Monday, October 19, 2015


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My results for Butternut Squash Soup with Quick Cashew “Cream” 
You might know Laura Theodore as "The Jazzy Vegetarian", which is the title of her first book.  Laura is not only an author and talented singer, but is also a popular vegan radio host (she interviewed me a while back) and television cooking show host. She's one busy woman, and very down-to-earth and kind one, too (evidenced by her long-time vegan lifestyle and support of animals). She is an accomplished chef, as well, and her busy lifestyle has made her aware of the need for colorful, healthful, tasty and EASY meals to help other busy vegans put meals on the table.

And that is the theme of her latest cookbook "Laura Theodore's Vegan-ease", which I've had the pleasure of reviewing.  Yes, it it is full of gorgeous photos, but I was impressed by much more than that: 1.) The practical advice and tips about menu planning, holiday menus, tips and recipes, shopping, ingredients, kitchen tools, no-oil cooking, eco-cleaning your kitchen, and basic vegan nutrition; 2.) The concept of the "Ease-Factor" rating for each recipe; 3.) The fact that, though she has soy-free options, she's not afraid to use tofu! 4.) The book is not fat-free, but she's very moderate with fats (and there's a no-oil Crispy Steak Fries recipe!); 5.) The use of whole foods throughout the book; 6.) The dessert recipes are inspiring, but easy on sugar of all kinds; and 7.) Last but not least, colorful, flavorful, interesting dishes made with real foods!

I've got quite a few recipes marked in this book to try soon (Deep Dark Chocolate Truffle Pudding, for one!), but, this being squash season and a bountiful squash year where I live, I chose to try this delectably smooth butternut squash soup for this review. It was a cinch to make, lovely to look at, full of rich flavor and very satisfying.

Bon Appétit!

A photo of this soup from the book Laura Theodore's Vegan-Ease
Butternut Squash Soup with Quick Cashew “Cream” 
Makes 4 to 6 servings / Ease Factor 2

This simple-to-prepare potage 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.
Recipe from Laura Theodore's Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet © Laura Theodore (Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC 2015), reprinted by permission.

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 (I didn't have any, so I used a blend of dried basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary, ground in a spice grinder- BCG)
¼ teaspoon sea salt (Laura recommends that you use salt according to your taste-BCG)
2⁄3 cup raw cashews (I soaked mine in boiling water for 10 minutes before blending-BCG)
2½ cups filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage or nondairy milk of your choice (I used soy milk- BCG)
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 (see note).

Meanwhile, put the cashews and 1⁄2 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 1⁄4 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 (optional). Serve piping hot (see notes).

Chef’s Notes
-  You may roast the squash up to 24 hours ahead of time. After cooling, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until use.

-  This soup may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. If making in advance, let the soup cool after blending, pour the cooled soup into an airtight container and refrigerate. To reheat the soup, pour it into a pot. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more water to achieve the desired consistency. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until heated through.

- The cashew cream may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until use.

Nurtrition Facts:

Amount per serving, based on 6 servings:  93 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Saturated fat; 2g Protein; 8mg Sodium; 15g Total Carbohydrate; 3g Sugars; 2g Fiber


1 comment:

Unknown said...

I’ve tried all three diets- veganism, vegetarianism, and a meat diet and I’ve always felt the healthiest with a vegan diet. Eating meat always made my energy levels decline and milk and eggs did the same but to a lesser degree. Plenty of protein can be found in so many natural vegan sources so the myth that vegans don’t get enough protein is wrong too. Keep up your good work.