Musical pairing – Smooth by Santana

About a month ago, Shauna of Gluten Free Girl put out a call to see if anyone would be interested in putting together recipes for our Thanksgiving meals that would be gluten-free. Here is part of what she said:

‘As you know, Thanksgiving (in the US) is quickly approaching. As you might guess, this is a particularly anxious time for gluten-free folks, since the traditional meal is SO starchy and glutenous. Imagine what it might be like to show up at Thanksgiving and not feel welcomed at the table. You watch everyone else eat stuffing and pie and nibble on mashed potatoes and salad, hoping there wasn’t any cross-contamination in the cooking.’

And honestly, until I received that email, I hadn’t imagined what it would be like to be invited somewhere for a meal that I couldn’t eat.  I don’t have celiac disease but my sister was diagnosed a couple of years ago; when I started this blog, she wrote and asked if I was up to the challenge to find recipes she could make.  So I said yes to Shauna’s request immediately . . . and then I panicked . . . I’m not necessarily a baker, nor am I a recipe developer but I want to learn; however, there are quite a few expert bakers in this group and when I saw some of the recipes they would be submitting . . . (deep breath) I decided to play it safe and do soup.  But before I get to that . . .

I want to share a little bit about Shauna and Danny (a professional chef) and the work they’ve done on behalf of people who are gluten-intolerant.  Not only are they some of the most caring and generous people around, but when Shauna was diagnosed with celiac, she decided to make it her life’s mission to learn everything she could to create fabulous tasting gluten-free dishes; she didn’t settle for whatever was available on the store shelves but developed recipes that tasted as good or better than what she’d eaten her entire life.  And she’ll tell you she’s never eaten better.

Several bloggers are participating in this project and Shauna has posted all of our links on her site; please take time to head over and look at the fabulous Thanksgiving recipes that have been made by really great people, some who are gluten-intolerant themselves and others like me, who can eat gluten but want to support this project – it will knock your socks off!  Oh, and one more thing, Shauna and Danny have written a new cookbook which I’ve purchased.  And let me tell you, the recipes in this cookbook are unbelievable! Crackers, apple-rosemary muffins, pumpkin soup, warm rice salad – even a blue cheese cheesecake with a fig crust – oh my heavens – I want to make every recipe in the book! And they share their love story . . . happy sigh . . .

Now about the soup . . .

The secret ingredient is Cashew Cream which is used as a thickener and also gives the soup an extremely creamy texture – you’d swear it was full of cream!  Raw cashews are soaked overnight, rinsed, then blended before being added to the soup base.  The whole shebang is pureed for several minutes in a blender, drizzled with chive oil and garnished with a touch of granny smith apple.  This soup is nothing short of perfection, nirvana or a host of other adjectives I could use to describe just how satisfying it is . . . it’s one of the best soups I’ve ever had, it’s gluten-free, it’s also vegan and it’s nothing short of sublime.

SMITH BITES NOTES: While it looks like this might be time consuming it is not; you do need to plan ahead to soak the cashews overnight and once the cashew cream has been made, it can be stored for a couple of days before using, as can the Chive Oil.  The soup itself takes about an hour from start to finish and again, can be made a few days ahead; in fact, this year I’m testing to see if the soup can be frozen, then thawed blended and reheated.  I’m all about spending less time in the kitchen and more time with my guests!

More Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dishes


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  7. This is one of my very favorite soups! I’d never had celery root before I tried it in this, and I was 100% sold!

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  12. Beautiful in every aspect…the soup, the reason, the photo’s, the story…everything. Love it!

  13. I love cashew cream as a rich alternative to cream. Great post, I’m heading on over now to check it out.

  14. OH, that sounds delightful. I LOVE celeriac. (Even though I’m not a big fan of celery.)

  15. I LOVE that this recipe is both gluten free AND vegan! Not that I’m either but I have friends who are one or the other. And let’s face it, if it’s delicious, who cares?

