A vegan jalapeno popper soup for a fun and wholesome twist on a classic appetizer. A bowl of veggies, an incredibly delicious vegan cheddar sauce, and spicy jalapenos make a winning combo! It’s wholesome, filling, satisfying, and ready in 35 minutes.
This recipe was originally published in November 2018. It has been updated for content and photos.
Just like my healthy jalapeno popper dip, this jalapeno popper soup is made using a cauliflower base, it’s spicy, and it’s delicious.
And yes, you’re going to love it!
Why you’ll love this
- It’s the most wholesome jalapeno popper soup you’ll ever come across, using cauliflower for the bulk of the soup.
- Flavoured in a rich and creamy cheese sauce made using cashews, nutritional yeast, and seasoning.
- It’s low in calories for a generous portion at around 270 calories a bowl, including 11g of protein!
- Do you want something actually spicy? You got it! This soup is the real deal, there’s nothing mild about the spice level here. (That said, feel free to decrease the jalapenos for less spice, if preferred!)
- This jalapeno popper soup is hearty, filling, satisfying, and totally delicious!
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather the soup ingredients, peel your garlic, quarter your onion and peppers and break the cauliflower into florets.
To your food processor, add the onion, garlic, red pepper, and jalapenos and process until finely chopped. (photos 1-2)
Melt the butter (if using) in a large pot and add the processed ingredients. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until softened and reduced. (photos 3-4)
Meanwhile, process your cauliflower into crumbly, but chunky pieces. Do not over-process. You don’t want to puree the cauliflower, so keep it chunky, and work in batches, as needed. (photos 5-6)
Now add the cauliflower, corn, and broth to your pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. (photos 7-8)
While the soup is cooking, gather your vegan cheese sauce ingredients.
Add them all to a high-speed blender and process until smooth. (photos 9-10)
NOTE: If you don’t have a high-speed blender, be sure to soak your cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes first.
When the soup is cooked, turn off the heat and pour in your cheese sauce and mix well. (photos 11-12)
Serve garnished with extra jalapeno slices, and enjoy.
Store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
I haven’t tried freezing this one yet, but I suspect it would freeze well. Freeze in an airtight container, and remember to leave a little room to allow for expansion.
Substitutions + Variations
- Adjust the spice level to your preference. We like ours very spicy, but if you want a more subtle spice, use fewer jalapenos, and remove the seeds for an even milder level of spiciness.
- Adjust the seasoning. Always season to your taste. Just because a recipe calls for half a teaspoon of salt, feel free to adjust. If you want added smoky flavour, up the smoked paprika as well.
- Make it oil free. Omit the butter or margarine and sauté using water or broth instead.
- For nut free. You may sub the cashews with sunflower seeds, with similar results. Cashews provide a little more richness, but if you can’t have cashews, sunflower seeds make a good substitution.
- For corn free. You may simply omit the corn or replace it with some diced carrots to add some colour and a touch of sweetness.
- Soak the cashews. If you don’t have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, soak your cashews first. Boil some water in a kettle or on the stovetop and soak the cashews for 30 minutes. Then drain and use. Soaking the cashews makes them soften up and allows a less powerful blender to process them.
- Do not over-process the cauliflower. Work in batches if needed to prevent the cauliflower from turning to mush. You want some nice hearty texture here.
- Want a smooth soup instead? Don’t bother with your food processor, just roughly chop everything. Cook as directed, and then use an immersion or stick blender to puree your soup before adding in the vegan cheese sauce.
More delicious vegan soup recipes
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- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or margarine use water or broth for oil free
- 1 yellow or red onion quartered
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 red bell pepper quartered
- 3-4 jalapenos halved, seeds removed for less spice
- 1 cauliflower broken into large florets
- 1 cup corn frozen or canned
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1.5 cups raw cashews
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce if not avoiding gluten
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- Add the onion, garlic, red pepper and jalapenos to your food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.
- In a large sauce pot, add the butter or margarine if using, and melt over medium heat. (Or use water or broth if avoiding oil.) Then add the finely chopped veggies you just processed to the pot and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until softened and reduced.
- Meanwhile, add the cauliflower to the same processor and pulse until broken down, without over processing or pureeing. You want some chunkier pieces. Work in batches if needed.
- Add the processed cauliflower, along with the broth and corn to the pot and mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, prepare your vegan cheese sauce. Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender and process until smooth.
- Turn off the heat, pour in the cheese sauce and mix well. Taste for salt and pepper and add more if necessary. Then serve garnished with jalapeno slices, if desired.
I made just as directed, but I did put half of the soup in the vita mix before adding the cheese sauce. I like a creamy soup! The cheese sauce is one of the best I have ever made! I will use this for other recipes also. I will add more jalapeños next time. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!
You’re very welcome Barbara! So glad you enjoyed and thank you for the review. 🙂
Thanks Rosa, that sounds fantastic!
This soup sounds amazing! Unfortunately I have just learned I need to avoid Paprika. What alternative spice would you suggest? Thanks!
Hi Elizabeth, you can use a teaspoon of liquid smoke instead to still get that touch of smoky flavour. Enjoy!
Soooo good!! The whole family loved this dish. We did 3 jalapeños and no oil. Absolutely amazing. Next time I will add another jalapeño and if there’s any leftovers I think I will blend it smooth to use as a nacho dip. Thanks so much for the recipe!
Love your idea on the leftovers, thrilled you enjoyed Cassie. Thanks so much for the review. 🙂
Would riced cauliflower work in this?
Yes absolutely. Enjoy.
I made this without oil and followed the recipe to a T. It was so delicious! I’ll definitely be making this again!
So glad you enjoyed Brittney. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review. 🙂
How could I make this in an instant pot?
Hi Wendy, I would sauté as directed and then when adding the final ingredients, high pressure for 3 minutes, quick release and stir in the cheese sauce. Enjoy!
Wow, very nice soup!
Thanks for the recipe.
I made mine without oil.
Also only had half a cup of raw cashews, so added 1/4 cup of hemp seeds.
Erm, I meant 1 cup of cashews.
Fantastic! Thrilled you enjoyed Jadie. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
What a delicious soup! I did reduce the cashews to just 1/2 cup and didn’t use margarine or oil to cut back on the fat. Stuck exactly to the recipe with everything else. My husband and I both loved it!
Thanks for sharing Silke. So glad you both enjoyed. 🙂
OMG this is so rich and good! And so easy! Another soup to put into my cooking rotation. Bravo!
Thanks so much for the review Chris. Thrilled you enjoyed. 🙂