Tomato-Basil Soup with Cashew Butter

"Do I still need to put the bowl in the sink?" asked Sid wearing his naughtiest smile.

I glanced and couldn't suppress my laughter. Lying on the dining table was an empty soup bowl, spotlessly clean.

"Did you actually lick your bowl clean?"

He nodded and said, "It was so yummy. It was finger-licking ... nope... bowl-licking good Mommy!"

And then he went ahead and gave me a 'squishy-do' hug and went on to tell me that I am the "best soup maker in the whole wide world!"

Tomato-Basil Soup with Cashew Butter - A luxurious, dairy free, vegan soup that Sid is currently obsessed with. 

When we were setting up our herb garden, Sid picked up tomato seeds and wanted us to plant them. I was a bit surprised as neither Sam nor Sid are particularly fond of tomatoes.  Then he spilled the beans. He would make "the best Tomato Soup ever" from our home grown tomatoes. 

Unfortunately, for first time gardeners like us, tomatoes can be a bit tricky. A fungal infestation ruined our crop and broke Sid's little heart. But our farmers market didn't disappoint us and we came back with two bunches of plump, juicy on-the-vine tomatoes. 

Raw Cashew Butter - the rich, creamy and oh-so-luxurious spread is my current fixation, when it comes to thickening my soups, stews and gravy. I am fond of almost any kind of nut butter but Cashew Butter is special. Unlike, peanut butter, almond butter or walnut butter, Cashew Butter has a neutral flavor and doesn't overpower, but brings a subtle silkiness to the soup. 

Cashew Butter is a high calorie addition to this relatively low carb - low calorie soup. But it comes with 5.6 grams of protein and rich in nutrients like iron, copper, and phosphorus. Moreover, all of the fat in cashew butter is heart-healthy unsaturated fat. It's way better than adding heavy cream. 

There is something classic; something timeless about the Tomatoes and Basil. Be it raw in a salad or cooked together into a soup, the combination never bores, even when eaten almost everyday. The Sweet Basil bounty I have in my herb garden, gave me the perfect excuse to add a ton of the fragrant herb into the soup. 

Tomato-Basil Soup with Cashew Butter is a awesome Lunch Idea. You can dunk a few whole wheat crackers or chow down a small salad with it. It can also be the perfect first course for your dinner. 

Or serve to your 7 year old with a side of grilled cheese sandwich and steamed broccoli any time of the day, and become the 'bestest' Mommy ever!


Recipe Snapshot: Tomato-Basil Soup with Cashew Butter 

Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 3/4 cup)

What I used:
Tomatoes - 1 lb (3 big or 4 medium sized), quartered

Garlic - 6-8 fat cloves (or more if you so desire)

Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped

Dried Oregano - 1/2 tsp

Vegetable stock or water - 2 - 3 cups (depending on the consistency you want)

Cashew Butter - 1/4 cup

Basil Leaves - 1/4 cup, packed leaves + more to garnish

Olive oil - 2 tbsp

Salt and freshly cracked pepper

What I did:
1. Preheat the oven at 450F.

2. In aluminium foil add the quartered tomatoes and the garlic. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and salt. Roast it in the oven for 20-25 mins till the tomatoes are soft and slightly charred.

3.  In a stock pot, heat two tablespoon of Olive Oil and add the chopped onion. Saute till the onions are soft and slightly brown. 

4. Add the roasted tomatoes and the garlic and the dried oregano and all the delicious juices they released. Saute for two more minuets, breaking and pulping the tomatoes with the spatula. 

5. Add the vegetable stock or water. Chicken stock can also be used. Start with 2 cups of liquid and add more if required. Bring the liquid to a boil. And then let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

6. Now either using a hand-held immersion blender or standard blender, blend everything until smooth. If using a blender/processor, definitely remove the plug on the lid and cover with a thick kitchen towel. This with allow the heat to vent without a creating a big mess!

7. Once blended, add more liquid if required. Add the cashew butter and bring it back to a simmer. 

8. The soup would have thickened. Add the finely chopped Basil and let it simmer for another five minutes on low heat. Keep adding more liquid if it seems to thicken too much. 

9. Garnish with a dash of pepper and more basil leaves.

10. Serve hot with bread or crackers. 

Diabetic Platter:
Tomatoes are a treasure of riches when it comes to their antioxidant benefits. In terms of conventional antioxidants, tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a very good amount of the mineral manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E. In terms of phytonutrients, tomatoes are basically off the chart, to say the least.

Specific antioxidant nutrients found in tomatoes, whole tomato extracts, and overall dietary intake of tomatoes have all been associated with antioxidant protection. Sometimes this protection comes in the form of reduced lipid peroxidation. Sometimes this protection comes in the form of better antioxidant enzyme function. Better antioxidant protection has also been shown using broad measurements of oxidative stress in different body systems. 

Cashew Butter is a naturally sweet spread made from ground cashews.You can use it on toast or as an ingredient in stir fries or baked goods. When eaten in moderation, cashew butter is a healthy addition to any diet.

Cashew butter contains 3 g of protein per 1-tbsp. serving. It offers 4 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for iron and 1 percent for calcium. It also has 18 percent of the RDA for copper and 10 percent for magnesium. Both of these minerals help with bone, muscle and joint health. Cashew butter is also a source of riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and vitamin >

Seventy-five percent of the fat in cashew butter is Oleic Acid, the type of heart-healthy unsaturated fat found in olive oil. Substituting unsaturated fats for saturated fats found in animal products and tropical oils can help improve your cholesterol levels.
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