Sometimes (ok, all the time), my brain comes up with crazy ideas for recipes. Often I’ll just add it to my “harebrained ideas” list and forget about it. But sometimes the idea comes and I just can’t help but run with it right then and there. That’s how Vegan Cheeseburger Soup was born.
Friends, this is a good one. Michael keeps lamenting that he won’t eat it again because I don’t make my old recipes very often. I’m too busy testing new ones! But this one might be an exception, because it combines two recipes that I do make regularly. And those recipes are….drumroll please….
Vegetable Meat Substitute & Protein-Packed Vegan Cheese Sauce!
Can you believe that the ingredients in the photo above will become a soup that tastes like a cheeseburger? And not only that, but there is no oil in this recipe. NONE. Zero. Zilcharoony. A hearty helping comes in at just over 300 calories and is chock full of things that are good for you. So let’s talk about how to make it, shall we?
First, you start with a half batch of Vegan Ground Beef, which is simply seeds/nuts and vegetables that have been ground up and cooked. Pumpkin seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, carrots, and garlic. Then it’s seasoned with…wait for it…steak sauce. Yep, steak sauce is vegan. Talk about an oxymoron, but it’s true! Add a little soy sauce for good measure too. Then…the cheese.
Protein-Packed Vegan Cheese Sauce is poured all over the top of the ground burger “meat”. It’s got even more vegetables (potatoes and carrots), red lentils, oats, raw cashews, and seasonings that somehow combine into a magical creamy cheezy sauce of all things good and wonderful in life. Hyberbole and I are good pals.
Then just a bit of water or broth is added to make this concoction more soup-like, and it’s time for the toppings!
Easy tofu bacon is a no-brainer, along with chopped tomatoes, pickles (of course), and either chopped onions or scallions. I went with the scallions because they’re prettier. Food photographer’s prerogative. If there are other things that you like on vegan cheeseburgers, by all means add them on top! Some croutons would be fun, they could be like the bun. That was a very conveniently unintended rhyme. Or just be like us and dip homemade sourdough bread into it and swoon. Bread baked by Michael, not me, because he’s awesome like that.
Michael, I promise, it won’t be long before you eat this again. <3
Vegan Cheeseburger Soup
Soup base/cheese sauce
- 3 medium gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2” pieces (about 2 cups)
- 3 carrots, chopped into 1/2” pieces, (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed in fine-mesh strainer
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2-3 garlic gloves, peeled
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups water, vegetable broth, or vegan beef broth
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons light miso paste
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Vegan Ground Beef (the "burger meat")
- 3/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seedor walnuts
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato strips (dry-packed)
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1/2 head cauliflower (about 2 cups florets)
- 8 oz. cremini or baby portobello mushrooms
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons Steak sauce or vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Optional Toppings
- chopped pickles
- chopped red onion or scallions (grilled or raw)
- chopped lettuce
- vegan bacon bits
- chopped tomatoes
Make the Cheese Sauce/Soup Base
- In a large soup pot, add potatoes, carrots, red lentils, oats, garlic, and cashews.
- Cover with 4 cups of water or vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook for 10 minutes or until lentils and veggies are soft.
- Remove to a blender and set aside.Return soup pot to the stove (don’t worry about cleaning it out).
Make the “vegan ground beef"
- In a large food processor, pulse the pepitas and sun-dried tomatoes until a finely crumbled and no large pieces remain. Do not puree into a paste. Set aside.
- Using the shredding attachment, shred the onion, cauliflower, mushrooms, and garlic.
- Heat the soup pot to medium-high, and add the shredded vegetables.
- Sauté the vegetables until cooked throughout and no moisture remains in the pot.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the pepita/sun-dried tomato mixture.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to combine.
- Add the steak sauce and soy sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Turn off heat.
Assemble the soup
- Add the nutritional yeast, miso, vinegar, and salt to the blender.
- Puree the cheese sauce until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the cheese sauce into the soup pot and stir to combine with the vegan ground beef mixture.
- Add 2 cups of water or vegetable broth and stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer until warmed through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with desired toppings.