Winter green soup (cruciferous vegetables soup)

I call this a winter green soup, because it is packed with cruciferous vegetables that are the core of my winter recipes. This easy soup with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli is made in about 30 minutes and is perfectly creamy without any cream. The recipe makes enough soup for leftovers or to stock your freezer.

cruciferous vegetable winter green soup with cashews

I never thought this random winter soup would become a favorite one day. I say random because the original recipe came about completely spontaneously years ago and now here we are, here I am, still making this brussel sprout soup every winter.

I often buy beautiful vegetables just because I think they look good, which sometimes leaves me with more vegetables than ideas on how to use them. Soups are perfect for this. They are very forgiving and almost impossible to mess up, and this cruciferous soup is no exception.

cruciferous vegetables soup

About the recipe

This is an unfussy recipe with very simple ingredients. It’s an all-in-one green vegetable soup with cruciferous vegetables. More specifically, it is a vegan broccoli cauliflower soup with Brussel sprouts. Maybe putting Brussel sprouts in soup isn’t your first thought when making a green soup, but they work. 

This is a great soup recipe to use any odd ends of leftover vegetables, even the stalks, because once you cook them down, you are pureeing the soup anyways. We’re looking for flavor here and a lot of it is hidden in less-pretty vegetable bits.

The base of this cruciferous vegetables soup is very classic. You start by cooking onions in oil and to that you add leeks and dried thyme. Then you toss in the cruciferous vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. 

cruciferous vegetables soup with cashews and parsley

All the vegetables cook in a mix of vegetable broth and parsley. Once the vegetables are tender, I add some cashews and puree the soup with an immersion blender. And that’s it.

green broccoli soup with brussel sprouts

Because this is a soup without potatoes, it’s important that you add a good amount of cauliflower. It adds much needed bulk and creaminess. If you have any other green cruciferous vegetables on hand, you can add them to the pot as well.

Vegetables like broccoli rabe, cabbage or kale all work nicely in the soup. And while the green color comes from parsley, you can also add some baby spinach and make a vibrant, green goddess soup.

cruciferous vegetables soup

Ingredient notes

Surprisingly, this is a soup without garlic, which you can add if you want. I actually prefer the more gentle mix of onions and leeks in this version. And while I normally use a red or yellow onion, I’ll often add a shallot or two as well.

This winter green soup is the perfect soup for those broccoli stalks! I know we always talk about broccoli florets, but don’t neglect the broccoli stalks. I like to peel the stalks like a potato and cut away any bad parts (if there are any). Then I just slice them in thin discs and add to the rest of my ingredients. 

In the same fashion, you can use all the outer leaves of cauliflower. If using cabbage in soup, add the crunchier, meaty white parts too. Everything gets cooked and it’s all delicious. 

winter green soup served in bowls with chopped cashews and parsley on top

Frozen vegetables in soup

As you read through the recipe, you’ll see I’m using fresh vegetables. If cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts are in season, I see no need to buy frozen. However, I am a big fan of frozen vegetables and always have some on hand for easy dinners. So yes, you can absolutely use frozen vegetables in this soup recipe. 

Frozen vegetables are not only a money saver, they can also save you some time, since they’re prepped and ready to go.

As far as flavor is concerned, frozen vegetables are picked and frozen in their prime time, so they’re not actually lacking in flavor. 

If you’re using frozen vegetables, even only a part (e.g. frozen broccoli and the rest are fresh vegetables), use them as you would fresh. Simply cook the onion and leeks in oil, then add all of your vegetables. Toss them straight in without thawing and continue with the recipe. 

cruciferous vegetable winter green soup

Vegetable broth

I am using vegetable broth in this soup. It is a nice way to amplify the already present natural flavors. 

As an alternative to vegetable broth, you can use vegetarian bouillon cubes or vegetable powder. I’m a fan of both as they take so little space in my spice drawer, they’re great to keep on hand. And a way to add flavor without adding liquid.

But since this is a broccoli and brussel sprout soup (so heavily based on vegetables) you can make it without stock. You can just use water instead and adjust the seasoning as needed.

raw cashews


I love using cashews in soup (and other savory dishes) because they make a creamy soup without heavy cream. How great is that?

On their own cashews aren’t the most interesting variety of nut, they’re actually rather plain and only mildly sweet. But their texture is creamy and they blend beautifully, so they are perfect for making soup. They soften quickly in the boiling hot liquid and are easy to blend.

