This rich and creamy vegan cheddar beer soup is made with a base of savory veggies and creamy raw cashews, simmered up with ale and topped off with smoky croutons and tempeh bacon!
Ever since I first learned that there is such a think as soup made of beer and cheese, I’ve wanted to veganize it.
Sometimes when I wait a while to tackle something seemingly challenging, like vegan cheese soup, I psych myself out a bit. In this particular case I initially got the idea in my head that this would be a great October recipe, because of the whole Octoberfest beer thing. I think traditional cheddar beer soup is an Octoberfest 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!
So, back to the whole psyching myself out thing. That was totally unnecessary! This came out great on the first try. My husband and I couldn’t shut up with our exclamations to each other as to how unbelieveably cheesy it was.
My initial intention was to make this in a similar manner to regular old cheddar beer soup, which involves some veggies simmered in a milky, cheesy base. I’d just make it with a bunch of cashews instead of milk or cream and nutritional yeast instead of cheese. But then inspiration hit when I started chopping veggies: pureed veggies make an awesome base for vegan cheese. So I doubled the veggies and blended up half of them with my cashews, which resulted in hitting a pretty magical vegan cheese sweet spot, taste and texture-wise. The fact that this soup has extra hidden veggies is icing on the cake.
A word on the filing nature of this soup. Um…it’s filling. It’s probably filling on it’s own, but eaten with tempeh bacon and homemade croutons, this is a monster of a soup. Come hungry and plan to make a meal of it!
Vegan Cheddar Beer Soup
For the Tempeh Bacon
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 8 ounce package tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Vegan Cheddar Beer Soup
- 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 to 8 hours and drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots, about 3 carrots
- 1 1/2 cups diced celery, about 3 stalks
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 12 ounce bottle ale
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper hot sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Smoky Croutons
- 1/2 baguette or 2 medium-sized rolls, cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt to taste
Make the Tempeh Bacon
- Stir soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar and liquid smoke together in a small bowl. Add tempeh cubes and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes. (You can optinally skip ahead to making the soup while this happens.)
- Coat the bottom of a medium skillet with oil and place over medium heat. Add tempeh cubes, along with any excess marinade. Cook until all liquid has cooked off, then for about 10 minutes, flipping once or twice, until browned on multiple sides.
Make the Vegan Cheddar Beer Soup
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until veggies are softened. Add beer and thyme to the pot and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to very low.
- Transfer half of your cooked veggies to a blender, leaving the other half sitting in the pot on the stove. Add cashews and 1 cup of broth to the blender with veggies. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of pitcher as needed. You can add a bit more broth if needed.
- Turn the stove back up to medium-low, and begin adding flour to the pot, about a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until a smooth paste is formed. Stir in cashew mixture and remaining broth, along with nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and hot sauce. Thin the mixture with water until you're happy with the consistency (I used about 1 cup). Bring the mixture back to a simmer, and then remove from heat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the Smoky Croutons
- Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Stir oil, garlic and smoked paprika together in a small bowl. Rub or brush bread cubes with oil mixture and arrange on baking sheet. Sprikle with salt. Bake until lightly browned, about 7 or 8 minutes.
- Divide soup among bowls and top with croutons and tempeh bacon. Serve.