Dairy-free cream of broccoli soup for a warm-up on Meatless Monday

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With cold-and-flu season in full swing, it's time to cook up a big batch of homemade soup with all of its immune-boosting qualities -- especially if you're making your own vegetable stock! This cream-of-broccoli recipe (adapted from VegNews columnist Allison Rivers Samson's version) will serve up a hearty dose of vegetables with a fraction of the fat that the dairy-heavy version contains -- and we swear won't be able to tell the difference.

See also: - Homemade mock chicken stock for a kitchen staple on Meatless Monday - Split-pea soup to help chase away winter for Meatless Monday - Vegetable barley soup to warm up Meatless Monday

You will need:

1 cup raw cashews 8 cups (2 quarts) vegetable broth 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 medium onions 1 medium head cauliflower 1 1/2 bunches broccoli 1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram 1 tablespoon salt freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Start by prepping the veggies -- then everything else will go much quicker. First, rinse the cauliflower and break it into large pieces, placing them in a big bowl. 2. Then cut the broccoli florets off the stems into bite-sized pieces. Set the florets aside in another (smaller) bowl. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the broccoli stems. Chop up the stems and add them to the bowl with the cauliflower. 3. Measure the cup of cashews into a blender. Dry-blend until they are a fine powder. Add one cup of the vegetable broth to the powdered cashews. Mix together until you have a smooth cashew cream. 4. Peel and chop the onions. 5. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, giving it a minute or two to warm up. Add the chopped onions, cauliflower and broccoli stems. Add the marjoram. Stir and cook for five to ten minutes. 6. Add the remaining seven cups of stock, the cashew cream and the salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for twenty minutes or so, until the veggies are all tender. You should be able to pierce the cauliflower and broccoli stems easily with a fork. 7. Now use an immersion blender (or get another big pot and blend the soup in batches, moving from one pot to another) and blend the soup until it's a creamy puree. Lovely. 8. Return the blended soup to the stovetop and to a simmering heat. Add the florets of broccoli to the soup. Cook for another five to ten minutes, until the florets are tender. You can use the base recipe with potatoes, mushrooms, corn, asparagus or even extra cauliflower if there's another cream-of-vegetable soup you'd like to veganize. Go nuts!

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