This vegan cream of chicken soup is thick, hearty and makes an extremely flavorful, comforting winter dish. It's made with soy curls, vegetable broth and poultry seasoning instead of chicken and chicken stock. To make it extra filling and nutritious, it's packed with vegetables and rice. Everyone will love it! If you like vegan cream soups, you may also like this vegan gnocchi soup.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Vegan chicken rice soup is nutritious and filling as it contains both carbs (the rice) and protein (the soy curls). It makes a great weeknight dinner for the family.
- It's packed with protein (17 grams per serving) even without chicken!
- Although it's vegetarian, it tastes very similar to your favorite creamy vegetable chicken soup. It is a light and healthy alternative to the traditional recipe.
- This soup is easily customizable. Have a look at the ingredients section to read more about substitution options.
- This recipe still has vegetable pieces that add some bite.
- The soup freezes well. You can easily make more and store some in your freezer for cold winter days.
Key ingredients and substitutions
Vegetables: onions, carrots and celery are the base of this soup. They will provide flavor and some bite.
Time-saving tip: check the refrigerated (or frozen) vegetable section of your grocery store to see if they have some pre-chopped soup vegetables. These mixes often contain onion, carrots, celery and sometimes leek and make the perfect base for this vegan cream of chicken soup.
White wine: in our opinion, white wine makes every winter soup taste a little better. The alcohol will completely evaporate leaving a hint of deliciousness. You can skip the wine or replace it with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
Bouquet garni: adding a bouquet garni to a soup is an easy way to add some flavor without having to buy many spices and aromatics separately. If you don't have a ready-to-go bouquet garni, you can add a bay leaf, 5 cloves, 3 juniper berries, 5 peppercorns and some fresh or dried thyme to the soup. If your broth is already well-seasoned, you can leave it out completely.
Cashew butter: it is the secret ingredient that makes the soup extra thick and creamy without having to add cream or coconut milk (and keep it dairy-free). Do not substitute the cashew butter with another type of nut butter as cashew has a very neutral flavor. If needed, you can replace one and a half cups of broth with 1 can of full-fat coconut milk and add 1-2 teaspoons of corn starch to thicken the soup.
Vegetable broth. Use your favorite homemade, boxed, jarred, frozen vegetable broth or dissolve a bouillon cube or bouillon powder in water. Several vegan chicken soup recipes rely on the famous Better Than Bouillon "No Chicken Base", which you can use instead of vegetable broth for an intense chicken flavor. Personally, we prefer to keep this soup as clean as possible and use a vegetable broth made without additives, flavor enhancers and natural flavorings.
Poultry seasoning: is the ingredient that will make your soup taste like chicken as we unconsciously associate these spices with chicken.
Soy curls or crumbles: soy curls have the most chicken-like shape and texture but soy crumbles work out perfectly as well. There's no need to cook them prior to adding them to the soup. Simply rehydrate them in a bowl with water and add them straight to the pot. You can substitute the soy curls with baked tofu or some canned chickpeas or white beans (that you previously drained and rinsed).
White rice: you can cook the rice in the soup (yes, it can be made in one pot) or add leftover cooked rice. Both white and brown whole grain rice will work for this recipe. You could also substitute the rice with some mini pasta or leave it out completely.
If using brown rice, note that it will absorb more water, leaving you with very little soup. You might have to add some more vegetable broth to thin it out. You'll also have to adapt the cooking time accordingly.
Wash and chop all the veggies first. We like to take out all the ingredients and place them on the countertop. Then, wash chop all the vegetables. Only start making the soup when that step is done. It will make the entire process much easier and won't turn your kitchen into a huge mess.
Chop the vegetable into thin pieces as the soup won't be blended. They will cook much quicker, too.
Sauté the vegetables for several minutes before adding the broth. They will release all their aromatic compounds and make the soup much more flavorful.
Don't overcook the rice. Check the cooking time on the package. Do a taste test when that time is up and simmer for a few more minutes if necessary.
Adjust seasoning at the end. We always recommend adding salt at the very end, when the soup is already done. Depending on how salty your broth is, you may not need to add extra salt.
Adjust the thickness of the soup with vegetable broth. Start with 3 cups of broth for a really thick soup. Add more once the rice is cooked until you reach your preferred consistency. Add more cashew butter if you want it thicker.
Step-by-step with pictures
Rehydrate the soy curly or soy crumbs. Add the soy crumbs to a bowl and cover with water or follow the directions on the package. The brand we used called for 1 and a half cups of water.
