Cucumber, Basil and Cashew Soup (Raw)
This soup is a real summer cooler, not something you can regularly say about a soup. Its creamy (without cream) and hearty (without potatoes and butter), all down to our raw friends the cashew nut. What a wonderful thing they are. They make great cheese, milk and add wonderful richness to all things they grace.
Raw soups can be very hearty actually, adding sprouted grains helps and a few nuts or seeds go along way to building a full texture, bags of veggies also make a big difference. It always impresses me how much goodness you can squeeze into a soup/ smoothie/ juice. My juice this morning had around 10 different fruits and vegetables (beetroot, carrot, orange, lemon, parsley, basil, spinach, apple, ginger, sweet potato YUM!) I have to say, afterwards, I was feeling quite high on the stuff. High on food! Juice on an empty belly is a magical thing and gets the ZING going in the AM.
This mornings super juice
This soup has so many good flavours in there (we love the horseradish especially) as well as being superbly nutritious. We have been using olives a lot this month instead of adding more salt, they add a natural saltiness to dishes. So this is a salt-less soup.
COOL AS A CUCUMBER
Cucumber in anything is cooling, it has that lovely quality which is perfect for a sweltering summers day. I am a hot blooded creature and therefore the British summertime is a little tepid, but yesterday did seem quite steamy. This soup made for a perfect dinner.
The cooling effect of cucumber is put down to cucurbitin and fatty oils found in the seeds that has a soothing effect on the body. Cucumber is great for sunburn and can also have a cooling effect when made into a juice. So drinking cucumber juice is just like putting coolant into a car!
THAT ‘RAW FOOD’ FEELING
Now that we have been eating raw food for over two weeks, our appetite has generally decreased, more accurately our cravings for sugar have decreased. I find myself better balanced and not snacking hardly at all, certainly not craving coffee or alcohol or sweet things. I forgot how powerful the raw diet is and how it impacts much more than just what you eat, you feel very different also. Its like your charged with loads of clean energy and your brain is working at its optimum level and your body is thanking you all the time for being some damn good to it. Its a pleasant place to be.
RAW FOOD EQUIPMENT
The only thing about getting started with a raw food diet is that you need the equipment. We’ve gathered ours over a period of two years and are still short of a few bits and pieces. We have added a dehydrator recently, which we have been enjoying. A juicer is fairly essential and a food processor is important for all those soups and smoothies. You could be raw without these gadgets, that is probably the next step for us! Eating things that fall from trees and gathering berries from hedgerows. That would be a really natural existence! Without this equipment, I’d imagine it would be difficult, especially in Britain, to get a decent variety of textures and keep things interesting. Munching on a raw carrot does have its limits.
Raw food equipment
Having said that, one of the best bits of equipment that we use is a humble peeler. Known as a French peeler, it is vital in sorting out all these fruits and vegetables quickly and makes almost perfect ribbons of produce that can then be popped into salads or made into a raw pasta-style dish.
French Peeler – The Best!
Makes two big bowlfuls:
1 1/2 cucumbers, 2 garlic cloves, 2 small green apples (cored and chopped), 1 lime (juice), 1 cup cashews (soaked for 2 hours or longer in filtered water), 1 cup green olives, 1 cup parsley, 1/2 cup basil, 1 tbs horseradish, 2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes, 2 cups filtered water (more if needed)
In a food processor, blend your cashews first, until a thin paste is formed (add soaking water a little at a time), add the rest of the ingredients and a cup full of water. Blend for 30 seconds and check consistency, it should still be a little chunky in places, add more water and blend again if required.
With a splash of brilliant, fruity olive oil and a pinch of cracked black pepper.
Cucumber has many beneficial properties, it is anti inflammatory and moisture regulating, as mentioned above, it also has cooling properties. These are the reasons that cucumber is used in beauty products and the like, it smooths the skin and gets rid of dead skin cells.
Cucumber is also full of dietary fibre and is great for people suffering from heartburn, ulcers,acidity etc, for this reason it also helps with constipation. It’s good for the joints, the kidneys and helps in the digestion of proteins.
Cucumber also has plenty of vitamin C and folates and like the vast majority of veggies, it contains a vast amount of other nutrients. Overall, cucumber is a serious superfood!
Homemade Cucumber Pickles