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Despite what many people think, choosing to eat ethically and healthfully is not a culinary death sentence. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and not once have I come across a recipe that couldn’t be adapted to disclude animal products. All it takes is a little effort, ingenuity, and care.

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Lovely pureed soups filled with heavy cream, usually associated with upscale bistros (and bloated tummies), are easy to adjust for a vegan diet with just a few small changes.  Raw cashews, for example, are the miracle food of the vegan world. When soaked and then pureed, they transform into an incredibly smooth and delicious cream that can then be transitioned into any number of recipes. My absolute favourite is cashew frosting – all it takes is a splash of maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt to transform cashews into frosting, and it tastes even better than its sugar-laden and dairy-heavy counterpart!

In this recipe, cashews add a rich and mellow flavour that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the leeks and hearty warmth of the potatoes. Even better, they add a dose of healthy fat and protein, making this soup a one-pot meal you can feel great about.

Are you a fan of cashew cream? Post in the comments below to share your favourite way to use it!

Recipe comes from by blog, The Healthful Hoard.

Potato and Leek Soup with Cashew Cream and Crispy Fried Sage 

~ Gluten free, vegan, low sodium ~

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Ingredients

For the soup

  • 2 large leeks, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound mini red potatoes, diced
  • 8-10 spears asparagus, chopped into small pieces
  • 7 cups no-sodium-added vegetable stock (I use these bouillon cubes)
  • 1/4 tsp each of dried basil, oregano, marjoram, sage, rosemary, and tarragon
  • freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (optional)
  • a handful of fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)

For the cashew cream

  • 1.5 cups cashews, soaked overnight*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, plus more for serving

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the leeks, onions, and garlic, and gently cook for 10-15 minutes, until soft and translucent. The longer you can cook the leeks without browning them, the sweeter they will taste.
  2. Add the potatoes, asparagus, herbs, and vegetable stock*. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, drain your soaked cashews and toss them in a blender, along with the water, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Blend on high until completely smooth and set aside.
  5. A few minutes before the soup is finished simmering, heat a small pan over medium-high heat and add the vegan butter. Cook just until it begins to brown, then add the sage leaves and take off the heat. This step isn’t completely necessary, but adds a nice touch and looks great when serving.
  6. When the soup is finished, use an immersion blender to puree the soup about halfway between chunky and smooth. I prefer my soups with some texture, but of course feel free to puree completely.
  7. Pour in the cashew cream and adjust the seasoning.
  8. To serve, add a generous squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl, along with your favourite hot sauce (optional) and garnish with the fried sage.

Notes

  1. If you’re pressed for time or forgot to soak the cashews, you can bring some water to a boil in a small pot and then remove from the heat and throw the cashews in. If they soak for an hour or two they should soften up enough to puree well.
  2. If using bouillon cubes, you may find it easiest to just toss them in the blender with the cashew cream. I like to do this to ensure they are thoroughly incorporated into the soup.


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