This creamy, rich-tasting soup is just the ticket on a chilly night. Cashew cream is the secret ingredient here, thickening the savory broth and fooling your palate into thinking this soup is a high-calorie indulgence. Parsley is America’s favorite herb, and it does more than add pretty color. It is an actual flavor that brightens the taste of many dishes. Flat-leaf Italian parsley, rather than the curly stuff, is always the best choice for intense taste.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

½ cup diced onion

3 ounces sliced mushrooms (about 1 cup)

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups vegetable broth or 4 cups water with 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base

¼ cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

2 cups plain unsweetened nondairy milk

½ cup whole raw cashews

1 pound package prepared gnocchi

1 cup frozen peas

¼ cup chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot, heat the oil on medium heat and then add the carrots, celery and onion. Cook and stir for five minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook and stir for another three minutes.
  3. Add the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook and stir for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are firm tender.
  4. While the soup is cooking, add the milk and cashews to a high-speed blender or smoothie maker and process on high for at least two full minutes.
  5. After step three is completed, add the milk/cashew mixture, gnocchi, and peas to the soup. Cook on low heat for about four minutes, until the gnocchi are soft, the peas are tender and the soup is hot and very thick. Taste for salt.
  6. Stir in most of the parsley. Garnish each serving with a little more parsley and some freshly ground black pepper.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.