Wash and chop the vegetables. Mince the onion very finely and cut the vegetables into thin slices. You want to cut the carrots lengthwise in half before slicing them.
Sauté the onion. Add your preferred cooking oil to a Dutch oven or large pot. When hot, sauté the onion until soft and translucent.
Sauté the vegetables. Add the carrots and the celery to the pot with the onions. Sauté over medium to high heat for several minutes. Stir regularly to prevent them from sticking to the pan.
Deglaze with white wine. Pour the white wine into the pot and wait until it had evaporated before moving on to the next step.
Simmer the soup. Add in the vegetable broth, poultry seasoning, bouquet garni and cashew butter. Bring the soup to a simmer and cover with a lid. Wait until the cashew butter has completely dissolved (approximately 10 minutes). The soup will get a cream color and start to thicken. This also gives the vegetables the time to soften.
Add in the rice and the soy curls. Once the soup starts to thicken, add in the soy crumbs (with the water that was maybe not absorbed) and the rice. Once it is cooked, adjust the seasoning with salt and more poultry seasoning if necessary.
Thin out the soup with more vegetable broth if desired.
Storage and reheating tips
You can store the vegan chicken soup in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
This vegan cream of chicken soup freezes really well. You can freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. Only freeze the soup if every ingredient was fresh.
You can reheat it in the microwave or over low heat on the stove. The vegan chicken soup will thicken as it cools down (especially when it is refrigerated). If necessary, add a splash of vegetable broth (or water) to reheat it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vegan cream of chicken soup is only gluten-free if it is made without wheat flour (often used to thicken the soup). This specific recipe is completely vegan and gluten-free and uses cashew butter to thicken the soup and make it creamy.
You can thicken a vegetarian chicken soup with cashew butter (as done in this recipe) or corn starch. Once added to the hot vegetable broth wait for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken.
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Vegan Cream Of Chicken Soup
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Measuring cups or kitchen scale
- Dutch oven or large pot
- 1 onion
- 3-4 medium carrots
- 4-6 celery sticks with leaves
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or preferred cooking oil
- ¼ cup white wine
- 3 cups (700 ml) vegetable broth more as needed
- ¼ cup (65 g) pure cashew butter see notes
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 bouquet garni see notes
- 1 cup (80 g) soy curls (or soy crumbles) rehydrated in 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) water
- ⅔ cup (125 g) white rice
- Finely mince the onion.
- Wash the carrots and the celery. Cut the carrots lengthwise in half and into thin slices. Cut the celery into slices (see step-by-step pictures in post above).
- Rehydrate the soy curls in 1 ¼ cup(300 ml) of water (or as indicated on the package)
- Heat a Dutch oven or stockpot with avocado oil (or your preferred cooking oil). When hot, sauté the onion over medium-high heat until fragrant.
- Add in the carrots and celery and sauté for 5 minutes while stirring frequently.
- Deglaze with white wine.
- Pour in the vegetable broth (start with 3 cups). Then, add in the cashew butter, poultry seasoning, garlic powder and bouquet garni. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat. The cashew butter will dissolve thicken the soup.
- Finally, add in the rehydrated soy curls and whole grain rice. Cover again and simmer for 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add more vegetable broth (or water) as needed. Adjust the seasoning.
- White wine: you can skip the wine or replace it with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Cashew butter: do not substitute the cashew butter with another type of nut butter as cashew has a very neutral flavor. If needed, you can replace one and a half cups of broth with 1 can of full-fat coconut milk and add 1-2 teaspoons of corn starch to thicken the soup.
- Bouquet garni: use 1 bay leaf, 5 cloves, 3 juniper berries, 5 peppercorns and some fresh or dried thyme instead of a bouquet garni. If your broth is already well-seasoned, you can leave it out completely.
- Rice: you can sub white rice with brown rice. Adapt the cooking time accordingly. Note that it will absorb more water, leaving you with very little soup. You might have to add some more vegetable broth to thin it out.
- Time-saving tip: use pre-chopped soup vegetables (often found in the refrigerated or frozen vegetable section of your grocery store).
- Storage tips: you can store the vegan chicken soup in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- Freezing tips: you can freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. Only freeze the soup if all the ingredients were fresh.
- Reheating tips: reheat it in the microwave or over low heat on the stove. add a splash of vegetable broth (or water) if it thickened as it cooled down.
More creamy vegan soups
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