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Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup

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This Vegan Cauliflower Soup is unbelievably creamy yet dairy-free and vegan, thanks to cashews and cannellini beans. It's easy and quick to make, freezes great, and is satisfying enough for a main meal. The perfect healthy weeknight dinner!
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes
5 from 264 votes

I keep this Vegan Cauliflower Soup in heavy rotation during soup season for many reasons.

It’s wholesome and made with nutrient-dense ingredients yet so creamy it feels like a dairy-based cream soup. It’s also ridiculously delicious thanks to a few flavor boosters.

Plus, it’s incredibly simple to make (and even simpler when dumped into the Instant Pot). I swear it’s so easy that even my partner, Max, who does 0.04% of the cooking in our house, has made this soup multiple times.

Bonus: it makes a big batch and the leftovers freeze beautifully, which means you can enjoy this cozy soup any time.

Table of Contents
1. Why this recipe works
2. Ingredient notes
3. Step-by-step instructions
4. Tips for making this recipe
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Recipe card

closeup shot of a bowl of creamy cauliflower soup with a spoon dug in and sliced bread in the soup on a brown table.

Why this recipe works

Creamy but secretly wholesome.

If you tasted this soup blindfolded, you’d have no idea it’s dairy-free (and nutrient-dense!) because it’s crazy creamy.

The secret to this luscious texture? Raw cashews and cannellini beans, When you blend them with the cooked cauliflower and broth, the texture of this soup becomes velvety and unbelievably creamy. 

This is also the formula I use in this unbelievably good creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup!

This superstar duo also makes this vegan cauliflower soup a satiating full meal, rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Of course, though, I do like to round out this meal with a crusty slab of good bread :)

Super flavorful without extra work.

With all of my recipes, my goal is to maximize flavor. In this recipe, I was pleasantly surprised that less work actually resulted in more flavor.

We tested this soup with (a) roasted cauliflower and (b) without. And the flavor difference was negligible! Certainly not worth the extra time and cleanup of roasting the cauliflower separately. Instead, you just plop the florets into the soup and let them simmer away.

And that makes total sense since there’s so much other flavor going on this soup: browned onions provide a flavorful, subtly sweet backbone; fresh garlic, well, is garlicky; and the fresh herbs perfume herby and woodsy notes throughout the soup.

We also tested this soup with (a) chopping the fresh herbs and sautéing them with the garlic and (b) tying the whole herb sprigs up into a bundle (a bouquet garni). Not only was the bouquet garni method much faster—it takes 1 minute—it also infused a deeper herby flavor into the soup.

Want something even easier? Use your Instant Pot!

The instant pot cauliflower soup version is a dump-and-go recipe that requires just 5 minutes of prep. Check out the second recipe card down below for instructions.

Gourmet finishing touches.

This cauliflower soup is definitely good on its own, but it’s great thanks to three finishing ingredients.

  • Lemon zest brings a bright citrus zing, a nice complement to the cozy, warming flavors in this soup.
  • Red pepper flakes dial this soup up a notch with a kick. For a subtler heat, use Aleppo pepper.
  • Extra virgin olive oil lends a rich body and mouthfeel, making this soup feel almost as luxurious as a Turkish bathrobe.
woman's hands dunking bread into a bowl of creamy vegan cauliflower soup on a brown table with bread and lemons on the side.

Ingredient notes

ingredients for vegan cauliflower soup in bowls on a tablecloth with each ingredient labeled.

Cauliflower. Obvi! To quickly remove florets from a head of cauliflower, check out the YouTube video below around the 00:18 mark, or watch it here.

Tip: Buy pre-cut cauliflower florets to save more time. You need ~ 750g (24 to 28 ounces) of florets.

PS: Looking for a more gourmet cauliflower recipe? This Indian Aloo Gobi is a must make!

Onions and Garlic. These provide a savory backbone to the soup. The onions get nicely browned, releasing their sweet savoriness.

