I'm a pretty open eater. I'm not a vegetarian yet I love making meatless meals, and I do it often. I'm not a Celiac but I feel amazing eating gluten free. I never have less than two scoops of ice cream but I have been drinking almost only almond milk since last summer. That's the beauty of cooking, experimenting in the kitchen. You can do, eat, make and buy whatever your tummy and brain desire.
Last weekend, I made this gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian squash soup, but that was never my intention. I've grown so fond of the techniques used in gluten- and dairy-free cooking styles, that I went with my gut and this is what popped out. I had the techniques in my head and the ingredients in my pantry, and I just went with it. Let me tell you more...
This soup is simple. It's all about the winter squash currently circulating in your local grocery store, CSA or market. You simply heat up some olive oil, saute some onions, add in squash and then boil in water until tender. Toss in some cashews to add that extra creaminess, blend it all together and you've got a velvety, flavorful winter squash soup.
I've made several variations of squash soup, using cumin, chili, paprika...you name it. But with my cashew-creamed version, I went simple, only adding my favorite sea salt. The reason? Well beside the fact that I'm a squash nut and just love squash in its purest form and flavor? Well the reason is that I knew I would be topping it with a chewy, crunchy, lightly chili-spiced and vinegary quinoa salad.
The quinoa salad adds that "wow" factor, and allows you to enjoy a nice big bowl of soup with the addition of a hearty, crunchy, light and healthy salad. The acidity from the raw apple cider vinegar cuts the creamy soup in just the right way.
Whether your vegan, vegetarian, gluten- or dairy-free, or none of the above, give my Winter Squash Soup with Quinoa Salad a try. It's fantastic.
Cashew Creamed Winter Squash Soup
by Becky of Project Domestication
3 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
6 c. winter squash, peeled de-seeded and chopped (butternut, kuri and acorn)
1 TB. sea salt (I use Utah's Redmond Real Salt)
6 c. water, divided
1 c. raw cashews
In a large stockpot heat olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add onion and stir. Let cook until soft and somewhat transparent, about 5-10 minutes. Add squash and sea salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes until it gets nice and browned and a bit soft. Add five cups of the water and bring to a boil then simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add in cashews and cook for an additional 5 minutes until squash is nice and tender.
Pour squash mixture into blender in two batches and blend until smooth. (If using a Blendtec blender use the "soup" setting.) Be careful of steam. Repeat with second batch, adding in additional 1 cup of water (and maybe more) if it seems too thick. I'm pretty sure you'll need it. Combine the two batches in pot, add more water if necessary and adjust seasoning.
Ladle in bowls and top with Quinoa Salad. Serve and enjoy!
Note: You could certainly add in herbs and spices. But give this simple route a try. I find it to be perfect with the quinoa salad topping.
Quinoa Salad Soup Topping:
1 c. cooked quinoa
1-14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-14 oz. can corn, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped about the size of corn kernals
1 TB good extra virgin olive oil
2 TB Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2-1 tsp. Redmond Real Salt (or to taste)
Mix all ingredients in small-medium bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. I've been known to add a bit more apple cider vinegar.
Other winter squash recipes you may enjoy:
Roasted Maple-Chipotle Butternut Squash on Project Domestication
Roasted Squash & Chestnuts with Pomegranate Seeds & Maple Balsamic on Vintage Mixer
Butternut Squash Risotto on Taste and Tell
Winter Squash stuffed with Quinoa, Kale and Pecans on Cafe Johnsonia
Butternut Squash Mac n' Cheese on Two Peas and Their Pod
Roasted Winter Squash with Sausage on Kalyn's Kitchen