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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Five Spices Pumpkin Soup with Orange Pepper Cashew Cream

Pumpkins are a dime a dozen this time of year, hence the many of them adorning my counter tops right now. I've been playing with a crazy number of recipes that you will be seeing here soon.

Since our biggest eating holiday is coming up next week, I'm going to post a simple pumpkin soup recipe first. In this soup I used a touch of Chinese Five Spices to give a little flavor twist over the typical pumpkin soup. It's an interesting mix of cinnamon, clove, pepper, fennel and anise. It marries quite well with meats but you'll find it sweet, savory and complex in this soup. If you haven't tried this spice blend before, you may find yourself become immediately addicted to it and find yourself putting it on everything. It's quite concentrated so a little goes a long way.

Orange Pepper Cashew Cream tops the soup in a creamy, non-dairy way. If you haven't made a creamy, dairy substitute out of cashews before, now is the time to try. It's super simple, just add cashews and water and blend.

Instead of ending your Thanksgiving meal with a pumpkin, perhaps this is the year to start with it. Pumpkin 5 Spices Soup with Orange Pepper Cashew Cream, a deliciously healthy pumpkin soup.

Happy Healthy Tips:  Pumpkins are an excellent source of fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are great for heart health.

Chinese Five Spices Pumpkin Soup 
Orange Pepper Cashew Cream

1 tbls coconut oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 clove  garlic, minced
2 tbls garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
4-5 cups broth or water
2 cups pureed pumpkin
salt and pepper

1/2 cup cashews (soaked)*
1/4 cup water
1 small orange, peeled
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper

Melt the coconut oil over medium low heat, add the chopped onions and saute until soft. Add in the minced garlic, ginger and the 5 spice, cook for about two minutes.

Add in the pureed pumpkin, slowly whisk in three to four cups of the broth. Cover and let simmer about 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or place in an upright blender) to blend the soup. Add additional liquid for a thinner soup as desired. Sometimes I like to leave my soups a little thicker and with texture; make to your liking not mine.  Add a good pinch or two of salt and fresh ground black pepper, taste and adjust.

While the soup is simmering, blend the cashew cream. Place the cashews, half of the water, the orange, garlic and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding additional water if needed to achieve a creamy texture.

Top each soup bowl with a few spoons of the cashew cream. Enjoy!

*you don't have to pre-soak the cashews, but it helps to soften them and blend easier. Just cover with water, let for sit for a few minutes up to 8 hours. Then drain, rinse and blend.

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