Raw cashews. The secret to creamy and rich vegan sauces, cheeses, and desserts…so why not add them to a soup? (blended, of course!). They also add healthy fats and protein, making this soup more satisfying.

Allergic to cashews? Sub with cooked, peeled Russet potatoes. I haven’t tried it in this particular recipe, but have in similar recipes with pretty good results. Just keep in mind that the soup won’t be as satiating.

Cannellini beans. The king of creamy beans, they add a thick body to this vegan cauliflower soup. Plus protein and fiber!

Fresh herbs. A bundle of fresh rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf are tucked into this soup. While the soup simmers, the aromas infuse the entire soup with woodsy, herbaceous notes.

Substitute: If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme and rosemary, but dried herbs aren’t able to bring the same depth of flavor as fresh, so the soup won’t be exactly the same.

Tip: You can also use this bouquet garni technique with stews, braises, and pots of beans or lentils. 

Nutritional yeast. This enhances the savoriness from the browned onions and gives this soup a subtly cheesy flavor.

Vegetable broth. Since this is a soup with fairly minimal ingredients, I recommend using the best-quality vegetable broth you can find and afford. Our go-to brand in the RPL kitchen is Imagine Organic.

flatlay of a bowl of creamy vegan cauliflower soup with a spoon dug in and slice of bread in the soup on a brown table.

Step-by-step instructions

Tie together the fresh herbs and bay leaf into a bundle using kitchen twine.

a bouquet garni or bundle of fresh rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves tied together with kitchen twine on a wooden cutting board.

Sautè the onions in olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until nicely golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour in some vegetable broth to deglaze, scraping up the browned bits. Add the rest of the broth and cauliflower florets. 

Add the cashews and cannellini beans, along with the nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Tuck the bouquet garni into the soup to submerge. 

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer for 15 minutes, until cauliflower is tender and soft. 

Remove the bouquet garni and transfer the soup to a stand blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Or, use an immersion blender directly in the soup pot.

Finish the soup with lemon zest, red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.

3 bowls of creamy vegan cauliflower soup on a brown table with linens, lemons, chile flakes, and bread on the side.

Tips for making this recipe

Don’t skip the nooch...

The nutritional yeast (affiliate link) adds a lot of savory depth of flavor.

…Or the finishing ingredients!

These really take the soup to another level. For the olive oil, use the best extra virgin olive oil you have. I use my best-quality extra virgin olive oil only for finishing and raw applications, and this is one of those cases where it makes a difference! 

Stand blender for silky smooth.

If you want a super smooth texture, transfer the soup to a stand blender. If you don’t mind a slightly more rustic version, an immersion blender works fine.

Freeze leftovers in single-serve portions

Since this soup makes a large quantity, I usually freeze a couple single-serve portions using my Souper Cubes (affiliate link). Then you can defrost an individual block of soup on the stove in 5 minutes. Enjoy a no-fuss, good-for-you dinner even on the busiest of weeknights!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute different herbs and spices in this soup?

I use thyme and rosemary in this soup because I love how they pair with cauliflower, but you can substitute with fresh sage or oregano.

If you don’t want a spicy kick at the end, try a mild chile flake like Aleppo pepper in place of red pepper flakes. Aleppo pepper is a beautiful coarsely ground red pepper with a subtle fruity yet earthy tang. It’s commonly used in many Middle Eastern cuisine and originally hails from Aleppo, Syria.

I can’t find cannellini beans. What can I use instead?

A smaller white bean, such as navy beans or Great Northern Beans, would work fine. The soup might be a bit less creamy but not the difference will be minor.

I don’t have kitchen twine for the bouquet garni. What can I use?

You can just add the whole herb sprigs into the soup, but you’ll have to fish them out later. Or, if you have a long scallion, you can trim the roots and use that to tie up the herbs. Or, if you have a tea bag with a sturdy string, remove the string from a bag or two and use that.

PS: You can find kitchen twine at a hardware store for a few bucks, or at many grocery stores.

Can I freeze this cauliflower soup?

