This dairy free broccoli cheese soup is made with a combination of almond and coconut milk, for a creamy, cheese soup that doesn’t have any cheese at all. It’s perfect when you’re craving a creamy, comforting soup, and it only takes about 30 minutes to make. Dairy free doesn’t get much better than this.
Contrary to what you may think, going dairy free doesn’t mean creamy soups are thing of the past. They are, in fact, just as easy to make without dairy, and you won’t even be able to tell the difference. I’d even so far as to say this soup is as good as Panera’s broccoli cheese soup. It’s creamy, savory and just as indulgent as you remember.
How to make dairy free broccoli cheese soup:
To make this soup dairy free, I started building flavor from the beginning with onion and garlic. Then I used a combination of chicken broth, almond milk and culinary coconut milk for the liquid. Culinary coconut milk is basically a thickened, un-separated version of coconut milk. It’s perfect because it’s as thick as heavy cream, and it’s consistent between recipes.
You can easily use coconut milk, but I would suggest removing the “cream” part of the can and reducing the amount of “water”. I would do this by adding the coconut cream to my measuring cup and topping with water until you reach about 1 1/3 cups. You don’t have to whisk it together or anything, it should even out as it goes into the soup.
To give the soup the right color and flavory, I added 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and a little ground mustard, turmeric and paprika. And, of course, you’ll need salt. Then I thickened it all up with a slurry of flour and the rest of my almond milk. I also added a pinch of nutmeg at the end, but you definitely don’t need it.
As for the broccoli, chop it as small or large as you want. I think it mimics restaurant quality if you let the broccoli cook way-down, so I cut mine fairly small.
You can top you soup with some vegan cheese shreds, or you can go for some dairy free croutons. They get nice a soft in the soup and add a really good amount of flavor. Or, you can just stand at the stove and eat from the pot, no garnish necessary. It’s up to you.
Tips for making the creamiest dairy free broccoli cheese soup:
- Using a combination of broth, almond (or any alternative milk) and coconut milk gives you a creamy consistency.
- Turmeric, paprika and nutritional yeast contribute to a cheesy, cheddar-like color. You can skip one or the other, but don’t leave out all three.
- Don’t skimp on the salt. Cheese is naturally salty, so when you’re missing it, you’re missing out on that saltiness. Don’t be afraid to add enough salt to make it taste right.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (1/2 tablespoon minced)
- 6 cups roughly chopped broccoli florets
- 1 14.5-ounce can chicken broth (or vegetable)
- 2 1/2 cups almond milk, divided
- 1 11-ounce carton culinary coconut milk
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil to medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add broccoli, broth, 2 cups of almond milk and coconut milk. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.
- Continue to boil soup until broccoli has softened, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Add nutritional yeast, salt, mustard, turmeric and paprika. Stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour and remaining almond milk until smooth. Add to soup.
- Add nutmeg, and continue to simmer soup over medium until desired thickness is reached.