I love a super green soup – a wholesome one that leaves you satisfied as any comforting meal should. And this pea and broccoli soup is just that, comfort in a bowl of green goodness.
What I love most about this easy plant-based broccoli and pea soup recipe is the contrast between the fresh, vibrant green vegetable soup and the creamy cashew sauce.
Instead of using cashews for a creamy vegan soup base, it becomes a topping to create different textures and flavours with each bite.
But you can also stir the cashew cream into the soup before blending to create a creamier soup. Or opt for a dollop of yoghurt or tahini instead.
Why you’ll love pea and broccoli soup
This broccoli and pea soup is a nourishing and comforting meal that comes together in no time. There are many reasons to love this quick and easy soup recipe:
- It’s wholesome and hearty: The soup is packed with wholesome ingredients like peas, broccoli, onions, garlic and fresh basil.
- It’s naturally gluten-free and vegan: This soup is perfect for those with dietary restrictions.
- It’s easy to make: The recipe requires minimal effort and comes together with just a few simple ingredients.
- It’s delicious and comforting: The combination of green peas and broccoli creates a creamy and flavourful soup that is sure to please.
- It’s versatile and freezer-friendly: You can easily adapt this soup to your tastes. And it’s ideal for meal prep. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
Broccoli pea soup ingredients & substitutes
This flavourful soup is a convenient weeknight dinner, especially if you have frozen veggies ready to go.
It is also a forgiving recipe. So, go ahead and swap and substitute ingredients based on what you have at home.
- Olive oil: I prefer to sauté with olive oil, but you can use coconut oil or your preferred sautéing oil.
- Onion: A standard yellow onion gives your vegetable broth the flavour boost it needs. But you can also use shallots or spring onions.
- Garlic: It’s always fresh garlic cloves for me. But if you prefer the convenience of shop-bought minced garlic, go ahead and use that.
- Broccoli: The recipe uses a whole head of broccoli, but you can use pre-cut broccoli florets to save time. Use roughly 14 ounces (400 grams). Or use frozen broccoli. I always have a freezer bag with broccoli for a healthy dinner emergency!
- Vegetable stock: You can use any light stock. Vegetable broth works well, but so does chicken stock. Or, if you don’t have any, substitute water.
- Peas: Frozen peas are a convenient ingredient to have around. It adds sweetness and a vibrant Spring green colour to the broccoli soup. You can use fresh peas too. Or omit the sweet peas if you want a super low-carb vegan broccoli soup.
- Basil: Fresh basil adds a vibrant green colour and refreshing flavour punch. You can also stir through basil pesto and add a drizzle to the final soup if you have some on hand. I like to freeze plant-based basil pesto in ice cube trays – try this vegan basil pesto. Alternatively, fresh mint also works well in the soup base, or sprinkle the soup with finely chopped parsley or other fresh herbs before serving.
- Lemon: You know I love lemon. I use the zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. But you can add a splash of apple cider vinegar instead.
Optional toppings for broccoli soup
Top the beautiful green soup with something crunchy, something acidic and something creamy.
My favourite combination is toasted sunflowers, lemon zest and cashew cream, but you can use any combination that satisfies your tastebuds (and your pantry).
- Cashew cream: You can also use coconut cream, sour cream, yoghurt or tahini to drizzle over the soup. See how to make cashew cream in the next section. Or learn how to make tahini from sesame seeds.
- Sunflower seeds: I love a crunchy element with any soup. Sunflower seeds and broccoli are a perfect match in my mind. But you can try other toasted nuts or homemade croutons.
- Lemon zest: If you use tahini instead of cashew cream, top the soup with a sprinkle of sumac for the acidic kick.
You can also try a dollop of Greek yoghurt with crunchy croutons, toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
How to make cashew cream
The cashews need to soak for at least 30 minutes before blending. You can also soak them overnight in cold water.
I love nutritional yeast, not just for the extra plant-based protein but also for the delicious umami, cheese-like flavour. However, you can leave it out if you don’t have any (or don’t like it).
Cashew cream ingredients:
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes or powder (optional)
Add one cup of raw, unsalted cashews to a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water by at least 5 cm (2 inches). Soak for 30 minutes or longer while you prep your ingredients.
Alternatively, cover the nuts with cold water and leave them to soak overnight.
Drain the cashews and add them to a blender with one cup of fresh water and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Blend on high until smooth – about one minute in a high-speed blender or longer in a regular or immersion blender.
If your cashew cream is grainy, allow it to sit for a while longer and blend again. It will turn into a light and creamy sauce.
Store leftover cashew cream in a sealed container. Refrigerate for three days or freeze for two months. Use it instead of coconut milk or dairy cream in cooking (but not for whipping cream).
How to make pea and broccoli soup
This easy recipe is very adaptable.