Yes! This soup freezes quite well. I like to freeze in single-serve portions. That way, you can defrost it on the stove and cook it through quickly. No need to defrost in the fridge overnight.

Can I add more vegetables to this soup?

We love stirring in some kale at the end to get in those greens! Simply return the blended soup back to the pot, add 2 large handfuls of finely chopped kale (ribs removed), and simmer until the kale is wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes.kale stirred into creamy cauliflower soup in dutch oven

What should I serve this soup with?

Our favorite way to eat this soup is with a hunk of good bread, like a sesame loaf or sourdough. A green salad with a citrus vinaigrette would also be nice.

For a more substantial salad to pair with, try this Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad, Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad, or this Kale and Brussels Sprouts Winter Salad

For a crunchy bite, top this soup with some crunchy roasted chickpeas or even the more traditional croutons. 

Also, if you have Vegan Pesto on hand, a spoon stirred into this soup would be delightful.

Watch: How to make Cauliflower Soup

If I could only eat one soup all winter long...
If I could only eat one soup all winter long...

More creamy vegan soup recipes to try!  

Can’t get enough of creamy soups?

If you love this easy and delicious Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup recipe, please leave a rating and review below with your feedback and tag me on Instagram with your remakes :)

Big Vegan Flavor

Techniques and 150 recipes to master vegan cooking.

Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup

5 from 264 votes
This Vegan Cauliflower Soup is unbelievably creamy yet dairy-free and vegan, thanks to cashews and cannellini beans. It's easy and quick to make, freezes great, and is satisfying enough for a main meal. The perfect healthy weeknight dinner!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium-large cauliflower, cut into large florets (~750g of florets)
  • 1 cup (140g) raw cashews (Note 1)
  • 8 to 12 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 (15-ounce/425g) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (Note 2)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups (960 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (240 mL) water (or more vegetable broth)
  • 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste (Note 3)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For Finishing (not optional!)

  • Lemon zest
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (or Aleppo pepper for mild heat)
  • Good-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Bread for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Pour boiling water over the cashews to cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse before using. Meanwhile, prep all the other ingredients (cut cauliflower, herbs, garlic).
  • Make the bouquet garni. Use kitchen twine to tie up the thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, and bay leaf.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. If they start to get brown too quickly, add a splash of water. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Pour in some of the vegetable broth and deglaze the pot, stirring up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining broth, water, soaked and drained cashews, cauliflower florets, cannellini beans, nutritional yeast, kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Gently tuck the bouquet garni into the broth. It’s okay if the cauliflower isn’t totally submerged by the liquid – they’ll cook down.
  • Bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and soft.
  • Once the soup is done cooking, remove the bouquet garni and transfer the soup to a stand blender (you will need to do this in two batches). Remove the center cap of the blender and cover it with a dish towel to allow the steam to escape. Blend until smooth, thick, and creamy.
    Note: You can also use an immersion blender, but the texture won’t be as smooth.
  • Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly (I usually add a bit more salt at this stage). Transfer the soup to bowls, and before serving, zest some lemon on top, add a scattering of chili flakes, and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Serve with bread.

Notes

Note 1: Allergic to cashews? You can try subbing with peeled, cooked Russet potatoes. They won’t make this soup as satiating, but will add a nice body. 
Note 2: Cannellini beans are also sold as white kidney beans. Can’t find them? Use another white bean, such as great northern or navy beans. 
Note 3: I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which is considerably less salty, teaspoon for teaspoon, than table salt or sea salt. If using sea salt (or Morton’s kosher salt), use 1 1/4 tsp salt. If using table salt, use 1 tsp. 

Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 899mg | Potassium: 1876mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 112IU | Vitamin C: 76mg | Calcium: 224mg | Iron: 10mg

Big Vegan Flavor

Techniques and 150 recipes to master vegan cooking.

Instant Pot Cauliflower Soup

5 from 244 votes
This Instant Pot Cauliflower Soup is thickened naturally with white beans and cashews, so it's luscious and creamy but dairy-free. It's a quick and easy dump-and-go Instant Pot recipe that's made with just 10ish ingredients, so it's perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large head cauliflower (24-28 ounces, or ~750g), cut into large florets
  • 1 cup (140g) raw cashews
  • 2 (15-ounce/425g) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups (960 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For Finishing

  • Lemon zest
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (or Aleppo pepper)
  • Good-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Bread for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • To the Instant Pot inner pot, add the garlic, cauliflower florets, cashews, cannellini beans, vegetable broth, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, nutritional yeast, 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
  • Secure the Instant Pot lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting and set to high pressure for 7 minutes.
  • Once the 7-minute timer has completed and beeps, perform a Quick Pressure Release by switching the Pressure Release knob from Sealing to Venting.
  • Open the pot and remove any whole herb sprigs. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until thick and creamy, taking care to blend all the cashews.
    Alternatively, if you want a super silky texture, transfer the soup to a stand blender and blend until creamy and smooth (replace the center cap from the blender lid and cover with a dish towel to allow steam to escape).
  • Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly (I usually add a bit more salt at this stage).
  • Transfer the soup to bowls, and before serving, zest some lemon on top, add a scattering of red pepper flakes, and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with bread, if desired.

Notes

Note: This Instant Pot version doesn’t call for an onion because it’s designed to be a lightning fast dump-and-go recipe (and adding a raw onion won’t add much flavor).
It’s still very tasty, but if you want to amp up the flavor more, do this:
  1. Finely chop a large yellow onion.
  2. Turn on the Sauté setting of the Instant Pot (normal heat). Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and once hot, add the onion with a pinch of salt. Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Dump in the rest of the ingredients and pressure cook as instructed. 
 

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 703mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 6mg

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4.96 from 264 votes (64 ratings without comment)

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380 comments on Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup

  1. Lauren

    5 stars
    I was totally unprepared for the depth of flavor I got out of this recipe! It’s so creamy and delicious. I did add about half a lemon’s juice to it at the end for some extra acid, and omitted the oil, but other than that I made it exactly as the recipe directed. The garnishes were spot on. The lemon zest added some texture and brightness to the soup. Because of the cashews and cannellini beans, it’s super filling. Suitable for dinner with just a quick side salad. I just loved how easy this was. The recipe gets a 10/10 from me!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lauren, thank you so much for trying the recipe! It’s amazing to know you’re such a fan :)

  2. tania

    This is my favourite soup I make it in the instant pot regularly and I love everythig about it

    I have introduced all sort of variations because sometimes I want it and I don’t have all the ingredients and still works if:

    -you don’t have any beans, I top it with tofu crumbles to add protein
    -you only have half a cauliflower, I added a couple of carrots and got a creamy orange delicious soup
    -you don’t have cashews, sub with peanuts
    I imagine I will keep transforming this recipe because i love it so much

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Tania, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  3. Kate

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Made in the pressure cooker. You can hardly taste the cauliflower. I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower but this soup was a hit!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Kate! It makes us happy to know that you enjoyed the recipe.

  4. Carla King

    5 stars
    So so so good, and super easy to make. Do not skip the garnishes.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Carla, it’s great to hear you had success with the recipe. Thanks for the review!

  5. Tikamaloo

    5 stars
    Great texture,, nutrition and taste. A signature dish for me now.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Yay, that’s amazing to hear! :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. Amy

    5 stars
    Omg, so good! I omitted onion and garlic because of GERD, but it’s still so ridiculously tasty! I added a sprinkle of coarse smoked salt to serve – excellent flavor and crunch topping!!
    I also ate it as a pasta sauce and a green bean sauce; and used cold as a dip (mixed with yogurt and fresh herbs), and as a spread on a roasted veggie sando.
    It works as a creamy, nutty, cheesy base for anything else by adding a little water. Making it with different spice profiles like saffron, curry, or za’atar will be fun to try.
    You never fail to inspire!

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