Carrot and Tomato Cashew Bisque with Old Bay Croutons

I feel like the title of this recipe is explanation enough, so I’ll just say that this bisque reminds me of ordering a cup of crab stew or lobster bisque in little mom and pop restaurants growing up. We no eat crustaceans or dairy anymore, and that’s not an issue at all with this creamy and delicious vegan bisque!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 (14 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water, adding more as needed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Old Bay crouton recipe follows
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Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat and add carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring, until vegetables have softened. Mix in the flour and continue stirring until incorporated and flour begins to brown.
  2. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Make the cashew cream while that cooks. Add cashews (softened if not using a high powered blender*), water, and nutritional yeast to a blender, and blend until very smooth.
  4. Add the cashew cream to the pot after 20 minutes, then simmer another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf. Allow the mixture to cool some.
  5. Pour the soup into your blender in batches until the whole pot is smooth and creamy.* Add freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste. Ladle into bowls after making these Old Bay croutons, toss some on top, and enjoy!

For the Old Bay Croutons:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Slice up half a baguette into crouton-sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Mix together 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, and 1 tablespoon garlic powder. Toss croutons in the butter and spice mixture, add to a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, stirring/flipping halfway through.

Notes:

*Soften cashews by soaking in water overnight, or soaking in hot water for 20 minutes.

*Unnecessary, but potentially interesting side note: I am lazy and don’t want to add multiple cups of hot liquid to a blender or wait for the whole pot to cool, so I’ll sometimes use an immersion blender instead to get things as smooth as possible. Then I’ll take 1.5 cups out, let it cool a bit, blend that until completely smooth, then stir it back into the pot. The texture achieved by this is similar to rustic lobster and crab bisques I had before going vegan, so I really like it.

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