Its a cold and rainy day here in Toronto, and a realization that winter is right around the corner (there are usually flurries on halloween, yuck). When I am cold all I want is soup. Thick creamy soups are my favorite when the weather gets cold. However that creaminess often comes from added flour (gluten) and cream (dairy) two things that I, and many other people, have trouble digesting. This Cauliflower Cashew Soup was inspired by my love of Leek and Potato soup. It has lots of Leeks and gives off a similar, but in my opinion better, taste (thank you white wine) but also gives you that same creaminess thanks to the addition of cashews, rather than dairy, gluten or other synthetic thickener.
Cashews are a great natural cream alternative and excellent natural and nutritious thickener. When blended with water they make an amazing creamy texture which is why you will often find them added to dairy free/vegan cheesecakes, cheeses and creams. There is a common misconception that when the dairy is removed bone health will suffer (even though I lactose intolerant and have been since birth, those Got Milk? ads were all over my walls as a teenager, now thats great marketing!). However, Cashew are fantastic for our health as a whole as a great source of protein, healthy fat and essential micronutrients but they are also specifically great for our bone health.
Cashews are one of the few food sources high in copper. Copper also plays an important role in the maintenance of collagen in our bodies, helping us replace damaged connective tissue and strengthening our bone matrix. They are also a good source of magnesium which is important for bone formation, as it helps with the assimilation of calcium into the bone; and manganese, another mineral found in cashews which been shown to prevent osteoporosis in combination with calcium and copper.
Check out the recipe below and try our this warming, delicious and shockingly nutritious soup today
Cauliflower Cashew Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large leeks (white part only) thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
½ cup white wine*
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
¾ cup cashews
6 cups (or more) vegetable stock
Add olive oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme; season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally until leeks soften, about 6 min. Manage heat as you don’t want anything to brown
Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
Add cauliflower and cashews cover and cook on low until cauliflower softens (about 20 min) – stir occasionally to ensure not browning
Add stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil, reduce heat then simmer partly covered until cauliflower falls apart (about another 20 min)
Discard bay leaf then puree soup in a blender until very smooth (you may need to work in batches) then return to pot. Taste and season again with salt as needed and enjoy hot
Important: When blending hot items be sure to allow steam to escape from the blender or pressure will build and you will have soup everywhere (not fun)
* I used an old open Riesling whatever you have will do