ABOUT THE RECIPE:
This simple-to-prepare Butternut Squash Soup with Quick Cashew “Cream is rich in taste and creamy in texture, without the use of dairy. A quick cashew “cream” (no pre-soaking of the cashews required) adds a touch of elegance, and the coconut milk beverage adds richness and depth to this impressive soup.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
5½ cups cubed butternut squash, (about 1 medium squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1½-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup raw cashews
2½ cups filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage or nondairy milk of your choice
4 to 6 basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Put the cubed squash, olive oil and Italian seasoning in a large bowl and toss gently until thoroughly coated. Arrange the squash in a single layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash is soft and slightly golden. Put the pan on a wire rack and sprinkle with the sea salt. Let the squash cool for 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the cashews and ½ cup water in a high-performance blending appliance and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer the cashew “cream” to a small bowl, leaving about 2 heaping tablespoons in the blender container. Add the cooled squash, coconut milk and 2 cups water to the cashew “cream” in the blender container and process until smooth, adding more water, about ¼ cup at a time, as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Pour the soup into a medium-sized saucepan, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until heated through. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Using a small spoon, swirl about 1 tablespoon of the cashew “cream” into the top of each serving, in a pretty pattern. Garnish with a basil leaf. Serve piping hot.