1 (12-ounce) jar Delallo Roasted Red Peppers in olive oil with garlic
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water, divided use
1 Tablespoon vegetarian chicken-style instant broth and seasoning (I prefer McKay’s brand)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 cup rinsed raw cashews
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (may use Italian-style or tomatoes with basil and garlic)
1-2 teaspoons agave nectar (to taste)
4 slices firm-textured bread
1 Tablespoon vegan margarine-type spread (I prefer Earth Balance) OR olive oil
Garlic powder to taste
Half a small clamshell container of fresh basil
Prepared Garlic Croutons
Drain the liquid off the jar of roasted red peppers into a large saucepan.
Add the onion; sauté over medium heat until the onions are tender.
Stir in the garlic and sauté another minute or two.
Transfer the sautéed onions and garlic to a large blender container.
Add the crushed tomatoes, 1 cup of the water, McKay’s seasoning, basil, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes; cover, then blend on high speed until very smooth.
Without washing the blender container, combine the remaining 2 cups of water and the rinsed cashews; cover, then blend on High to make a smooth “cashew cream”.
Stir the cashew cream and diced tomatoes into the tomato mixture in the saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Season to taste with agave nectar and additional salt or pepper, if needed.
Meanwhile, to prepare the Garlic Croutons, spread the bread slices with vegan margarine-type spread (or brush with olive oil); sprinkle with garlic powder, then cut into 1-inch cubes; toast in the oven until lightly browned and crisp.
Also, pluck the basil leaves from the stems, discarding stems.
Rinse leaves and pat dry, then cut into narrow ribbons.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with basil ribbons and Garlic Croutons.