I like broccoli. They’re such a tidy vegetable. Plus they look like miniature versions of the trees from the Lorax. What’s not to like?!? Broccoli is, hands down, my daughter’s favourite vegetable, and makes an appearance on our table at least three times a week. (full disclosure: we don’t actually call broccoli broccoli in our house, we call them “bum brooms” because they’re really good at cleaning out your digestive system, like little green brooms. Which would technically make this soup Bum Broom Soup, but that’s just gross.)
Broccoli is full of fibre, folate, vitamins C and K. Oh, and the B vitamins, too, can’t forget about those. Broccoli is also really easy to obtain, year round, whether you buy it fresh or frozen.
Now, if you’ve followed along with me for a bit, then you know that I am crazy for soup. I love it in just about any form possible and sometimes I worry I talk about it too much (don’t believe me?? I’ve talked Tomato Soup, French Onion Soup, Egg Drop Soup, Butternut Squash Soup, Chicken and Quinoa Soup…and that’s me holding back!) My husband on the other hand abhorrrrrrrrrs soup. He grew up on homemade celery soup, which I’m sure is probably pretty good, but I kind of feel for him, this little kid, eating soup with weirdo celery strings getting caught halfway down his throat. Devastating. So, whenever, he asks what’s for dinner and I say soup, there’s like this long pause, as in so long that I can take five full inhalations before I hear a quiet “oh”. And then I kind of feel bad.
But that feeling passes pretty quickly, mostly because I love soup and I’m making dinner.
This Broccoli Soup is cheesy in the best way possible!
Let’s talk about this soup. This Broccoli Soup is vegan and gluten free. Now, before you go and praise me for my ingeniousness, let me enlighten you a little: making a vegetable soup gluten free or vegan is pretty easy. It takes a few pantry staples and a grand total of 30 minutes and you’ve got dinner, or a series of lunches, at the ready. So, even though, yes, I am pretty amazing, making it work for the vegans and gf’ers of the world, wasn’t tricky. But, there is a secret ingredient. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Okay, you can go back to praising my ingeniousness. This soup contains a very special ingredient that lends a nutty, cheesy flavour to the soup, without actually being cheese or even a cheese substitute.
May I present for your consideration: nutritional yeast.
It’s a thing. Trust me. But unless you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, you may not have heard of it. Nutritional yeast, or “nooch”, if you’re hip to its jive (which I am, obviously) is a naturally occurring yeast that tastes an awful lot like cheese.
Nutritional yeast is typically made from a single-celled organism,Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, and grown on glucose, usually sugarcane or molasses. Once it’s harvested, it’s dried with heat to deactivate it. This is a good thing, otherwise it would rise, and then the soup would be weird and bubbly! (as an aside, did you know yeasts are members of the mushroom family? I know right? Mind. Blown.) You can find it in your local bulk store or in health food markets. Nutritional yeast is typically yellowy and comes flaked, sort of like a fine flaked coconut.
Why you need to try it
Nutritional yeast is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. It’s low in fat, is gluten-free (check specific brands for certification), and contains no added sugars or preservatives. Most people will say that it has a cheesy, nutty, and even umami flavour. I love an excuse to say umami with a straight face. Umami. There I feel better now.
Just a tablespoon or two can add richness to soups, gravies, and other dishes, and larger amounts can make “cheese” sauces. If you’ve never tried cauliflower alfredo, you really must. It tastes just like real alfredo (thank you nutritional yeast!)
So, go, make some of this broccoli soup. Give the nutritional yeast a whirl, and bask in your mad culinary prowess.