Our fireplaces are lit, the leaves are falling, decorating the ground in a carpet of orange and yellow hues, and salads are being replaced by soups in our culinary thoughts. Soups offer so many options – a satisfying lunch, a quick starter, or a full meal of beans and vegetables.
Tree nuts have many roles in soups, from thickening to adding a lovely crunch topping. And they add a nutritious boost of protein, healthy fats and sustained energy. Here are some simple and exotic ways to jazz up your soups with nuts:
Nothing adds creamy, richness as well as a beautiful thick texture to pumpkin or winter squash soup like macadamia nuts. But hazelnuts work wonderfully too adding a new kind of nutty richness. Any pumpkin works well in this recipe, but Kabocha or Blue Ballet give you the best depth of color and flavor.
In this delicious Mediterranean Carrot Soup, nuts both thicken the soup and form a part of a crunchy, sweet sour agrodolce on top. You can use any tree nuts, and even use other vegetables such as celery root or sweet potato.
Our Potato Soup is given a splash of color and the delightful burst of flavor with a pistachio pesto topping. Nuts add a visual splash of contrast in texture and flavor. A white bean soup is gorgeous with an almond, pine nut or cashew pesto, or scatter soy glazed walnuts and pecans on creamy mushroom soup.
If you’re making an Italian style minestrone or vegetable and bean soup, top with some toasted pine nuts, or puree any vegetables, and top with crème fraiche and any toasted diced nuts – Brazil nuts give a wonderful contrasting boost.
Then there’s the toast – a side of grilled ciabatta with a nut spread made at home makes the perfect soup “side”. Here are some ideas for nut buttered bread to dunk in your soup.
There’s nothing better than your own creation, so wander around your grocery store, buy what’s in season and at a good price, and get playful in your kitchen with the tree nuts you have on hand…you won’t be disappointed.
The Nutty Chef
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