Nothing compares to the mouthfeel of cream. It’s such a luxurious and comforting texture to me. I refuse to drink anything less than whole cow’s milk; 2% milk is a watery hell. I often use almond milk and coconut milk in cereals and oatmeals, namely because they have a longer shelf life than dairy milk. They work to wet my flakes and Cheerios, sure, but the bowls as a whole are lacking that creamy complementary texture. Cashew milk, on the other hand, is the closest plant-based milk that can hold a torch to cow’s milk regarding its texture. I remember the first time I had cashew ice cream, and I was taken aback. A few months ago, I had some cashew cream on some tomatillos, and I fell in love!
The idea of making cashew cream has long intimidated me. I won’t even mince words here: if I blend something for too long in my trusty but relatively-old blender, the scent of grinding metal is a bit disheartening after a few minutes. (Haaa.) However, if proper precautions are taken (i.e.: you soak the cashews for a nice long time), the results are worth it, even in the shoddiest of blenders. A Vitamix would be a nice kitchen accessory; until I’m at a point in my life where blowing $1,276 on my share of the rent, utilities, and a student loan payment during the first six days of the month doesn’t make me cry, it’s not exactly on my shopping list. Here’s hoping for a nice salary increase in 2017, eh? 😉
Another fact: I’ve never made homemade tomato soup before! I try to avoid processed foods as much as possible, but a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup is classic, comforting, and damn delicious. I will defend the awesomeness of that soup to the death! That being said, I figured knowing how to make a good creamy tomato soup from scratch would be a good recipe to store in my mental annals.
I am genuinely surprised how much I love this soup. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I took my first few bites and got a little bit giddy! You’ll love it, vegans and carnivores alike! Well…if you’re allergic to cashews, perhaps you won’t be as big of a fan of this soup. I apologize. Haaa.
Creamy Tomato Soup with Cashew Cream [VEGAN]
(Cashew cream portion adapted from Pinch of Yum’s recipe for Five Minute Cashew Cream)
(Serves 4 to 6)
For Cashew Cream:
– 8 ounces raw cashews (do not use roasted cashews!)
– 5 cups water, divided into a 3-cup portion and a 2-cup portion
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 28 ounces (1 can) tomatoes, unseasoned
– 1 cup water or vegetable broth
– 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
– 2 cups chopped onions (white or yellow)
– 1 cup parsnip, diced, or 1 cup celery, sliced (see Before We Get Started…)
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 1 tablespoon dried basil
– 1 tablespoon oregano
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 2 teaspoons sugar
– Chopped herbs, for garnish (optional)
Before We Get Started:
– I absolutely ganked the cashew cream sauce from Pinch of Yum, full credit! (I love that blog. How can you not?) This is a wonderful and versatile sauce. For this recipe, I stuck to the original recipe and added the garlic into my cashew cream, but if you are adverse to garlic or don’t want as much (as there is garlic in the base of the soup), feel free to omit. That being said…that clove garlic truly makes all of the difference.
– A lot of recipes call for celery as, what I consider to be, a filler vegetable. Its addition bulks up the dish it’s added to. Honestly, I hate buying giant packs of celery. I’ll use a stalk or two for a meal, then the rest will sadly go to waste. Locally, I can never find loose celery stalks for sale, but I’ve started using parsnip as my filler for some recipes, as I can easily find loose parsnips. I love it! I’d recommend whichever you prefer, as both bulk up the soup but do not add overwhelming flavors to the batch.
1.) Place cashews into a large bowl and cover 3 cups water. Allow to soak for 2 hours before draining and rinsing. In a blender, add cashews, 2 cups of water, garlic, and salt. Start blending ingredients on low, increasing to a higher speed after ingredients start to incorporate; continue to puree until smooth, roughly 3 – 5 minutes. If necessary, add additional water to thin out the consistency of the sauce. Set aside.
2.) In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery or parsnip. Cook for roughly 5 minutes or until onions and celery or parsnip are translucent; do not allow them to brown! Add garlic and cook for another two minutes.
3.) Add tomatoes, water or broth, the blended cashews, and stir. Add all spices and stir to combine. Bring soup to a gentle simmer and cook until it begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. Blend, using an immersion blender, until smooth; if you do not have an immersion blender, blend soup in small batches in your blender. (NOTE: Do not blend more than a cup or so at a time; hot liquids and blenders are NOT the best of friends. Unless you want to wipe hot soup off of your kitchen walls, blend in batches!) Return to pot and taste to adjust seasonings; add more to taste.
4.) Serve warm, topped with optional herbs. If you have any leftover cashew cream, feel free to spoon some on top! If not eating immediately, store in containers to refrigerate or freeze.