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

March 20, 2018

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.

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. 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?

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

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Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.