Panera, or St. Louis Bread Company if you’re from Missouri, has always been a fave of mine. I love vegan-izing all my old favorite foods so Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup felt like a no-brainer.
The process was quite simple and only took two tries to get it right. I use canned pumpkin to achieve that cheddar-like color, a simple cream made of sunflower seeds for that thick, velvety texture, and nutritional yeast for a richer, cheesier flavor (without the cheese).
Other than those three swaps, the rest of the soup stays pretty much the same. The standard Broccoli Cheddar Soup uses onion, celery, carrot, and of course broccoli, plus mustard and paprika. All of these elements are naturally vegan, so no need to adjust. I use non-dairy milk instead of milk (easy swap), veggie stock instead of chicken stock (yep, the OG soup isn’t even vegetarian) and a roux made from olive oil and flour.
Enough talk, let’s get to the recipe. You’re gonna love it!
Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups vegetable stock (I use a low sodium variety)
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3/4 cup shredded carrot (1 medium-large carrot)
4 cups chopped broccoli
Cover sunflower seeds with nearly boiling water and allow to sit for an hour. Once soaked, drain and blend with 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups water until super smooth. Set sunflower seed “cream” aside.
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 6-8 minutes. When veggies are soft, add flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Stir in vegetable stock, 1 cup water (or more stock) and 1 teaspoon salt. Add pumpkin purée, mustard, paprika, garlic powder and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce to simmer and partially cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Optional step – use an immersion blender to blend the soup before adding the carrots and broccoli, this will make the soup base extra smooth. The nutritional yeast adds some grainy-ness, so you can also just blend the nutritional yeast into the sunflower seed cream for a smooth texture.
Add shredded carrot, chopped broccoli and 1 teaspoon salt to soup. Gently simmer for 5-10 minutes, partially covered. Turn off heat. Stir in 1 cup of the sunflower seed cream. Season with salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon or so. Add water or vegetable stock to achieve desired consistency.
17 thoughts on “Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Panera Copycat)”
Broccoli Soup is divine, that’s for sure. 🍃🥦
Sure is! This vegan version really hits the spot ☺️
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Hi there! I came here to find the exact measurements for the chickpea wild rice soup and don’t see it anywhere! Am I blind, or did something happen to it? Pls help? I’m desperate to make this! 😆
So happy you’re planning to make it. Here’s the link… https://radiatefoodvibes.com/2018/11/02/creamy-chickpea-rice-soup-vegan-gluten-free/ 🌱❤️
How many calories is this per serving? Thank you!
I used raw pumpkin seeds because that’s what I had.,…. delicious!!! Thanks for this recipe and page. I’ve made 3 things off of this page and it’s a great page!
Thx so much for sharing, really made my day 🥰
I had cheddar broccoli today while out. I will have to try your recipe. Thanks for posting it.
If i cant use flour ( gluten and rice allergic) what do you recommend? I can have almond flour. Thanks
You can leave it out or use a starch slurry (like corn starch, arrowroot starch, etc). Start with 2 tsp mixed with 1 tbs cold water, add to the simmering soup to thicken it).
I know a lot of vegan soups will use coconut cream, is there a reason why you decided on sunflower seeds for the cream? Is it a different flavor that complements the soup better? Just curious!
Great question! Actually yes, I first made this soup with cashews but it added too much sweetness. The bitterness of the sunflower seeds works really well here.
This was absolutely delicious and I will be making again!! Thinking of adding some gnocchi next time!! I was just curious if there was a rough estimate on calories and macros?? Didn’t seem to find it anywhere(: