Rich, creamy and full of flavor…dinner doesn’t get much more cozy than this vegan beer cheese soup! You’d never guess this deliciously indulgent soup was dairy free.
Ever since I first learned that there is such a thing as soup made of beer and cheese, I’ve wanted to veganize it.
I psyched myself out for a while and put it off, and then October rolled around. It seemed like the right time to go for it!
I think traditional cheddar beer soup is an Oktoberfest thing, but I know very little about beer, so I could be totally wrong about that. In any event, couldn’t we all go for a big bowl of cheesy vegan soupy goodness during the fall anyway? So the whether or not this is traditional is a moot point: it’s a good idea!
What is Beer Cheese Soup?
Traditional beer cheese soup is just what it sounds like! Thick, creamy soup made with a base of beer that has cheese (usually cheddar) melted in it. It’s usually also got some robust seasonings like mustard, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in there, and some versions include veggies.
How to Veganize Beer Cheese Soup
I included two ingredients in my creamy base for this soup: cashews and pureed veggies!
If you read this blog regularly, you probably know of my love for cashews and that they blend up super creamy. (You can even make dairy-free cream out of cashews!). So that part was easy.
But the veggies part was kind of inspired. Like I mentioned above, some versions of beer cheese soup include veggies as well as beer and cheese. I decided to include them in mine, but in double the amount you’d normally find in beer cheese soup. Half the veggies just serve the normal purpose of veggies in soup, adding texture and flavor and all that, but the other half gets blended up to give our soup even more of a creamy, savory base!
How to Make Vegan Beer Cheese Soup
It all starts with the veggies. We’ll be using carrots, leeks and celery. Heat up some olive oil and cook those veggies for a few minutes, until they begin to soften up. Add some garlic and cook it with the veggies for about a minute.
Next, add some flour. This is going to help thicken the soup. Stir everything well so that the flour forms a coating on the veggies and cook everything together for two minutes or so.
Now it’s time to add the beer! Pour the whole bottle into the pot, stir it well, and bring it up to a simmer. The liquid should get pretty thick rather quickly, so make sure you’re stirring it often and scraping the bottom of the pot with a spoon. Let the beer cook for about 5 minutes, until it reduces by about half, and then add half of the broth (we’ll get to the other half in a minute).
Bring the broth up to a simmer and let everything cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the veggies are tender.
Now it’s time to make our cashew mixture! Place the cashews into your food processor bowl with about 1/4 cup of broth and blend them to a smooth paste. Stop the food processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and then, and add more broth as needed to smooth the mixture out.
Once you’ve got a relatively smooth paste, ladle some of those veggies out the pot and into the food processor. Blend them up with your cashew paste.
Once the mixture is pretty smooth, add it to the pot. If you still have any broth left, add that as well. Mix everything up and stir in some seasonings: nooch, mustard, hot sauce and vegan Worcestershire sauce. Heat the soup back up, and if you’d like, thin it with some additional broth or water.
I like to top mine with some smoky homemade croutons (instructions for making them are included in the recipe below).
FAQ & Vegan Beer Cheese Soup Tips
- Can this soup be made gluten-free? Probably, but I haven’t tested any gluten-free versions. I think your best bet would be to skip the flour and thicken the soup towards the end of cooking with some arrowroot or a slurry made from cornstarch and cold water. Add a bit a time until it gets as thick as you like it.
- Where can I find vegan Worcestershire sauce? Most health food stores carry vegan brands — look for Annie’s or Edward & Sons. Whole Foods brand is also vegan. If you can’t find it in stores, try online.
- Why does this recipe include yeast? That’s not the same type of yeast you’d use to bake bread. Nutritional yeast is a type of deactivated yeast that adds a cheesy, savory flavor to dishes. You can read up on the details here. Look for nutritional yeast in the natural foods section of your supermarket, or buy it online.
- What type of beer should I use for this soup? Brown ale works best, but other varieties of medium to dark beer will work as well. I used Bell’s Best Brown Ale.
- Not all beer is vegan. Check with Barnivore to ensure the variety you choose is.
- Leftovers of this soup will keep for about 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge.
- Want some additional toppings? This soup goes great with coconut bacon.
- Want some more vegan cheesy soup deliciousness? Check out my vegan broccoli cheese soup!
Vegan Beer Cheese Soup
Rich, creamy and full of flavor...dinner doesn't get much more cozy than this vegan beer cheese soup! You'd never guess this deliciously indulgent soup was dairy free.
For the Beer Cheese Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
- 1 1/2 cups diced celery (about 3 medium celery stalks)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 (12 ounce) bottle brown ale
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, rinsed, and drained
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon vinegar based hot sauce (such as Tobasco or Crystal)
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Smoky Croutons
- 1/2 medium baguette, cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt to taste
- Chopped fresh chives
Coat the bottom of a large pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place it over medium heat.
Give the oil a minute to heat up, and then add the leeks, carrots and celery.
Cook the veggies, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften up, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook it for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
Sprinkle the flour into the pot. Stir it well to form a paste that coats the veggies. Continue stirring and cooking the mixture for about 2 minutes.
Stir the beer and thyme into the pot. Raise the heat and bring the beer to a simmer.
Cook the beer and veggies at a low simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid reduces by about half, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot with a spoon to prevent the veggies and flour from sticking.
Stir in 1 cup of the broth. Raise the heat and bring the liquid back up to a simmer.
Allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft.
While the soup simmers, prepare the croutons. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Stir the olive oil, garlic, and smoked paprika together in a large bowl.
Add the bread cubes and stir well to coat them with the mixture.
Arrange the bread cubes on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake the croutons until lightly browned and crispy, for about 8 to 10 minutes.
When the soup has finished simmering remove the pot from the heat.
Place the cashews into the bowl of a food processor with 1/4 cup of the remaining vegetable broth.
Blend the cashews to a smooth paste, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, and drizzling in additional broth as needed.
Ladle about half of the veggies from the pot into the food processor bowl, and then blend them with the cashew mixture until smooth.
Add the cashew-veggie mixture to the pot, along with any remaining vegetable broth. You can also thin the soup with extra broth or water if you'd like.
Stir in the nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and mustard.
Place the pot back over medium heat and bring it back up to a simmer while stirring.
Once it gets to a simmer, remove the pot from the heat.
Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Be generous with the salt — it will help make the soup taste cheesy.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with chives and croutons. Serve.
This soup is great topped with tempeh bacon. Just stir together, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and1 teaspoon liquid smoke. Cut an 8 ounce package of tempeh into 1/2 inch cubes and marinate them in the soy sauce mixture for 30 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the tempeh and cook for about 10 minutes, until browned and crisp.