Sunday, April 10, 2016

Vegan Tomato Bisque with Cashew Cream for Souper (Soup, Salad, Sammie) Sundays

Tomato soup, especially rich and creamy tomato soup, as smooth as silk, is one of life's simple pleasures. I make it often, usually doing a quick version where I whirl good canned tomatoes, spices, and coconut milk or non-dairy creamer in the blender. As much as I love creamy tomato soup or bisque, I don't like all of the saturated fat that comes with it so I am always on the lookout for vegan versions that taste great but are a bit more health-friendly. So when I saw Trisha Yearwood making a Vegan Tomato Bisque with Cashew Cream with my favorite vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, I knew I wanted to try it.

In addition to my quick blender version, I have made Chloe's Spicy Tomato Soup and my own vegan version of Nordstrom Cafe's Tomato Bisque, both using coconut milk in place of dairy cream. Trisha's version uses a base of cashew cream, which I love, so I wanted to see how it compared in the final soup. I did make a few small changes--omitting the flour to thicken and replacing it with pureed white beans, reducing the margarine, and added some sun-dried tomato paste for extra flavor. 

Tomato Bisque with Cashew Cream
Adapted from Trisha Yearwood via Food Network
(Makes 6 Servings)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) vegan margarine, like Earth Balance (I used 1/4 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (I omitted & used 1 cup pureed white beans--see note below)
5 cups vegetable stock (I used 4 cups + the cup of pureed white beans)
one (28-oz) can whole fire-roasted tomatoes, with their juices (I used diced fire-roasted)
(I added 3 Tbsp sun-dried tomato paste)

1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp picked fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups Cashew Cream, recipe follows

(I added extra cashew cream and fresh basil to garnish)

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the margarine and stir until melted. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and continue cooking and stirring until the flour browns slightly, about 2 minutes. (Note: I wanted it gluten-free and didn't have any GF flour handy so I pureed 1 cup of cannellini beans with 1//2 cup of the broth in the blender until smooth and then added it to the soup in the next step. I liked that it adds extra protein and fiber, while it thickens although if you wanted to use GF flour or omit the thickener entirely, I don't think it would make a big difference in the final product.)

Add the stock, tomatoes with their juices, parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the Cashew Cream and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, taking care not to let the soup boil. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender or food processor and blend on high for several minutes, until very smooth. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Cashew Cream:
(Yields about 2 1/4 Cups)

2 cups raw cashews, whole or pieces

Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Put them in a blender with enough fresh cold water just to cover them. Blend on high for several minutes until smooth. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any remaining bits of cashew. (I have a Vitamix and didn't feel it needed this step.) Store refrigerated for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes/Results: Great! This soup is very bit as decadent and good as a full butter and cream bisque--but without the dairy and saturated fat that it brings. I am glad I added the sun-dried tomato paste, I think that made the tomato flavor more prominent than it would have been. I am happy to just it this soup on its own but of course creamy tomato soup is always great for dipping a sandwich in. Trisha Yearwood had an Avocado Pesto Toast recipe that accompanied this soup on the show that I would make if I was eating bread/wheat. Otherwise, you could add a side salad and it would be a satisfying dinner. I think you could sneak this one in on your non-vegan friends and they would not suspect a thing. ;-) I would happily make it again. 

Here's a recap of the delicious dishes from last week's Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays roundup. Yep, if you hadn't noticed, Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads or sandwiches and then a recap of (some, OK usually all of...) the entries the following week. 

(If you are not familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.)

Sue of Couscous & Consciousness made Ellie Krieger's Rock Melon Gazpacho and says, "To me there is always something about a chilled soup that seems very luxurious and elegant, and for some reason I can't explain seems to elevate soup from "comfort food" to something quite special. In any event, if you can get your hands on some melon, I urge you to try this. The colour is glorious, with a flavour to match - but I do urge you to make the soup at least a couple of hours before you want to eat it to allow the flavours to fully develop. Actually even better if you can make it the day before."

Flour.ish.en Test Kitchen tried this stunning Black and Red Salad from Ellie Krieger and says, "Adding to the color black is the bold color red: beets and radicchio. The deep tone and flavor of the black and red ingredients make for a stunning and mouth-watering salad. The sweetness of the plum balances well with the pleasantly bitter beet greens and walnuts, and the creamy goat cheese."

Thanks for linking up this past week!

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month but we'll take older posts too.) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.
On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the wonderful Souper Sundays logo (created by Ivy at Kopiaste) to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!

1 comment:

  1. Just the name cashew cream sounds decadently rich, but good for you tweaking it so you get the rich taste with the heart attack. The avocado pesto may be good on a gluten free cracker, but I don't know if you eat those. Sometimes gluten free doesn't equal healthy, that's for sure.

    Love the soup. It's colorful and I know delicious. Anything with dun dried tomatoes is great.


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