Dairy-Free Tomato Bisque

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Full disclosure that the photo above was sprinkled with Parmesan cheese prior to its portrait session, making it an accidental imposter.

This recipe starts with impatience. Apparently, it ended with impatience as well, since I couldn’t control my hand with the Parmesan cheese 🙂

Last summer, I put up quarts and quarts of tomato sauce. Most of it was this amazing roasted tomato sauce, but I also tried my hand at canning marinara sauce. Have you tried this? It isn’t difficult, but I’ll tell you:

It takes for.ev.er.

I started with two large stock pots full of tomatoes that had been cooked and then run through a food mill. When I ended, about 6 hours later, the juice had reduced to about 3/4 of a pot total. It didn’t really seem thick enough, but I was over it (OVER. IT.), because my kitchen at that point was about 95 degrees and 110% humidity. So, I canned what I had and called it a day.

Guess what?
It pretty much stinks as marinara sauce.

But guess what else?
It is magic as tomato soup.

Since spring has still not returned to North Carolina, our rainy, chilly weekend made for perfect tomato soup weather. I took out one of our last quarts of marinara sauce tomato soup and opened up a little bit of summer in a mason jar. There is nothing like the wonderful fragrance of ripe tomatoes to cure a 60 degree, rainy day. Well, maybe a trip to Florida would work.

I used the canned tomato soup to create a dairy-free tomato bisque that was thick and creamy, with a touch of basil thanks to our stash of frozen pesto cubes (those things are like gold, I tell you!).

Want to know the secret?

Cashews.

I know, right?

I am finding that–believe it or not–cashews are a crazy good substitute for cream and milk in some recipes (not baking though!).

The trick is to soften them in boiling water for about 15 minutes, then drain them, purée and add to your recipe! In this case, I added the softened cashews directly to the soup pot along with our frozen cube of basil pesto. I puréed the whole shebang with my stick blender and we were done!

Dairy-Free Tomato Bisque (3 servings)

  • 1 quart tomato marinara sauce (or 1 quart of tomatoes, seeded and cooked)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  1. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine cashews and boiling water. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  2. When cashews have softened, strain and set aside.
  3. In a medium stock pot, combine all ingredients. Use a stick blender to blend all together. Heat through and use stick blender again, if needed to process the cashews. The soup should be very thick and creamy.
  4. Serve immediately. Garnish with some shredded cheese if you can have some dairy or croutons!

NOTE: You can also put all the ingredients in a good blender and process to completely dissolve the cashews.

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