Potato soup is a dish I always look at with fondness when it appears on a restaurant menu. The rich blend of cream, cheese, and potatoes satisfies my soul on a level that more brothy soups never could. I haven’t had a potato soup in almost two years, because of the high dairy content. Even a little bit of dairy gives me a giant stomachache and a migraine, not to mention the cost for the animals. I’ve been experimenting with plant based milks and potato soup for some time now, but just recently had a breakthrough – this recipe! This Cheesy Vegan Potato Soup is everything it should be, and so much more!
The secret to this recipe is a small amount of cashews, blended with cashew milk (yes, cashew on cashew action) and generously spiced. Cashews are the secret weapon of vegan cooking. When blended, they turn even the most watery sauce into a luscious delight that will have even non-vegans drooling! Most vegan cheese sauces use Nutritional Yeast to achieve their flavor. Now, I love Nutritional Yeast and frequently use it in recipes, but I don’t think it tastes anything like dairy cheese. Anyone that tells you it does is lying. The cheese sauce for this Cheesy Vegan Potato Soup is made without ‘Nooch (as vegans fondly refer to Nutritional Yeast) and will even win over your omnivore friends and family.
The cheese sauce for this recipe is adapted from the ever popular VegNews Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Recipe. The ingredients are mostly the same, but I’ve changed the amounts around significantly, so that the spices can stand up to a few pounds of potatoes. If you’ve never made the VegNews Mac N’ Cheese, I highly recommend it.
- 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (half of a 5 pound bag)
- 1 cup chopped red or gold potato
- 1/3 cup chopped baby carrots
- 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallots (roughly 1 small shallot)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup cashew milk
- 1/4 cup raw cashews (if you don't have a high speed blender, pre-soak the cashews or boil for 10 minutes to soften)
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter (optional)
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Dice 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and let cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are diced and in the water, chop 1 cup additional potato, 1/3 cup baby carrots, 1/3 cup yellow onion, and 2 tablespoons shallots. Place in a small soup pot, cover with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil until carrots are tender, approximately 15 minutes.
- Dump all remaining ingredients in a high speed blender. Don't turn the blender on yet!
- When the carrots are tender, remove pot from heat and dump its entire contents into the blender, including the cooking water. Blend until completely smooth.
- When the potatoes are tender, remove from heat and drain. Return potatoes to their pot, and add the blended cheese sauce. Stir to thoroughly combine. With an immersion blender, gently mix the soup until about half of the potato pieces are blended. Alternatively, remove half of the soup and transfer to a blender until smooth, then return it to the pot.
- Top with extra smoked paprika and black pepper, chives, or "bacon bits." Enjoy!
The most wonderful thing about this cheese sauce is that you can use it on anything, not just Potato Soup. I drizzle it on veggies, toss it with pasta, and stir it into grain dishes. If you are making this cheese sauce for anything other than soup, leave out the cup of cashew milk, or it will be too thin.
What foods do you like best covered in vegan cheese sauce?