by Dana Velden
A soup to feed every guest, no matter how finicky
One of the challenges of entertaining these days is the number of food allergies, sensitivities, aversions and other issues guests can bring with them to the table. It's impossible to please everyone, but this soup goes a long way toward universal satisfaction and joy. Made with ground cashews instead of cream and kicked up with an array of savory herbs and spices, it is the perfect thing to serve when you have mixed company. But don't make it just because it's vegan-friendly and easy. Make it because it's absolutely delicious.
This Cashew Tomato Soup has hippie roots, as it is based on a recipe found in "The Tassajara Recipe Book" by
The texture of the soup is creamy, but unless you have one of those super powerful Vitamix-style blenders, it will likely have some texture from the cashews. I don't mind this, but I do know someone who strains her cashew mix before adding to pot. I recommend that you try the soup as is before opting for straining; why add an extra step if it's not necessary?
This recipe can easily be divided in half or multiplied to feed the masses. Just be careful with the ground cloves when scaling up the amounts, as you can go overboard there. Err on the side of less and you will be good.
This soup is delicious served with rice (brown or white) and a vinegary side salad of robust greens such as radicchio or arugula. Some shaved fennel would be nice, too.
Cashew Tomato Soup Recipe
4 cups raw cashews
4 cups water
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
4 cups onions, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 tablespoon salt
1-2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 small chipotle, dried or in adobo (optional, or more to taste)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole or chopped tomatoes
The juice from one lemon or lime
Chopped parsley or basil for garnish (optional)
In a blender (or using an immersion blender) blend the cashews and water until smooth. I find it helpful to do this in an 8-cup batter bowl, which gives me enough room to really blend the cashews with my immersion blender. A Vitamix would also be handy, although a regular blender will work as well. Set aside. Don't wash your blender, as you will be using it again soon.
In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil, and add the onion, celery and salt. Cook slowly, partially covered. Stir occasionally. When onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and chipotle, and cook until fragrant. Add remaining spices and continue to cook another minute or two.
Add tomatoes and cashew milk, and stir. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until soup begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. Blend using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender (be very careful when blending hot liquids!), until soup is smooth. Return to pot, taste for seasoning, and add the lemon or lime juice if needed. Reheat gently, watching carefully as it's easy to scorch the bottom.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with the optional herbs.
Soup Recipe, American Cuisine