Winter green soup (cruciferous vegetables soup)

An unfussy recipe with simple ingredients that will make you think of Spring, because of its vibrant color and the abundance of vegetables used. This winter green soup is packed with cruciferous vegetables – cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli – that make the soup insanely flavorful. Cooked in about 30 minutes, it’ll fill you up while giving you enough leftovers to freeze or eat later. 

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 soup every winter. 

When I think about it, a lot of the things that are unplanned turn out to be pretty great. Spontaneous coffee dates, that new sweater you buy on the day you swore you won’t be shopping at all, a soup made of the vegetables currently in the fridge.

That happened with this winter green soup. I often buy produce with a certain dish in mind and then end up making something else. Or sometimes I just buy vegetables that look really good and think about the dishes later at home. Is it just me? Luckily, soups in general are very forgiving and almost impossible to mess up, which is why I love them so much. 

cruciferous vegetable green soup served in bowls

So this winter green soup, is it broccoli soup? Cauliflower soup? Brussels sprouts soup? 

Well, it’s everything. It’s a cruciferous vegetables soup, made with all the winter vegetable jewels. Understandably there is some chopping involved and I think the prep time is more time consuming than the actual cooking. But the good thing is that you don’t have to be very precise because you’re pureeing the soup in the end anyway. With that said, know that the smaller the pieces, the faster they cook. I try to cut all kind of equally, but it honestly depends on the time I have and you definitely shouldn’t stress over it.

Okay, moving on. The base of this green winter soup is very classic. You start by cooking onions in oil and to that you add leeks. Sometimes if I’m out of onions, I’ll use more leeks, but ideally you want both for that really great flavor. I normally make this soup with yellow or red onions, but will often add 1-2 shallots to the mix. Surprisingly, I’m not using any garlic, which you totally can if you want. If anything, I sometimes throw in some garlic powder but overall I actually prefer the more gentle mix of onions and leeks.

cruciferous vegetable winter green soup

Next, we have the cruciferous vegetables. Each one brings something extra to the table or I should say pot. Cauliflower is the super creamy one, so I always make sure to put enough of that in the soup. And if cauliflower takes one part, then the other is reserved for the rest of the greens. 

This winter green soup is the perfect soup for those broccoli stalks! I know we always talk about broccoli florets and I adore roasted broccoli, but don’t neglect the broccoli stalks. It will add more bulk and some extra creaminess to your soup so make sure you use it! I like to peel the stalk like a potato and cut away and bad parts (if there are any). Then I just slice it in thin discs and add to the rest of my ingredients. 

brussels sprouts, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower on wood table
raw cauliflower head with cruciferous vegetables and dried thyme

Fresh or frozen vegetables for this soup? 

As you read through the recipe, you’ll see I’m using fresh vegetables. If cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels 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 them in this recipe. 

Frozen vegetables are not only a money saver in some instances, they can also save you some time, since they’re prepped for you already. 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 veggies. Toss them straight in without thawing and continue with the recipe. 

raw cashews in a bowl
cooked cruciferous vegetable soup in cocotte with cashews and parsley

Vegetable stock, water or stock cubes? 

Of course, as with any soup, I’m using vegetable stock. You can make your own, buy it in the store or simply use vegetarian bouillon cubes or powder. Personally I’m a big fan of stock cubes, because they take so little space in my spice drawer, but add all the flavor I want in a recipe. They’re also much easier to keep on hand than vegetable stock. And luckily, this soup is also heavily based on vegetables, so you’re not relying on the bouillon cubes. Instead you’re only amplifying those already present natural flavors. 

What makes this winter green soup extra creamy?

When I initially came up with this recipe, I didn’t use any nuts. It was all vegetables and a dollop of cream for serving. But over the years I’ve really some to adore cashews in savory dishes. On their own cashews aren’t the most interesting nuts, they’re rather plain. But their texture is creamy and they have a slight sweet taste to them. So they may not be obnoxious or loud, but they serve a purpose and that is to add creaminess. 

If you’ve ever made your own nut milk, you know that some nuts need to be strained (e.g. almonds) and some don’t – like cashews. They blend beautifully, so they’re perfect for soups. Once the soup is cooked and the vegetables are tender, you simply add them to the pot, cover the pot with a lid and wait about 10 minutes. The boiling hot soup softens them pretty fast and then all you have to do is blend. 

a bowl of green soup set on table

Can I add cream? 

You definitely can! The cashews and cauliflower really do make this soup creamy enough, but for serving I like to add some sour cream or creme fraiche. Both add a nice contrast to the earthiness of the vegetables. But if you want to make an overall richer soup, you can add cream straight to the pot of soup once it’s 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.

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

And now you have the best winter green soup ever!

Every soup is the best soup ever because soup in general is amazing, I fully stand behind that. But I do hope you love this winter green soup as much as I do. Because it’s unfussy and packed with everything that is good for you AND made pretty quickly once you get the chopping out of the way.

Also, it’s creamy without being laden with cream and filling even without potatoes, which I usually build my soups on. It’s a winter staple that makes me think of Spring, because of its pretty color. And I am especially thinking of Spring now, on a cold late rainy February evening. And in the event that this soup doesn’t cut it, try this yummy leek tart.

cruciferous vegetable green soup served in bowls

Winter green soup (cruciferous vegetables soup)

A low-carb soup packed with winter vegetables that is healthy and easy to make. Freezer-friendly too!
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 (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 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
  • pepper (to taste)

For serving

  • 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 almost completely covered. Set temperature to high heat to bring soup to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cover saucepan with a lid.
  • Cook (maintain a simmer) until the vegetables are tender, around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat, toss in the parsley and cashews and keep covered for a few minutes.
  • Working in 2-4 batches, transfer soup to your food processor or blender (you can also use an immersion blender) and puree soup until smooth. Transfer soup back to saucepan, taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream, cashews and chopped herbs. Serve.


  • Use a 4-quart (4-liter) saucepan at a minimum. With soups like this one it’s better to go bigger.   
  • Use all the vegetables: Because you are pureeing this soup, you can use parts of vegetables that you otherwise might not use if you were making a stir fry or similar. If your cauliflower or broccoli have nice, fresh looking outer leaves chop them and throw them in the saucepan 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. 
  • Store leftover soup covered in the fridge for 1-2 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: European
Author: Alice
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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