I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with creamed spinach…In my non-vegan days I always ordered it at restaurants, but since going vegan, I hadn’t had it for about 2 years before I realised that I missed it! I played around with different cheese sauces to see which one works best and this one is an absolute winner. It is super quick to make and completely healthy – no processed ingredients, no cholesterol.
- 1/2 cup raw cashew nuts (You can use 1/4 cup instead. It will still taste great but will be a little less creamy.)
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1/2 small garlic clove minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- onion, chopped
- Optional – crushed garlic
- 3-4 cups of frozen spinach
Saute the onion in a little oil or just using a dash of water if it catches until translucent. I like to add a heaped teaspoon of crushed garlic and saute that for another 2-3 minutes. Add frozen spinach, put a lid on the pot, reduce heat to medium and allow to thaw. Every 3-5 minutes, remove the lid and break up the chunks of frozen spinach/give a stir, replace the lid for another 3-5 minutes. Keep doing this until the spinach is fully cooked.
While the spinach is cooking, blend all the cheese ingredients in a blender. If you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Omniblend, there is no need to pre-soak the nuts. If you have a regular blender, if possible, soak the nuts in water 8 hours before making it just to soften the nuts and ensure a smooth sauce. If you don’t have time to soak it it is not a crisis though – even if the sauce is not entirely smooth, you actually won’t notice it at all once mixed through the spinach. Once everything is blended, pour it into the fully cooked spinach and cook though, stirring from time to time to prevent it from catching. You will see that as the sauce comes to the boil, the tapioca flour thickens it into a beautifully creamy, thick sauce. Taste for saltiness – add more if desired and serve! This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for about 4 days.
I used to love making butternut soup in winter (or summer) and make it extra creamy by adding 2 tins of ideal milk. Now that I am vegan I had to look for an alternative and I must say – I think this version is even better;)
This particular combination of spices is just right for me. I feel it brings out the natural sweetness of the roasted butternut without overpowering it. After having said that, many people like spicy butternut soup with curry powder so taste this and adjust to your liking:)
- 2 medium butternuts, sliced in half
- olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I used golden delicious)
- extra water as needed
- salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place butternut halves face down (cut side down) on a sheet of baking paper and pop into the oven. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the butternut is soft and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down. Peel off the skin and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Set aside.
Start by sauteing the onion in a little olive oil until soft and translucent. Add crushed garlic and fry a bit more. Add cashews and fry a little longer – stirring the cashews through the garlic and onions to absorb the flavour while getting toasted. Add spices and stir through, then add stock and apples. Bring it to boil, reduce heat and simmer until both the butternut and apples are soft. Add more stock/boiling water if needed so that it doesn’t cook dry.
Pour the soup into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. I suggest leaving a vent open at the top of your blender/food processor and covering the vent with a dishcloth to prevent splashes. This allows the steam to escape. If you seal in the hot soup without allowing the steam to escape, the blender will shoot off its lid….You don’t want that….believe me….
Pour the soup back into the pot and taste. Add more stock/water to thin it out if necessary and check the seasoning.
To serve, I drizzled a little extra cashew cream on – this is entirely optional. To make cashew cream, soak some cashews in water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the cashews. Throw the cashews into your blender with just enough water to cover them and blend. Add only enough water to blend it into a smooth paste with a thick, yet pourable consistency. You can always add more water but you can’t take excess water out – so go slow on adding the water. The cashew cream really doesn’t do anything to enhance the flavour, but it does make it a little bit more creamy and looks pretty:) I only bother with the cashew cream for guests – I’m super happy without it.
Let me know what you think!