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 (optional)
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 and cauliflower/mushroom.
Your opinion on onions is just your own. I don’t find the onion flavor sharp, tart or bitter. The preparation method is what counts.
Why do you add the nutritional yeast? Does it add anything to the soup as to flavor or taste or texture? I don’t much like the taste of yeast. Is it only to add moe nutrition?
I add the nutritional yeast for a flavor and nutrition boost, but it’s certainly not necessary. It adds an umami flavor, although if you’re using bouillon it’s a bit redundant, since bouillon has plenty of umami. One other thing to look out for is that there is a range of flavor in nutritional yeasts (and also note that nutritional yeast typically is much more palatable than brewer’s yeast). I use Red Star brand.
A good quality nutritional yeast can add a great cheesy type flavor. I love it. But different brands have different qualities of flavor. I like Red Star. Stay away from Brewer’s yeast.
I made this and left everything raw! Faster and easier! No need to steam the broccoli. My raw cashews were soaked first, though, for smoother texture and easier digestion. Of course, if you don’t like raw onion or garlic flavors (I love it!) then you may want to saute those items first.
Will give it a try tomorrow…looks great! DonnaMarie, what shoul we look for when buying Yeast? What makes 1 brand better than the other?
I had too google “nutritional yeast”, what an interesting thing. Live and learn, ha! Since I’m a vegan, can I —
1. Use chicken broth (e.g. Swanson zero fat no MSG low sodium in a can) or canned vegetable broth?
2. I plan to buy some nutritional yeast but if I don’t have it, what are some of the reasonable substitute?
Hi Adam, did you see my questions by chance? I’m interested in your advice. Thanks! CH
You know, I did see your questions, but I got distracted by you saying you were vegan and then mentioning using chicken broth, and then I lost track and forgot. I assume you actually meant you are NOT vegan?
To answer your questions, yes you can use broth. Possible substitutes for the nutritional yeast include miso, or if you are not vegan, cheese. You can also make this soup without any of the broth/bouillon or nutritional yeast. Just a bit of salt and pepper and you’d be all set.
Thanks Adam. Sorry I should really read what I typed before sending. You are correct, I’m not a vegan/vegetarian. I LOVE Miso (and have a box of Miso paste recently purchased at home) and I usually go easy on cheese anyway. So Miso it is!! Will report back on how it turns out later.
Hi, am fairly new to Vitamix and loving it. However have had 2 soup failures, very bitter tasting and unpalatable. Both had broccoli/courgettes included but also had a variety of leeks/celery. Made a very successful cauliflower/brocolli and brie. Is it the added cheese which makes the difference? Ideas pls
Yeah, the cheese could make a difference. Other possibilities include how much you cooked the vegetables, the amount of vegetables, and how fresh they were.
I have made unpalatable soups by adding too much raw broccoli/cauliflower and/or onion.
Thanks for reply Adam. All soups were made with uncooked broccoli and the one with cheese was delicious. However will cook veg and add cheese next time. Hopefully this will eliminate the bitterness. Many thanks again
I made broccoli soup. But mine still has green bits in it. Should I blend it longer in my vitamix.
It’s really up to you how much you want to process it. If you want it ultra smooth, then yeah, blend it longer. Otherwise, enjoy the texture!
I made this soup last night. It was DELICIOUS! I steamed the broccoli and onion and garlic together, soaked the cashews , definitely added the nutrional yeast (YUM), but omitted the oil. My bf LOVED it, and that’s saying a lot. Btw, thanks for making it VEGAN!!
Love your technique of steaming the veggies, including onion, and then blending with the cooking water. I have been experimenting with a similar technique but in the microwave. Made cream of celery soup last night with good results.
Interesting… That sounds like it could be a time saver. I would be curious to hear more details of your celery soup!