Autumn has well and truly descended upon London. Trees are undressing themselves left, right and centre, with red and gold leaves littering the footpath. I can’t help but sigh with relief when I enter the house tightly wrapped in a scarf and beanie, and my host has the heater cranking…ahhhh. Of course, this means one thing in the kitchen – soup weather is in full-swing.
I love soup, and can’t think of a more satisfying dish to eat at this time of the year. A bowlful is warming, comforting and nutritious; with no unusual, expensive or hard to source-ingredient needed to make something really spectacular. When it comes to soups, simple does it.
The Joys of Cashew Cream
Below is a recipe for a five-ingredient, vegan-friendly and dairy-free cream of pumpkin soup.
Traditionally, this soup would include dairy cream, making it not suitable for those following these dietary preferences. While a pumpkin soup sans cream is still absolutely delicious, you don’t have to forgo the creamy texture and can instead use an easy homemade plant-based concoction – that being, cashew cream.
This is really simple to whip up, you just soak cashews in water for 30 minutes and blend until smooth! It adds a lovely creamy element, while not stealing flavour show – you still get a full-bodied pumpkin soup.
1Lveggie stock (e.g. veggie stock cubes prepared with water, fresh pre-made stock or homemade stock)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the cashews and water together in a bowl. Leave to soak (for a minimum of 30 minutes).
Begin by cleaning the pumpkin. Carefully slice the butternut pumpkin in half. Spoon out the inner seeds, and discard. Place the flat-side of each halve down, and slice pumpkin into thick pieces from top to bottom. Then thinly slice the skin off each slice, and dice the flesh into large bite-sized pieces. Aim for each piece to be relatively uniform in size, so they’ll cook at a similar rate.
Peel onion and garlic, and discard skin. Roughly chop each.
Add to a large saucepan or soup pot the diced pumpkin, onion, garlic and veggie stock. The liquid might not fully cover everything – this is totally okay!
Bring to boil uncovered, and then reduce to a simmer until the pumpkin is tender – roughly 35-40 minutes.
Once the soup has finished cooking, blend together the cashews and water using a stick blender or food processor until super smooth. Put aside.
Blend soup using a stick blender or food processor. If you’re using a food processor, do NOT put hot soup into the blender as this can be dangerous – let is cool first.
Once soup is blended, pour in cashew cream and mix until smooth. Taste-test and add salt and pepper to your liking.
Gluten-free?Check to make sure your stock is certified gluten-free, as some can contain sometimes wheat.Cashew cream not your preference?You can substitute the cashew cream out for dairy cream – simply add 100ml.Serving suggestion Ladle hot soup into a bowl and drizzle with any leftover cashew cream. Sprinkle overtop a handful of freshly chopped herbs (e.g. Italian parsley), pumpkin seeds and a few turns of the pepper shakers. Great served with pesto smothered toast!