There’s a Vitamix Cookbook version of this that uses cheddar cheese, but I wasn’t in the mood for cheese so I used nutritional yeast and cashews. I also am not a fan of their use of onion. They use 1 teaspoon of raw onion. If you use any more than that the sharp raw onion flavor is overwhelming, but with the single teaspoon you miss out on the rich flavor onion can provide. I increased the amount of onion, but cooked it first.
Almost everything I’ve read about cooking with onions suggests that you sauté them. Since I was going to steam the broccoli anyway, I was curious if I could simplify the recipe by steaming the onion as well. I couldn’t find any recipes that do this, so I decided to run an experiment. I split my ingredients in half, and made two batches of soup that had identical ingredients, but one had sautéed onion and the other steamed onion. I also added some garlic, which I cooked with the onion (sautéed or steamed).
I steamed the broccoli for ~5 minutes along with the onion and garlic. When the broccoli was done the onions weren’t ready, so I pulled out the broccoli and continued to steam the onions/garlic for another 5 minutes. For future reference, it would make sense to give the onions/garlic a ~5 minute head start on the broccoli.
I was surprised to find how similar the two batches of soup tasted. There was a slight but noticeable difference between the two, but one was not clearly better than the other. The steamed onion batch had a slightly stronger flavor, but not in a bad way; it was actually in some ways preferable, so I don’t think the sautéing step is worthwhile.
I used a pot with a steamer insert, but if you don’t have one you can just use a pot and put a little water in the bottom, and put the onion/broccoli directly in. Save the cooking water and use it when you blend everything up.
1 large head broccoli (~1.5lb)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic (optional)
1/2 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups water
1.5 teaspoons “Better than Bouillon” or solid bouillon (optional)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Makes 5-6 cups of thick soup.
Chop garlic and onion, and steam for 5 minutes. Cut broccoli into florets (stems are fine too, but if you have a long thick stem you might want to peel it). Add broccoli to steamer and steam for another 5 minutes (continuing to steam the garlic/onion as well). While the broccoli is cooking you can add the cashews, nutritional yeast, and bouillon to the blender. When the broccoli is done, save a few small florets for a garnish, and then dump broccoli, onions, and garlic into blender, along with 2 cups of water. Use the steaming water, plus however much more you need. Vitamix likes to advertise that their machines will heat soup, but I find it more practical to add hot liquids. The oil is not necessary, but I included it because I needed it in the sautéed onion trial. Run the blender on high for about 30 seconds, or longer if you need it to heat the soup. Serve, garnish, and enjoy!
You can use the bubble removal trick if you want to make it less airy.
You can make a similar soup with other vegetables, as I did with asparagus.