Winter is the perfect time to not only warm up with soups but also use winter-ready vegetables like squash, onions, potatoes and kale. This soup is my family’s favourite, and it may become yours, too. Using puréed cashews to make the “cream” puts vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into the mix that you wouldn’t normally get with plain dairy cream. The cashews also supply protein, so this soup, served with bread, is a complete meal. Even better: The cashew cream makes it vegan, which means that you have something to feed everyone at your holiday table, no matter what kind of diet they follow. If you’re making this for someone with a nut allergy, you can substitute the cashew purée with 1/2 cup of silken tofu or a cup of 10% to 20% cream.
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into large chunks (about 9 cups)
1 cup chopped celery and celery leaves
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped potatoes
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 to 3 bay leaves
2 tsp brown, coconut or date sugar
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight in the fridge
Salt and pepper
In a large stockpot, place all the ingredients and cover with 8 cups of water.
Heat over medium-high until boiling, then turn down to medium. Let simmer until the chunks of squash are cooked through.
Remove the bay leaves and discard.
Ladle out 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid (it’s OK if there are random bits of veggies floating in it) and put it in the bowl of a large food processor.
Add the soaked cashews and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until everything’s evenly puréed.
Scrape the cashew mix into the stockpot and, using a handheld immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
For a stronger curry flavour, double the curry powder.
This recipe makes an enormous amount of soup—about 10 grownup, main-attraction servings.
It freezes well, too.