Without these the soup wouldn’t have its wonderful vibrant color and creaminess, not to mention the punch of nutritional goodness. Kids know no different and enjoy it anyway, so it’s a winner all round.
Creamy Pea, Spinach and Cashew Soup [Vegan]
- 4 1/2 oz cashew nuts
- 2 tablespoons or olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- scant 3 cups
- hot vegetable stock
- 500g/1 lb 2 oz frozen peas
- 3 1/2 oz fresh spinach
- flaked sea salt and freshly ground
- black pepper
- crusty bread, to serve
- Put the cashew nuts in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to thoroughly cover. Set aside to soften.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and gently sauté for about 10–12 minutes until they are softened but not colored.
- Increase the heat and pour in the stock. Bring the stock to the boil and then stir in the peas and spinach. Once the stock returns to the boil, cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
- Drain the cashews and transfer them to a blender or food processor with 200ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup cold water. Blitz thoroughly until you have a really smooth and creamy consistency. Reserve about one quarter of the cashew cream for spooning on top of the soup when serving and keep the rest in the blender.
- Ladle the soup into the blender with the cashew cream and blitz until smooth – work in batches if necessary.
- Return the soup to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste and reheat if needed. Spoon into bowls and dollop on or swirl in the reserved cashew cream and serve with crusty bread.
Nut-free: the cashew nuts can be substituted for 125g/4½ oz silken tofu, which blends really nicely into the soup and also gives you a low-fat, high-protein addition, too. Get ahead: as with most soups, I’ll often make this in a big batch and freeze half in individual portions for an emergency nutritious lunch.