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Vegan Potato Soup
“Roasted shiitake mushrooms make a vegan "bacon" topping that gives this soup a delicate hint of smoke. Soaked cashews get whirled up into a luscious sauce that serves as a dairy-free cream alternative. Don't shy away from this comforting soup because it's meat-free; it has more than enough flavor to satisfy.”
1½ cups raw cashews
1 cup water, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
½ teaspoon paprika
4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and diced
4 cups low-sodium "no-chicken" or vegetable broth
1 scallion, sliced
2 tablespoons toasted pepitas
1Preheat oven to 375°F.
2Place cashews in a small bowl, cover with 1 cup water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water.
3Meanwhile, stir tamari, 1 tablespoon oil and paprika together in a medium bowl. Add shiitakes and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once, until golden brown and crispy, 20 to 25 minutes.
4Place the cashews, nutritional yeast and ¼ teaspoon salt in a high-speed blender; blend on the highest setting, scraping down the sides once or twice, until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Thin with a little water, if necessary. Set aside.
5Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Add potatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency. (Alternatively, in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree to desired consistency. Use caution when blending hot ingredients.)
6Roughly chop the roasted shiitakes. Divide the soup among 6 bowls and garnish with the shiitakes, scallion, pepitas and a dollop of the cashew cream (you may have some left over).
To make ahead: Refrigerate soup for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving.