Recipe: “Creamy” Tomato Vegetable Soup
This recipe utilizes the sneaky cashew “cream” technique to create an easy and delicious dinner idea that can be prepared in less than an hour with a bit of planning. The cashews must be soaked for at least four hours so as long as you put them in some water either in the morning or the night before you should be ready to crush this recipe and have a healthy dinner on the table in no time.
There is a lot of flexibility both in ingredients, including spices. Many of my triathlon friends who are not avid chefs lament recipes with spice lists that are longer than the main ingredient list. It can cost more to buy all the spices than the food! I have provided some options so you can use whatever’s in the pantry. Using stock (either homemade, purchased as a liquid or even in cubes) is important. If you are using canned tomatoes and beans, it’s best to choose salt-free so you can control the saltiness of the final product.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 6 cups of chicken stock
- Vegetables (whichever you prefer):
- 1 onion (or leek, shallot or combination)
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- 2 beets (I used a gold and red beet)
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 yam
- 2 potatoes
- ¼ cabbage
- 28 oz tin of tomatoes
- 14 oz can chickpeas
- 14 oz can cannellini beans (can be substituted for chicken or ham)
- 4 cups greens
- Spice options (1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp white pepper, ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp basil, 1 tbsp fresh basil, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp thyme*)
*I used all of these spices but you can choose just a few and still have a great soup.
You can make your own stock if you prefer. Roast a whole chicken and put the carcass in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Leave to simmer overnight and in the morning strain all the solids from the liquid. Put the liquid in the fridge to cool. Once it is cold you can remove any chicken fat and freeze the stock for future soups. For vegans, a vegetable stock is even easier. Put some onions, carrots, celery, potatoes (for some density) and spices of choice in a pot and boil for three to four hours. Strain the solids and freeze the liquid.
- Soak the cashews for minimum four hours. Once soaked, drain and add approximately one cup of stock (or water and a bouillon cube) to the nuts. Add spices and blend until smooth.
- Dice/chop all of the vegetables.
- Add some olive oil (or coconut or grape seed oil) to your soup pot (cover the bottom) and add the onions.
- Saute on medium-high for three to five minutes until they turn translucent. Then add the garlic, celery and carrots. Saute for three more minutes, then add the remaining vegetables. Toss a few times in the oil before adding the beans, tomatoes, cashew puree and stock.
- Give the entire pot a good stir and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiled, turn the pot down to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the greens after you turn the heat off – they will be perfect just wilted in the hot liquid.
Voila! Soup is done. For those eating clean, this soup rich and satisfying. For some added goodness, throw some cheese toasts on top. Using day-old crusty bread, slice thick pieces and drizzle with a bit of melted butter on both sides. Bake at 400 degrees for five minutes per side then grate a bit of cheese on one side. Bake two minutes longer and place on top.
One toast or two? Bon appetit!