I love the contrast between the vibrant green broccoli soup, the richness of the cashew cream and the crunchy toasted seeds.
But if you prefer a super creamy soup, blend half a cup of cashew cream into the soup instead of drizzling it over. And tada, creamy broccoli soup!
If you don’t have shop-bought cashew cream, start by making the cashew cream, it needs time to soak.
Step 1. Ingredient prep
How you slice your broccoli is not that important. But it helps to remove any tough, fibrous broccoli stems to ensure a creamy texture for the blended soup. Smaller pieces of broccoli are also easier to blend.
First, cut the fresh broccoli florets from the broccoli crown.
The thick stem is delicious, so don’t discard this bit! Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to remove the outer fibrous layer of the stalk.
Then roughly chop the small broccoli florets and inner stalk with a knife, or use a food processor.
You can also use frozen broccoli. I like to have a freezer bag of chopped, blanched and frozen broccoli ready for this soup. Add the broccoli straight from frozen.
Step 2. Cook the soup
Place a large soup pot or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add the onion and sweat until it starts to soften (about five minutes) before adding the garlic. Cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chopped broccoli, veggie broth, and water.
Cover and cook for eight minutes or until the broccoli is soft and still green.
Add one teaspoon of salt along with the frozen peas. Stir to defrost the peas without overcooking them, only about one minute.
Add a cup of cashew cream now if you want vegan creamy broccoli soup. Or wait for the finished soup to drizzle with cashew cream as I do.
Step 3. Blend the soup
Remove the soup pot from the heat while the veggies are still bright green, and add two large handfuls of basil leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Sticking an immersion blender (stick blender) straight into your pot works best to puree soups.
You can also use a regular or high-speed blender for an extra-smooth soup. Just allow the soup to cool a bit before transferring it to your blender. Always be super careful when blending hot liquids!
I like the soup thick and creamy in texture, but you can add boiling water or warm broth if you prefer a thinner soup.
Then taste and season with more salt or lemon juice.
Serving suggestions for broccoli soup
The soup serves two people as a generous main course or four as a starter portion.
Divide the broccoli soup between two to four bowls, and top with a drizzle of cashew cream, toasted sunflower seeds, the reserved basil leaves, and lemon zest.
Finish with freshly ground black pepper and a final drizzle of olive oil.
And serve your delicious soup with crusty bread.
How to store leftover broccoli soup
This green soup mostly retains its vibrant colour in the fridge (or freezer), though it may dull ever-so-slightly
But the flavour stays fresh and sweet.
Scoop leftover soup into an airtight container and refrigerate for three days. Store the cashew cream separately if you want to drizzle it over the soup after reheating.
Frequently asked questions
Traditional cream of broccoli soup can curdle when reheated. So, always allow classic broccoli soup to defrost thoroughly before gently reheating it while stirring. But this green dairy-free broccoli soup is ideal for freezing. Make a double batch and store leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
Bulk leftover broccoli soup up by adding cooked green vegetables like spinach, zucchini (courgettes/baby marrow), or more broccoli and peas before blitzing again. Or use leftover broccoli soup as a pasta sauce. Reheat the soup in a pan and toss with cooked pasta, then top with lightly toasted pine nuts or breadcrumbs.
- 1 head of broccoli*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to serve
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 handfuls basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
To serve (optional)
- cashew cream*, or coconut cream or tahini
- toasted sunflower seeds
- lemon zest
- black pepper
- Cut the broccoli florets from the crown. Use a sharp knife to remove the fibrous outer layer of the stem and cut the soft inner stem into small pieces.
- Put two tablespoons of olive oil into a large pot or dutch oven and place it on medium heat. Add the onion and sweat until they are soft and translucent (about five minutes) before adding the garlic. Cook for another two minutes.
- Add the chopped broccoli, vegetable stock and water. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Cover and cook for 8 minutes or until the broccoli is soft.
- Add one teaspoon of salt along with the frozen peas. Stir to defrost the peas without overcooking them, only about one minute. Then add the basil and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Remove the pot from the heat and blitz with an immersion blender. Add boiling water or warm veggie broth if the soup is too thick for your liking soup. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with more salt and lemon juice.
- Drizzle generously with cashew cream, and top with the toasted sunflower seeds, reserved basil leaves, and lemon zest.
- Finish with a generous grind of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. And serve with crusty bread.
- You can also use pre-cut or frozen broccoli florets. Use roughly 14 ounces (400 grams). There is no need to defrost frozen broccoli first.
- Add raw sunflower seeds to a hot, dry pan to toast them for a minute. Just keep an eye on them to avoid burning.
- If you can’t find cashew cream in the grocery store, see how to make cashew cream. Or use yoghurt, tahini or coconut cream.
- The broccoli pea soup serves two as a generous main or four as an appetiser.