If you have a nut allergy or sensitivity, skip the cashews and add a splash of cream instead.


This is completely optional, but I love adding sour cream to soups as a finishing touch. Both sour cream and creme fraiche work. They add a nice, tangy contrast to the earthy, vegetable soup.

For an overall richer cruciferous vegetable soup, you can add cream straight to the pot once the soup is blended and finished. Add as much as you want according to your own taste. If you want a dairy-free alternative, coconut milk would be a great choice. Or any other vegan creamer, especially those based on soy. 

healthy broccoli soup with cruciferous vegetables

How to store

Keep leftover soup in the refrigerator and eat within 2-3 days. You can freeze it for up to 3 months.

To thaw, keep the portion in the refrigerator overnight. Warm it up on the stove over medium-low heat. Alternately, you can warm it up in the microwave.

If you find that the soup is too thick for your taste, because it can thicken as it cools, add some water or vegetable stock and slowly bring it to a simmer. You can also thin it out with some heavy cream.

More vegetable recipes to explore

cruciferous vegetables soup with parsley and cashews

Winter green soup (cruciferous vegetables soup)

A creamy soup with cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. It is low-carb, vegan and easy to make.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large leek, trimmed and halved, white parts thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus more to taste
  • 12 oz (350 g) Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed, sliced into small disks
  • 12 oz (350 g) broccoli florets, from 1 medium-to-large broccoli
  • 27 oz (750 g) cauliflower florets, from 1 large cauliflower
  • 5 1/2 cups (1300 ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups (150 g) raw cashews
  • black pepper, to taste

Serve with (optional)

  • sour cream or creme fraiche, or a vegan alternative
  • cashews, roughly chopped
  • fresh herbs, such as parsley and chives


  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Then stir in leeks, salt and thyme and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the leeks soften.
  • Add brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower florets. Mix with the leeks and let vegetables cook and sizzle for about a minute. Pour over the vegetable stock, just until all the vegetables are mostly covered. Set temperature to high heat to bring soup to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid.
  • Cook (maintaining a simmer) until the vegetables are tender, around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove soup from heat, toss in the parsley and cashews and keep covered for a few minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it's completely smooth (you can also puree it in 2-4 batches by using a food processor.) Once pureed, taste the soup and adjust the seasonings to your taste.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream, cashews and chopped herbs.
    Store leftover soup in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Use all the vegetables: Because you are pureeing this soup, you can use parts of vegetables that you otherwise might not use. If your cauliflower or broccoli have nice, fresh looking outer leaves chop them and throw them in the pot along with the florets. As you trim the cauliflower or broccoli stalks, only remove the very ends and any weird looking parts and chop up the rest for the soup. The stalks add a nice creamy texture to the soup.
Alternately, you can also chop the leaves and stalks and freeze them to use whenever you’re making vegetable stock.
While I give pretty exact measurements for all the vegetables, feel free to adjust the quantities, depending on what is available to you. This is a great soup to use up leftover greens and other vegetables.
Cashews are completely optional, but add such a creamy texture that you should definitely try adding them, in case you’re not allergic or have a sensitivity to nuts. 
Alternatives that make the soup extra creamy: sour cream, soy creamer, coconut milk. 
Course: Soup
Cuisine: European
Author: Alice
Text recipe Pin Recipe

Last updated on November 17, 2023.

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  1. Kelsey M wrote:

    This looks like such a healthy, filling soup! I love it! Pinning for later 🙂

    Posted 2.15.15 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      It really is all those things. And thanks! 🙂

      Posted 2.17.15
  2. Scarlett wrote:

    I just finished making this soup, adding some carrots I needed to eat from the fridge. Absolutely love it. Perfectly creamy after blending, and satisfying on a chilly day. Not to mention how healthy all the ingredients are. Thank you Mitzy!

    Posted 1.10.17 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Thank you, Scarlett! I’m so happy you enjoy it.
      And I think carrots are a great addition as they’re slightly sweet and blend so well! 🙂

      Posted 1.11.17
  3. Patricija wrote:


    Posted 2.18.17 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      🙂 thank you!

      Posted 2.21.17
  4. LSR wrote:

    How do you add the cashews and how much?

