I have been on a major soup making kick. It’s cold, somewhat dreary, and I just want something warm and comforting. I used to go for meat-filled, cheese/cream-filled, and gluten-filled goodness, but those are all out now – but that only makes me more determined to find stuff just as tasty, if not tastier. And I know sticking with plant-based whole foods, it’ll be healthier to boot!
Cheesy baked potato soup was one of my all time favorite soups (and M’s as well). And it’s generally terrible for you. Especially when you serve it with extra bacon, extra extra cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. Shivering in 20 layers of sweats, I really wanted to have a creamy potato soup again. So I came up with this one, and boy howdy did it deliver. I think it might be my best soup yet! It hits all the delicious creamy desires, but with less guilt. It seriously doesn’t taste healthy. Not in the slightest. And we ate the whole pot in 2 meals (though probably would serve 6-8).
The creaminess comes from blending cashews with water until it becomes a smooth “cream.” I’ve discovered that cashews are a magical nut. They are incredibly versatile, from making cheeses, to cream, to snacking. I don’t know what I’d do without them. All hail the cashew! And it doesn’t take too many to achieve ideal creamitude.
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 stalks celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small can mild (or hot) green chilies (I like the Hatch brand)
- 1.5 lb or so of Yukon gold potatoes (about 5 small to medium sized), diced into about 1/2″ cubes
- 2 t paprika
- 1 t dried thyme
- 2 t salt (possibly try smoked salt for a bacony type flavor? I’ll try this next time)
- 1 t pepper
- 6 C vegetable broth
- 1/8 – 1/4 C nutritional yeast (I prefer the Red Star brand; and believe me – there is great variation among tastes of nooch. So if you don’t like one brand, try a different one. I’ve tried 5, and they all taste different.)
- 3/4 C raw cashews, soaked in water for a few hours, then drained (if you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, no need to soak)
- 1.5 C water
- 3 T fresh chopped chives, plus more for garnish
- optional for serving: hot sauce, vegan sour cream, extra nooch, coconut bacon, chopped pimentos or other pickled peppers, etc.
In a large soup pot, heat 1-2 T oil. Add the onion, and cook until golden. Add the celery and cook another 4 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, and thyme. Stir to toast, about 1-2 minutes. Add the potatoes and green chilies – stir to coat with the seasonings. Sprinkle salt and pepper, then cover with the vegetable broth. Stir in the nutritional yeast. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook about 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the cashews with the water. Set aside.
When the potatoes are tender and falling apart, using a stick blender (or food processor or blender, in batches), puree about half to 3/4 of the soup (I like to have some of the chunkiness remain; if you don’t, make it all smooth). Add the cashew cream and the chives, stir to heat through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with chives, and anything else you want.
All done! It’s extremely easy, but so delicious. I hope you try this one out!