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Lots of the recipes I found for vegan broccoli cheddar soup used milk alternatives, nuts, flour, cornstarch, and/or vegan cheese. I was looking for something simpler.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, medium dice
2 stalks celery, medium dice
1 medium sweet potato, small dice
2 cloves garlic, thin slice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups arugula
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion, celery, sweet potato, and garlic to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour water into the pot and cover the vegetables by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in arugula and cook for another minute. Puree with an immersion blender.
6. Add broccoli florets and nutritional yeast and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft.
7. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Notes: yum. Love the color the sweet potato lends to the soup, which mimics traditional broccoli cheddar soup. The nutritional yeast is a powerhouse, giving the finished product a rich, cheesy, almost fermented flavor. The arugula simply boosts the nutrition profile, but is not essential; it can be omitted, or substituted with nearly any other type of green leafy vegetable.

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Luckily my cheesy dinner doesn’t stop at broccoli cheddar soup. A twice baked, loaded potato compliments the soup and rounds out the meal.

Roast the potatoes whole in a 375-degree oven until tender, or easily pierced with a sharp knife, which will seem like an eternity. Once cool enough to handle, scoop put the flesh and mash with cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped chives and crumbled cooked bacon. Season with S & P.

Next, fill the potato skins with the mashed potatoes, top with a bit more cheese and bake just until warmed through and the cheese on top melts.

There are few foods that do it for me the way cheese does. It can be dolled up or dressed down, incorporated into all meals–including dessert–and served hot or cold.

This meal is dedicated to you, cheddar cheese. I love you.

In a pot, sautee diced onions in oil over medium heat until translucent, adding minced garlic during the last minute of cooking. Pour in beer of your choice and allow it to reduce by 3/4. Add broccoli florets and stems, roughly chopped, and cover with chicken stock. Simmer until the broccoli is tender. Purée in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese a little at a time so that the soup retains a silky, slightly thick consistency.