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A Cheesy, Creamy Broccoli Soup That Just So Happens to Be Vegan

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One of my first and most memorable kitchen disasters—and I mean a truly failed recipe, not just something that needed tweaking—was a vegan broccoli soup that I totally overwhelmed with lemon.

My mother, who was more than committed to supporting my budding kitchen adventures, took barely three spoonfuls before giving up. I really, really love lemon (and I still use it with a heavy hand), but I didn't know how to balance one taste with others at the time. The soup I created was all sourness, without any salt or garlic or savoriness to offset the pucker punch.

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That was about seven years ago, and in the time since I've learned a lot about balance—not only balance of flavors or tastes, but also balancing vegan ingredients in order to prepare well-rounded, satisfying meals.

Balance is the theme of my new cookbook, Power Plates. It's technically a collection of vegan recipes that each contain a satisfying balance of macronutrients, but it's also representative of other balances I've struck as a home cook—between healthfulness and indulgence, ease and effort, and, of course, a variety of tastes.

Broccoli's back and better than ever.
Broccoli's back and better than ever. Photo by Bobbi Lin

It felt only right that I give broccoli soup another try for the collection, being mindful of harmony this time around. The reimagined soup is equal parts garlicky, savory, and cheesy, with a judicious hint of lemon. To add some texture (and plant-based protein), I top it with sweet and smoky roasted chickpeas. (PSA: the chickpeas are great in salads or served over savory oats, so you may want to make a double batch).

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The soup has become a favorite since I first tested it for the book: it's undeniably comfort food, especially if you serve it with toast, which I always do. But you can pat yourself on the back about the fact that it's mostly a bowl of pureed veggies. Balance at its finest, right?

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Cheesy Cream of Broccoli with Smoky Roasted Chickpeas

C04d249c ce6c 4b53 a221 55abd824bca0  gena hamshaw by james ransom Gena Hamshaw
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Makes 4 to 6 servings

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 1/2 cups (250 g) cooked chickpeas, or 1 (15-oz, or 425-g) can, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Soup

  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) broccoli, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large or 3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 5 cups (1.2 L) low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
Go to Recipe

What are lessons you've learned over time in the kitchen? Any tips on finding your balance?

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Books, Vegan, Back to Basics, Chickpea