140 grams (1 cup) vegan cheddar can substitute for 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • cup plant-based milk coconut, rice, or almond milk

Instructions
 

  • If using fresh broccoli, cut the florets off of the stem and rinse. We won’t be using the stem for this recipe but don’t throw it away! The stem is edible and can be used in other recipes.
    If you are using frozen broccoli, saute it in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat until thawed completely.
    Chop the carrot, celery, onion, and potatoes into bite-size bits and mince the garlic.
  • Preheat the dutch oven over medium heat and add ¼ cup of olive oil. First, saute onions for 2-3 minutes, then add carrots and celery and continue frying for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and let the veggies fry for another minute.
    Add the vegetable stock, potatoes, and broccoli florets and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the veggies become soft enough to pierce with a fork easily. Add salt and pepper to taste, then blend the soup with an immersion blender or in a countertop blender. If you are using the second option, be sure to cover the top of the blender completely to avoid the soup splashing all over your kitchen walls! You might also have to blend the soup in batches.
  • Once the soup is blended add the plant-based milk, and shredded vegan cheddar (or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast) and stir to combine. Taste the soup and adjust the salt & pepper. Serve with croutons (gluten-free if you are gluten intolerant) or with fresh bread on the side. Sprinkle with some cheese and greens for a pretty bowl! Enjoy!

Notes

– Sometimes broccoli soup tastes bitter depending on the type of broccoli you use. To prevent bitterness, blanch broccoli first. To blanch broccoli, boil some water in a medium pot and place broccoli florets into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds or until they become bright green. Take the florets out and rinse. Now they are ready for the soup!
– If you don’t have vegan cheddar you can use 2 tbsp nutritional yeast. If you don’t have either, you can still make the soup but it won’t taste cheesy.
– To adjust the thickness of the soup, add vegetable stock gradually. First, add 3 cups of stock and if after blending the soup is too thick, then add 1 more cup and see whether you need more!
To make croutons preheat a frying pan with some olive oil, add a few larger pieces of garlic and saute until golden brown. Remove garlic and add bread cut into cubes. Fry the bread on both sides until golden brown and crispy!
Do you want to also make a bread bowl to maximize the Panera feeling? You can even make a gluten-free bread bowl! Here is the recipe for a GF bread bowl, and here is one for a regular bread bowl.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 21.1gProtein: 2.2gFat: 12.6gSaturated Fat: 3.5gSodium: 753mgPotassium: 424mgFiber: 2.9gSugar: 4.7gCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Vegan broccoli cheddar soup panera, vegan broccoli cheese soup
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

6 thoughts on “Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup Like Panera (Easy!)”

  1. 5 stars
    This broccoli cheddar soup looks perfect for the upcoming colder months in Ohio. I love Panera’s version, and although I’m not vegan, I appreciate trying alternatives. Thank you for sharing!

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