Vegan "Cheesey" Broccoli Potato Soup

Tweaked a recipe from "Blissful Bites"- now this is a favorite soup! This is a great way to use up broccoli stalks, whose flavor is deliciously sweet but the texture isn't amazing.  I use mostly stalks and a little bit of the broccoli florets for this soup since it is mostly pureed anyway.

Most broccoli soups are pureed and hubby doesn't like straight up pureed soups.  So reserve some of the cooked potato and broccoli (or steam a little bit on the side) to put back in after pureeing the rest!

The soup itself is vegan (uses nutritional yeast for a slightly cheesey flavor). But I have to admit that I liked it best with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese on top-- for a strictly vegan version omit the cheese or use vegan cheese like Daiya.  Even with the real cheese on top, this recipe is less dairy-ish than a traditional "broccoli cheese soup".

Saute 1 chopped onion in olive oil until golden.

Add 2 C cubed yukon gold potatoes and  2-3 minced cloves garlic and stir. Cook for 2-5 minutes until everything is starting to yellow/brown.

Pour in 5 C water and stir, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the following and let simmer for 4-5 minutes until potatoes are half soft.
1/3 C nutritional yeast ("nooch")
1 tea coarse sea salt
2 bay leaves
1/4 tea black pepper
1 TB basil (frozen is fine) 

Add 3 C chopped broccoli (stalks are great for this!) and simmer until the broccoli and potatoes are soft but not too mushy.

For chunky soup- remove some potato chunks and broccoli pieces and reserve. (or alternatively, steam a little bit of potato and broccoli on the side for this purpose).

Puree the soup- I like blending the whole amount to a cut-up consistency, pouring half back into the pan and then pureeing on high the other half of the soup. This gives a good variation in textures and makes the soup have body and a creamy texture.

Pour the soup back in the pan. Add the reserve potato and broccoli chunks. Add up to 1 -1.5 more teaspoons coarse salt, and pepper and garlic powder to taste. Bring up to serving temp. Then serve!

For non-vegan eaters: you can shred white cheddar over the top of the vegan soup to make it even more convincing!

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