For a special treat for my grandsons, I served this soup with saltine crackers which I had brushed lightly with vegan margarine, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, then popped into a 350 degree oven until crispy. Oh YUM! These crackers took me back to the days when my mother used to roll out any pie crust scraps when she was making pies, sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar and bake until just beginning to turn the lightest shade of brown around the edges.
Yield: 14 (8-ounce) servings
3 cups peeled and finely chopped flavorful apples (about 6 small apples)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
7 cups water, divided use
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 teaspoons vegetarian chicken-style seasoning (I used McKay’s brand)
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and dried thyme
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, rinsed
1 large (29-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not sweetened pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
Place the prepared apples and onions in a large stockpot. Add 4 cups of the water, maple syrup, vegetarian chicken-style seasoning, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and thyme; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the apples and onions are tender.
Meanwhile, in a high-powered blender, combine the remaining 3 cups of water and the rinsed cashews; cover and blend until creamy and completely smooth.
Stir the cashew cream and pumpkin into the cooked apple mixture.
Using an immersion blender (or blending in batches using a conventional blender), puree soup.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, or cover and refrigerate, reheating when needed.
Non-vegan alternative ingredients for who may not have raw cashews and vegan chicken-style seasoning on hand!
To replace the "cashew cream" (made by blending 3 cups of the water with 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews), substitute 3 cups of fat-free half and half for these two ingredients.
To replace the 4 teaspoons of vegan chicken-style seasoning (which is combined with the four cups of water in which the apples and onions are cooked), substitute 2 chicken bouillon cubes; alternatively, replace the 4 cups of water and chicken-style seasoning or bouillon cubes with 4 cups of prepared chicken-broth.
Recipe by LuAnn Bermeo, author of Amazing Meals 1 and 2; VERY loosely based on a non-vegan recipe from Taste of Home's Field Editor, Pat Habiger.