Wednesday, October 13, 2010

a milk substitute for soup - dairy free creamy leak & potato soup - recipe: dairy free creamy leak & potato soup

Yes, you read the recipe’s title correctly. And yes, it is possible to make a delicious, creamy soup that is also dairy-free. Here’s the trick — cashew cream.

Have you heard of it? In a nutshell (pardon the pun) this “cream” is made by soaking raw cashews in water overnight, and then blitzing them in a food processor, blender or “vita-mix” until a thick, cream-like mixture is obtained.

Cashew cream is no stranger to vegans, who abstain from consuming all animal product. This miracle ingredient was made popular by the talented vegan chef, Tal Ronnen.

It is easy to change its consistency. If you want a thick cream, add less water; if you’d rather have a thin cream, add more. Thick cream is great in desserts, and as a substitute for cheese in ravioli and mac and cheese, while thin cream in perfect in soups and sauces.

Chef Ronnen refers to it as “the magic ingredient that makes it easy to live without dairy.” I’m surprised at the number of people that I’ve run into lately that either cannot eat dairy (allergies and intolerances, nursing mom’s whose babies react to it, vegans) or who are trying to avoid it (vegetarians who are trying to cut back on dairy, people who have suffered from heart attacks or other health issues and are watching their saturated animal fat intake).

And to those of you without these restrictions, cheers to a creamy, decadent, guilt-free soup!

Speaking of soup, please consider stopping by the shop this Friday, Oct. 15, from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m. for our second annual fall fundraiser. Dana Shortt Gourmet is located at 55 Erb St. E., in Uptown Waterloo (across the street from the “old” LCBO store).

This year, we are featuring a “soup sale” fundraiser to raise money for National Service Dogs (NSD). We’ll have a wide selection of soups, fresh baguettes and crackers on sale and 100 per cent of the profits from the items sold will go to NSD.

National Service Dogs is a local charity that is committed to enriching the quality of life and enhancing the independence of children and families living with autism and special needs by providing them with specially trained Labrador and golden retrievers.

The money raised this Friday at our fundraiser will be used to help a sweet little girl named Tessa.

For more information on National Service Dogs, visit

dairy free creamy leak & potato soup
serves six


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (you could use chicken stock as well)
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cashew cream, see recipe below


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Saute leeks, onions, garlic and celery until just golden brown, about eight to 10 minutes.
  • Add potatoes and vegetable stock to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil; then simmer until potatoes are soft and cooked (about 25 – 30 minutes).
  • Add cashew cream, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Puree soup in blender (or using a hand blender) until creamy and smooth.

Tal Ronnen’s cashew cream

  • makes about 2 1/4 cups thick cream or 3 1/2 cups regular cream
    prep time: 10 minutes, plus soaking overnight.
    note: extra cashew cream freezes well.
  • For more information on cashew cream, visit:


  • 2 cups of raw cashews (not cashew pieces, which are often dry), rinsed very well under cold water.


  • Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  • Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place them in a blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by one inch.
  • Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. If you’re not using a professional high-speed blender such as a Vita-Mix, which creates an ultra-smooth cream, strain the cashew cream through a fine-mesh sieve.
  • To make thick cashew cream, which some of the recipes in this book call for, simply reduce the amount of water when they are placed in the blender, so that the water just slightly covers the cashews.


Myra said...

Just tried this today. Delicious!!! But was wondering if you might be able to guesstimate how many calories is in a cup or two of this soup. I'm worried it may be real high.

dana shortt gourmet said...

Hi Myra, Thanks for your great feedback! We do not have the nutritional information available for this recipe but you might want to look at to see more information about cashew cream.

Anonymous said...

Hi, could you tell me if this soup freezes well?
Thanks, Rachel

dana shortt gourmet said...

Hi Rachel,
The soup freezes very well! Hope you enjoy the recipe and thanks for asking.

catering, gourmet food shop, gift baskets