When I first thought about making loaded baked potato soup with Jack friendly ingredients, I honestly didn't have much faith that it would taste good. The way I was originally planning to make it probably would NOT have been very good. But half way through the boiling of the spuds, I happened to glance over at a bulk bag of raw cashews we bought with no real purpose in mind and it struck me to make a quick cashew cream to thicken it up. I did not soak these overnight and it still worked beautifully, but I have read that to make proper cashew cream you need to soak the cashews overnight in cold water. I just place 1 cup of cashews in my Blendtec and add just enough warm water to cover (about 1/2 cup) and then blend until smooth. In my Blendtec this takes about 30 seconds, it may take 2-5 minutes in a standard blender though.
Creamy Loaded Baked Potato Soup
*1 Tbl olive oil (you may need a tsp or so more)
1 onion, diced
5 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups vegetable broth (more if too thick)
3 Tbl Soy Free Earth Balance
3 Tbl potato starch flour
1 1/2 cup cashew cream (see above for directions)
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk or water
3 green onions, chopped thin
1/2 cup Daiya Cheddar shreds
1 Tbl sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
In a large stock pot, fry bacon pieces. Because turkey bacon is rather dry, you may need to add a tsp of oil to keep them from sticking. Once they are fried with crispy edges, about 6 minutes, remove them from pot with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel and set aside.
Heat 1 Tbl olive oil. Once heated, add onion and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Remove about 1/2 of the potatoes and mash. Set aside.
In a small pan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in the almond milk or water and cashew cream. Cook on low for a few minutes until it has thickened. Stir into the potato pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the mashed potatoes and reduce heat to low.
Stir in most of the Daiya Cheddar, half of the cooked bacon, and half of the sliced green onions. Add pepper and salt and cook for another 5 minutes. If it is too thick, add water or vegetable broth 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency. Serve with Diaya Cheese, turkey bacon, and sliced green onions sprinkled on top. (We prefer ours to be very thick, as you can see in the photo!)