Sunday, June 6, 2021

Vegan Cream of Celery Soup

Bowl of Vegan Cream of Celery soup
Soup for Springtime, or Anytime

Recipe by Robin

It’s early June but it’s been pretty chilly for Santa Cruz. I’m NOT complaining! In fact, the cool spring gives me hope for a cool summer. Year-round soup days—YES! Recently we received 2 large bunches of celery in our food share. Celery is a basic ingredient that adds subtle flavor base to soups, stews, and casseroles. Cooked on its own its flavor is neither shy nor overpowering. Combined with a couple potatoes and homemade cashew cream, it becomes a satisfying first course, light lunch with crackers or toast, or late night snack. Also good chilled.

celery sliced up in food processor
It's All About the Celery
One of the beauties of this soup, besides putting mondo amounts of celery to tasty use, is its short cook time. About 10 minutes of simmering is all you need. The work is in the veggie chopping. In particular, the celery must be sliced thin to cut any strings into manageable units. A food processor is easier and faster than a knife, and also makes slices more uniform.

Although we think of celery as green, it’s mostly white. Combined with potatoes and cashew cream, the soup comes out yellowish or light spring green. To enhance the greenness that I’d expect to see in anything celery, I’ve added parsley to the soup. It’s entirely optional. Unless I have a bunch on hand or in the garden I skip it. I don’t peel thin-skinned potatoes because they add flecks of color to the soup as well.

Garnish with Celery Leaves and/or Parsley
Some tips on broth: chicken broth tastes great, but of course defeats the soup’s vegan aspect, if that’s your goal. Veggie broth is ideal, BUT don’t use a carrot-based broth. You can identify it by its color and smell. The flavor will overpower the soup’s celery-ness, and the color will not be pretty. It might taste fine, but it’s no longer cream of celery. Use either instant broth, liquid broth, or (my favorite) a combination.

There’s plenty of room for variation in this recipe. Add any kind of green herb from your garden in place of dried thyme and nutmeg, or just use a couple bay leaves. Amounts of celery, onion, and potatoes can vary to accommodate what’s on hand. Or add more cashew cream for creamier soup. Non-vegan options include sautéing in butter rather than oil (I use a combination), and substituting sour cream for the cashew cream.

Here’s to celebrating the cool evenings of spring, as they grow ever shorter and we approach summer.

Ingredients for Vegan Cream of Celery Soup
All This Plus Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream of Celery Soup

makes ~5 quarts

  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • ~1¼ lbs. potatoes
  • 4 - 5 large cloves garlic
  • 1 gigantic or 2 small bunches celery
  • 1 tbsp. butter or olive oil (I use ½ tbsp. each)
  • 5 – 6 cups veggie or chicken broth
  • 1 bunch parsley (optional)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 – 1½ cups cashew cream
  • Celery leaves (optional garnish)
  • Parsley leaves (optional garnish)
  • Extra cashew cream (optional garnish)

Chop onions in ½ inch dice. You will have about 2 cups. Chop potatoes in ½ inch dice. You will have about 3 cups. Chop garlic medium fine, about 2 tbsp.

Run celery through food processer with thin (4 mm) slicing blade. Or remove strings and cut into thin slices by hand. You will have about 7½ cups.

Separate parsley stems from leaves. Snip stems into ½ inch sections.

Heat butter and/or oil over medium in a deep soup pot. Sauté onions in fat, stirring occasionally, till golden, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and stir till fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in diced potatoes till coated with oil.

Add celery, snipped parsley stems, 5 cups broth, salt, pepper, thyme, and nutmeg to pot. Stir. Add up to 1 more cup broth to barely cover veggies.

Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer about 10 minutes, till potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat. Stir in parsley leaves, if using. Wait about 1 minute till parsley wilts.

Puree the soup thoroughly in the pot using an immersion blender.

Stir in 1 cup of cashew cream. Taste soup for flavor and texture. Adjust salt, pepper, and spices if desired. If soup seems thin or to add extra richness, add another ½ cup cashew cream. Or reserve the ½ cup to serve as a soup topping.

Serve in bowls garnished with celery leaves, parsley leaves, or a dollop of cashew cream.

Potatoes and Onions Sauteed in Oil and Butter
Begin by Sauteing Onion and Potato
Celery and Parsley Added to Soup Veggies
Add Celery and Parsley Stems
Spices and Broth Added to Soup
Add Broth, Herbs, and Spices, Then Simmer
Soup After Simmering
Stir In Parsley Leaves and Let them Wilt
Soup After Pureeing and Adding Cashew Cream
Puree Soup and Stir in Cashew Cream
Bowl of Vegan Cream of Celery Soup garnished with Parsley
Serve and Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment