I love this soup. It's one of my favorites. I came up with the recipe years ago and have been making it regularly since. If you are a "foodie" and love to cook and create new things, it is saying a lot when a recipe earns a spot as a "regular" in the meal rotation. This is one of those recipes for me.
Oh, and the mochi croutons! They just make it that much more delicious! I love mochii! If you are not familiar with mochi, it is made from whole grain brown rice and water, and its so good for you! They steam the rice, then pound the brown rice into a paste and form them into rectangular cakes that harden. You can cut then and use them how you want, but one of my favorite ways is as croutons. They are puffy and crispy on the outside, chewy in the center, and so delicious!
Mochi is highly nutritious, nourishes the spleen, pancreas and intestines, and is great for pregnant and nursing women. It is also great for those of you with gluten intolerance's because it is wheat and gluten free as well! So if you can get some Mochi, definitely give it a try!
The cashew cream lends such a wonderful silky, velvety texture to the soup. Just remember to start soaking your cashews in the morning the day that you are going to make this soup so that they are ready to go when you need them.
Creamy Tomato Basil soup with Mochi croutons
What You Need:
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. Earth Balance vegan butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes in tomato juice (Trader Joes has a good organic one)
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 tsp salt
2 handfuls of fresh basil
1 recipe for cashew cream (recipe below)
1 recipe for Mochi croutons (recipe below)
Cashew Cream: 1/4 cup cashews, 1/2 cup water
Soak cashews for at least 2 hours. Drain and rinse the cashew well, and place in a blender with about 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in the fridge until ready to use for soup.
To Make the Soup:
Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter, onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute until the onions become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, 2 tsp. salt, and a few cracks of black pepper. Bring up to a low boil, then cover and simmer soup on low for about 20 minutes. Add a few large handfuls of fresh basil to the soup, and stir in the cashew cream. Blend the soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth. Top soup with Mochi croutons.
Mochi Croutons: 1 Pckg. Grainaissance plain Mochi, 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil, sea salt
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet. Dice the mochi into 1/2 cubes, and then pan fry until lightly browned and crispy on both sides. Place on a towel or baking sheet to cool, and sprinkle with sea salt.