    The cashew cream sounds awesome. I’ve read about it before, but I’ve never really thought to use it as a thickener in soup or even as a whipped cream. Brilliant.

    And sadly, my partner hates celery root, though I love it. I’ll have to make this when he’s out of town I guess!

  16. Pingback: More Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dishes « Glugle Gluten-Free

  17. What a gorgeous soup! And I’ll bet the cashew cream added a wonderful flavor to the soup on top of thickening it. Beautiful!

  18. Oh I adore celeriac/celery root soup! The flavours in this one are intriguing and I love the musical pairing 😉

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  20. You know, I’ve never had celery root. But, I love cashew cream, so this soup would probably be an excellent introduction to celery root for me.

  21. Deb – this looks soooo good. I have been reading about cashew cream in posts for some time but have never made or used it. Need to change that right away. PS – Smooth! (love that song)

  22. Yes, this soup sure does look wonderful & I am in love with the idea of that cashew cream for sweets & savories. Must get on that asap! The chive oil is brilliant!

  23. This soup looks so inviting and delicious…I want to run out and get all the ingredients to make it! I am so impressed at the long list of gluten-free dishes. Anyone should be able to create a Thanksgiving feast from these choices!

  24. The picture is so pretty that I wanted to try this immediately. Then I saw that it has two ingredients that I’ve never tried–celery root and cashew cream. Now I want to try it even more!

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  26. OK. I just have to point out one thing that totally surprised me about this post. Celery has roots…that are edible!!!!! I had NO idea. You see, Debra? This is one thing I love about coming to SmithBites. I’m always learning new things…and feeling so inspired to actually try them. I’ve been trying to reduce my gluten lately. I fix gluten foods for my family, but personally, I’m beginning to discover that I feel better when I eat less of it. So I can’t wait to bring this soup to my family tgiving dinner. My extended family won’t know what to think!

  27. So interesting and delicious!

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  29. Oh my goodness! This soup looks AMAZING! Your photos are absolutely beautiful. I love the idea of using the cashew cream in the soup. I love using it in place of cream but have never thought about using it this way! I cannot wait to give it a try! So many great recipes in this Thanksgiving round-up today!;)

  30. Just beautiful. Shooting soup can be so difficult, and as always, your photographs are stunning. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe with us. I have many gluten intolerant friends, and I am always looking for more recipes to send their way. Thanks for highlighting more gluten free fare! Happy Monday!

  31. Looks like a lot of us have never cooked with celery root but you did an awesome job! Very impressive!

  32. I have never cooked with celery root before – and in fact, saw them for the first time at the farmer’s market yesterday. Maybe I just never paid attention 🙂 This looks like a great way to use it…

  33. We love soups! And this one I really can’t wait to try!

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  35. I’ve never in my life cooked with celery root, but I really want to try this. Time to be bold, right?

  36. I love the idea of the cashew cream. This looks amazing, and I will definitely have to try it. I have a bit of a soup obsession.

  37. Oh I bet that is one delicious soup!

  38. What a gorgeous soup! Also love that’s it’s vegan. Cashews are amazing in their versatility, aren’t they?

  39. I love the sweet and savory combination of the apples with celery in this soup.

  40. Love the soup, love the photos, love you! Great post!

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  42. Cashew Cream?!? Yum!

    I read Shauna’s book last year and it was a real eye-opener. Great read even if you’re not GF.

  43. I’ve got a new and recent “thing” for celery root. How can something so ugly be so darn delicious? I must say however, that your celery root photos had it looking mighty attractive too. This recipe sounds awesome and the addition of cashew cream!!! Sounds wonderful. I’ll definitely have to try this one. Thanks for posting it!

  44. Beautiful! And cashew cream? Um, yum. My sister was diagnosed with celiac disease as well! Can’t wait to make her this delicious soup!

  45. This soup looks divine. Smooth and creamy! Love the song choice! 🙂

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