    Posted 1.2.18 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Hi, you add cashews straight to the pot, once the soup is done. Then blend everything.
      I use 1 1/3 cups of cashews, but you can easily use less or skip them completely, if they’re not your thing.

      Hope this helps!

      Posted 1.3.18
    • Barb wrote:

      Have you ever tried it with cashews that are salted? The soup was very good, but need more salt

      Posted 2.12.19
    • Alice wrote:

      Hi Barb, thank you! I rarely buy salted nuts because I find them too salty.

      As for the soup and any recipe, you can always add more salt to match your taste. That’s why I always add a note that says just that. One reason is that our tastes are simply different, the other is that different brands produce different types of salt, with different origin, crystal size and so on… which gives a different result, so taste-testing everything is important in the end.

      Hope this helps!

      Posted 2.12.19
  5. sandy wrote:

    5 stars
    i am obsessed with this soup!! like to mix in some coconut milk from time to time but nonetheless love this!

    Posted 2.18.19 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Thank you, Sandy! I’m happy you like it, coconut milk sounds wonderful!

      Posted 2.19.19
  6. Gia wrote:

    Making it for my vegetarian friend, hope he enjoys it. Here crossing my fingers.

    Posted 11.11.19 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Hope so too!

      Posted 11.11.19
    • Charles wrote:

      5 stars
      Just made it for the first time for my wife and me. We absolutely love it! The texture and taste are amazing. Easy clean up. This will go into the rotation. We made the 4X version. Thank you Alice.

      Posted 12.22.19
    • Alice wrote:

      Wow, thank you Charles, I’m so happy you love it!
      And so awesome you made a big batch :))

      Posted 12.22.19
  7. Mel wrote:

    5 stars
    Made this yesterday. Was low on cauliflower and added some sliced parsnips, spectacular flavor! Thank you for the recipe

    Posted 3.1.20 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      So happy to hear that, Mel! Parsnips sound wonderful 🙂

      Posted 3.1.20
  8. Misha wrote:

    This has become my family’s all time favorite soup recipe and has been on repeat here for weeks! THANK YOU!

    Posted 4.3.20 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      So happy to hear you like it, Misha, thank you!!

      Posted 4.4.20
  9. Nicole wrote:

    5 stars
    Made this today, what a wonderful soup. I omitted the cashews as he is allergic and added some amino acids and nutmeg instead, this is an amazing winter warmer soup that will get our greens intake up, thanks so much for this most wonderful recipe. It is truly delicious

    Posted 11.14.20 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      So very happy to hear this Nicole, thank you!

      And thank you as well for sharing your substitution, very helpful for anyone else allergic to cashews 🙂

      Posted 11.15.20
  10. Sharon wrote:

    Do you use the green part of the leeks?

    Posted 2.4.21 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Hi Sharon,
      I usually trim the very dark green parts (as they’re quite tough) and only use the white and lighter green ones. The dark green tops are great for making homemade stock though.

      If you want to use the darker green parts too, slice them very thinly and sauté them first with onions before adding the rest of the ingredients.

      Hope this helps!

      Posted 2.4.21
  11. carol wrote:

    oh dear, I am a really good cook, but this was one of my first failures in years! oh no! I think it was the brussell sprouts, something just tastes bad….
    I’ll give till tomorrow and see if I can fix it—I read the comment about adding parsnips–perhaps a little sweetness would help. If not, I’m not dumping more money into this huge pot–already cost enough with all organic ingredients! bummer!

    Posted 3.15.21 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      So sorry to hear that Carol, I hate that this didn’t work for you.

      I wish I could offer some advice, but I’ve never had issues with this soup. Assuming all your vegetables were nice and cashews weren’t rancid, I really can’t think of a reason as to why this didn’t turn out okay for you.

      Posted 3.15.21
  12. Ann wrote:

    5 stars
    I am finishing the last bowl now! I made this soup in February. There was so much, I froze it in cup servings. For a little extra, I sprinkle super seed mix on top and have it with rosemary crackers. Mmm mmm

    Posted 4.14.21 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      That sounds sooo good, Ann! Happy you like this and thank you for sharing 🙂

      Posted 4.15.21
  13. Madeline wrote:

    5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING!!! This is the first veggie soup my husband has actually loved. Not to mention, this recipe was pretty easy, one pot, and super healthy!

    Posted 12.3.21 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      That makes me so happy, Madeline! Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Posted 12.3.21