10-Spice Vegetable Soup

It’s Foodie Friday again!  This week the most delicious thing we made was this soup from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook.  SUPER Winter comfort food!  Full of awesome gorgeous color, veggies from the garden (I ran out and picked some of our hardy wintering kale, and used frozen tomatoes saved from last fall!).

The real story though:  one component though stands out as rockstar!

Cashew Cream.

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So to make cashew cream, you soak cashews for 6-8 hours, rinse, and then puree/blend with some water or stock.  Varying the amount of water, changes the consistency – and it is WEIRD how much ground up cashew tastes like dairy!  I’ve used powdered cashew in place of Parmesan cheese on pasta dishes – BELLISSIMA!  Anyway.  The creamy base for 10-Spice Vegetable Soup ~ cashew cream!  I left the cashews soaking all day while I went to work, so all ready to go in the soup in the evening.

Now onto the SOUP!

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Ingredients:

FOR THE SOUP:
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 6 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (we only had green, but it was fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potato, regular potato, or butternut squash
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce/796-mL) can diced tomatoes, with their juices (or sub with fresh tomatoes – see blog post for my how-to)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-1  1/2 tablespoons Homemade 10-Spice Blend (recipe follows), to taste
  • Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 cups baby spinach or destemmed torn kale leaves
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or other beans, drained and rinsed (kidney beans are fun too)
HOMEMADE 10-SPICE BLEND (MAKES 1/2 CUP):
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1.  Place cashews in a bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak the cashews overnight, or for at least 2 hours. Drain and rinse the cashews.
  2. In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews with 1 cup of vegetable broth and blend on the highest speed until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Season generously with Herbamare or sea salt.
  4. Add the carrots, bell pepper, potato, celery, and diced tomatoes with their juices, the remaining 5 cups broth, the cashew cream, and 1-1.5 tablespoons of 10-spice blend. Stir well to combine . Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Season with salt and black pepper and add the bay leaves.
  5. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and black pepper. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the spinach/kale and drained beans.
  6. To freeze, ladle the soup into containers (leaving 1-inch for expansion), cool slightly, secure lid and place in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Tips: 1) If you don’t wish to make the 10-Spice Blend, feel free to use your favorite store-bought Cajun or Creole seasoning mix and add to taste. 2) You will have leftover spice blend. Store it in a container and keep it handy anytime you want to spice up a dish! It’s great for pasta, soup, tofu seasoning, stir-fry, and more. 3) When thawed (this freezes really well!), this soup’s broth looks a bit grainy, but rest assured when it’s heated up again it will return to its former smoothness.

 

 

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