Friday, June 01, 2007

Ginger Carrot Soup with Cashews

I love to find a recipe that I would never have come up with myself. This is a perfect example. I found this in the new printing of the original cookbook from the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY. Moosewood is an institution. It has been there for longer than most restaurants even dream of being in existence and it is completely vegetarian, as are all of the cookbooks. They celebrate vegetables, grains, and even dairy and eggs, but not meat.

Now don't get me wrong here. I love meat. I love meat almost as much as I love cake. But I also know that meat is often treated with hormones and antibiotics, which I'm not wild about putting in my body, and it is expensive to get meat that isn't treated. We resort to some egg meals like quiche or frittata, but sometimes it is nice to have some good vegetarian options that stand all on their own. This is one of those. It is actually a vegan recipe, lactose and gluten free. What is in it, you may ask. All good things. Fresh carrots and ginger, toasted cashews, and a combination of spices that I would never have devised.

This soup is a nutritional powerhouse too. Enough beta carotene to make your head spin (night vision, anyone?) and protein and good fat from the cashews. This is a great option for a dinner on a cool night with a hearty salad to fill in the rest of your nutrients. (Or just go ahead and add a big crusty loaf of bread!) This soup is fine served cool, but I think the heat really brings out the nuttiness of the cashews. It is so smooth and rich in flavor, you would never know that there is no cream in this soup. In fact, the cashews somehow both thicken the soup and give it an incredible lightness at the same time. The result is sublime.

This soup also became a loyal lunchtime companion. It thickened up a bit in the fridge, but just a little water before I microwaved it at work made it just as good as when I first made it.

Carrot Ginger Soup with Cashews (adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook)

The spices in this recipe are vital to the flavor. Don't depend on the allspice that you bought in the mid-nineties. The Lexington Co-op and many other health-food type shops sell spices in bulk. Get only as much as you need.

2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cups water

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon dried mint*

3-4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup toasted cashews

Place the carrots in a medium saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until the carrots are very tender (10-15 minutes)

Heat the olive oil in a small fry pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add ginger, garlic, salt, and spices. Lower the heat and continue to saute for another 8-10 minutes, until the onions are soft. Stir in lemon juice.

Combine the spice-onion mixture with the carrots and the cashews. Use a blender to puree the mixture until smooth.

(Serves 8-10)

* I couldn't find dried mint in bulk so I opened a mint tea bag and used the contents. Brilliant, I thought!


Devon said...

I used to live down the street from the Moosewood in Ithaca, and wholeheartedly supported thier veggie celebration throughout college. I'm so happy to see your version and can't wait to try it!

Holloway said...

Dev, I forgot about your Ithaca connection! I was thinking about you as I made this, remembering your, ahem, issue with making soup in quanities appropriate for two! Give it a try. I think you will like it.

Lizzle said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I've been looking for a copycat recipe of Pacific Foods' version because it's like $5 for a thing of it at Wegman's around here! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

this was such a yummy soup! very easy to prepare! which is good for me because i am not an excellent chef!

Anonymous said...

I was also looking for a copycat recipe of Pacific Foods' version, which is delicious - quite a bite to it. I can't wait to try this one - it looks great. Thank you!

brannyboilsover said...

Beautiful pic! I am making this soup tonight -- I received a Moosewood Cookbook for Christmas.

creativedetroit said...

I just made this recipe. It is delicious, tummy-warming, and tastes very similar to what I was looking for (Pacific Natural Foods Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup). Yes, it does take a long time to puree it, but it is so good.

The only change I made was this. I substituted one cup of heavy coconut milk for water (adding it at the end, right before pureeing). It is a way to add a smooth and sweet creaminess (without using animal products, for those who are vegan). I just love how it tastes.

My cattle dog is begging me for a taste right now... (her head is resting on my arm) I let her lick the plastic container of the food processor, and she apparently couldn't get enough.

LoriM said...

Also looking for a copycat recipe for the Pacific Foods version. Yum.

Tip - hand held blender stick makes pureeing in the soup pot a breeze! Easy cleanup too.

citymagnolia said...

This was delicious. Mine turned out really thick, so at the last minute I turned it into a birthday pie for my fiance. It's his birthday today and he doesn't like sweet foods, so this was perfect. It would be great with coconut cream in it, too. This will be a regular dish in our house.

Anonymous said...

I made this soup twice, and it's very good. It came out too thick the first time so I reduced the carrots from 2 pounds to 1 1/2 pounds.

Shari said...

I too, was looking for a version of the Pacific Foods soup. It's a great substitute, and way cheaper. Even if you don't have all the spices -- definitely look in the bulk foods section at a grocery store or co-op. It's really cheap. I also subbed (pepper)mint tea for dried mint.

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to drain the carrots, so I did. It did end up pretty thick, even after I added (up to 1/2 cup?) of milk. Next time I might keep and add some of the carrot water, and/or more milk. I also made mine in a food processor and it didn't take too long.

The spices are a great mix, but I wouldn't be afraid to add more. It's pretty mild the way it is, so that is a change I will make next time as well. Hoo-rah! It was delicious.

Bettina said...

Same here, looking for a copy cat of Pacific food's soup. This looks great and I can't wait to make it!

Question: how do you go about toasting the cashews, or are they toasted when you buy them? Are salted ones ok?


Rayne Beaux said...

As I'm allergic to onion, I always make a homemade carrot soup and have never tried any of the mentioned ones, but this one particularly sounds divine (without the onion obviously)!

Lisette said...

I just made this recipe--and almost stood over the blender and ate it right there. So good! I couldn't believe it. I also added coconut milk I had left over from another recipe--about 3/4 a cup. I would add a little less coconut milk next time--it overpowered the cashews a bit, I think. Still delicous!
I just used the salted roasted cashews from the store--straight out of the can.