Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vegan Vitamix Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival is held every October and I've gone for the last two years, each time vowing to write a post about it. Well, that never happened, but that's not to say I wasn't inspired by what I learned and tasted! At the 2010 festival, James and I attended a cooking demonstration led by Tal Ronnen, author of The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat. He prepared a delicious Vegan Celery Root soup made with Cashew Cream and as soon as I got my VITAMIX (it's been on my wishlist for at least a year and I finally did it last month!), I ran out and bought like 5 bags of Raw Cashews so I could whip up some delicious CREAMY Vegan Soups. This was my first shot at it and let me tell you... it was delicious!
soaked raw cashews

Here's the recipe: 
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 large butternut squash, roasted
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 or 2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 - 2 cups vegetable broth (depending on how thick you like your soup) 
Sage, thyme, salt, and pepper 

Rinse the cashews under cold water. Place the cashews in a glass bowl, cover with 1 - 2 inches of water, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Remove from fridge, rinse with cold water, place in
Vitamix and cover with 1 - 2 inches of water. Turn Vitamix on Variable 1, increase to 10, then flip the switch to high and blend until cashew mixture is completely homogeneous. Check out Tal Ronnen's Cashew Cream Recipe here!
cashew cream!
roasted butternut squash
Cut butternut squash in half length-wise. Scrape out seeds with a spoon, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast at 400 degrees in a pan with 1/2 inch of water for about an hour (until squash begins to brown). Remove from oven, let it cool, and scrape the cooked squash away from the skin with a spoon. Tip: Do this ahead of time, like when you pop the cashews in the fridge to soak, and when you go to make the soup, you'll be able to do everything else in 20 minutes!
you can let them brown a little if you prefer

Saute onion, carrots, and celery, in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes) or golden brown (about 15 minutes).
Add the onion, carrots, celery, veggie broth, and butternut squash to the cashew cream in the Vitamix. Add 2 fresh sage leaves or a tsp of dried sage and about a tsp of dried thyme. Turn the Vitamix on to Variable 1, increase to 10, then flip the switch to high and blend until steam starts to escape from the lid. Pour yourself a bowl, garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper, and a sage leaf or 2 and enjoy!

Note: If you don't have a Vitamix, you can still make this soup! You can make the cashew cream in a regular blender, but will have to strain it through cheesecloth for the smooth texture. (See link to Tal Ronnen's recipe above for details). I highly recommend a Vitamix to anyone in the market for a food processor or blender. I've only had mine for about a month and it has literally changed my life. It's so easy to make everything from smoothies to soups to hummus and even peanut butter! But again, if you don't have one and aren't in the position to spring for one, you can simply add all the ingredients to a pot on the stove and use an immersion (stick) blender OR you can just blend the soup in batches in a regular blender on high.

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