Gingered Carrot Bisque

This month, we’re featuring recipes for easy meals — warm, satisfying lunches and dinners you can throw together as the days grow shorter. First up, this sweet and spicy soup from Food52’s beautiful new cookbook. This one will appeal to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike…

Gingered Carrot Bisque
From Food52 Vegan

Carrots and ginger play a starring role in this sweet and spicy soup. The supporting cast includes potato for extra heft, cashew cream for a luscious mouthfeel, and a touch of curry powder for deeper, more complex flavor. Just one heads-up: although the cashew cream is super simple to prepare, the cashews must soak for at least three hours before making it, so plan accordingly. (The cashew cream can be made up to six days in advance.)

Recipe: Gingered Carrot Bisque

1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 (1 1/2-inch) piece of ginger, finely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 lb carrots, chopped
1 small to medium russet potato, cut into large pieces
1 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/3 cup Savory Cashew Cream (recipe follows below), plus more for serving

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and ginger and sauté until the onion is tender and translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the broth, carrots, potato and curry powder and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or using a regular blender and working in batches), blend until completely smooth. Put the pot over low heat and cook, stirring often, until heated through. Stir in 1/3 cup of the cashew cream.

Top each bowl of bisque with a swirl of cashew cream before serving.

Savory Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is a secret weapon of vegan cooking, supplying the creamy texture that many people fear they’ll miss in vegan cuisine. Use it in place of crème fraîche, sour cream or dairy cream; as a garnish; or as a component of baked goods, soups — including the Gingered Carrot Bisque — and pasta sauces. As is, it’s also a wonderful vegan béchamel sauce.

2 cups cashew pieces, soaked in water for at least 3 hours and drained
1 to 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 cup cold water, plus more if desired

Put the cashews in a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse a few times to grind them up. Add the lemon juice and salt. With the motor running, drizzle in the water and process until completely smooth (which may take a few minutes), stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl or blender jar. Add more water for a thinner consistency, if desired; you may want it as thick as whipped cream or as thin as coconut milk, depending on how you plan to use it.

Stored in a covered container in the fridge, the cashew cream will keep for up to six days.

Thank you, Food52! Your new cookbook is beautiful.

P.S. More recipes, including classic chicken soup and delicious Boursin pasta.

(Recipe excerpted from Food52 Vegan, by Gena Hamshaw, with permission of Penguin Random House LLC. Photo by James Ransom. This series is edited by Caroline Donofrio.)