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Sweet Potato, Green Garlic and Cashew Bisque

Bisque. A pureed soup usually containing cream. Except this sweet potato, green garlic and cashew bisque doesn’t contain any cream. The “cream” part is cashew cream. This recipe is my first foray into the world of cashew cream–now I’m in love with this awesome sauce.

Sweet Potato, Green Garlic and Cashew Bisque

When I visit my brother and sister-in-law in California, I get a beach wave ion fix, plus a delicious food fix. My sister-in-law is a fabulous cook and love to talk all things foodie!

When I left their house this last visit, Leslie loaned me her new cookbook, The Conscious Cook, by Tal Ronnen. It’s a collection of vegan recipes: “Delicious meatless recipes that will change the way you eat.”

In quite a few of recipes, Chef Ronnen calls for ‘cashew cream’, the vegan stand-in for dairy. The recipe for Tomato Bisque in the book inspires this sweet potato, green garlic and cashew bisque.

leeks and chive blossoms for Sweet Potato, Green Garlic and Cashew Bisque | Letty's Kitchen

Sweet Potato, Green Garlic and Cashew BisqueI didn’t start out to make soup. I meant to try his whipped cashew cream for a cupcake filling. But I added too much water to the blender with soaked cashews, and ended up with cashew milk/cream–not thick enough to whip. Lesson learned, but soup bonus!

I went back to the cookbook to see what Chef Ronnen does with thinner cashew cream, like I had just made. He uses the thin cream instead of “milk” in his mashed potatoes, and “Twice-baked Fingerlings.” He reduces the vegan milk to a stunning saffron cream sauce in one recipe. Ronnen’s recipe for Tomato Bisque is the inspiration for my sweet potato, green garlic and cashew bisque.

The cashew cream recipe specifies whole raw cashews, not pieces, which “are often dry.” To make cashew cream, the raw nuts need to be soaked in water overnight. Two things I did differently–cheapatarian me used cashew pieces, and those cashew pieces soaked for 5 days before I got around to making the cream!

A 5 day soak turned out to be a good thing. The cashew cream recipe says use a high speed blender like a Blend-tec, that with a regular blender you will have to strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. In two minutes my trusty old Braun turned long-soaked cashew pieces into rich, smooth cream, just like with a coveted high speed blender.

Bottom line–plan ahead. Cashew cream is dairy-free and versatile. Remember–for creamy success, cashews need to soak overnight. Or 5 nights….

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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Sweet Potato, Green Garlic and Cashew Bisque
  • 2 cups raw whole cashew pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 bulbs and tender parts of green garlic , finely chopped (see note)
  • 2 carrots , cut in ¼-inch dice
  • 1 stalk celery , cut in ¼-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf (see note)
  • 2 large garnet sweet potatoes , peeled and cut in ¾-inch chunks (see note)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Minced chives
  • Chive blossom petals , optional
  1. Make the Cashew Cream:
  2. Rinse 2 cups of whole raw cashews in cold water several times. Put them in a bowl and cover with cold water. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight, ( or longer if you have a regular blender.)
  3. Drain the cashews and rinse again. Place in a high-speed blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high speed for several minutes, until very smooth. Strain if the cream is not completely smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Make the bisque:
  5. In a soup pot, over medium flame, heat the oil briefly. Before it gets too hot, stir in the minced garlic. Cook and stir a minute or so, then add the diced carrots and celery. Cook and stir 5 to 8 minutes, until the carrots and celery have softened.
  6. Add the paprika, stirring it in until the vegetables are well coated. Add 5 cups of the vegetable broth, the bay leaf and the diced yams.
  7. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the yams are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Puree with an immersion blender. Or, working in batches, pour the soup onto a blender and blend until smooth. (Beware, hot soup tries to burst the blender lid off, creating a huge kitchen counter mess and potential personal burns.)
  8. With the pureed soup in the pot, stir in the cashew cream. If you prefer a thinner soup, stir in the last cup of vegetable broth. Heat through.
  9. Season with lemon juice, cayenne, and salt, if needed.
  10. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the green chives and chive blossoms, if using..
Recipe Notes
  • Cashew cream can be made up to one week ahead. That way it will be ready when you are.
  • Green garlic is young spring garlic before the bulbs separates into cloves. You can also use garlic scapes, about ¼ cup diced, or fully developed garlic, one or 2 cloves at the most.
  • Choose sweet potatoes with the darkest copper orange skin. Those are the ones with the brightest flesh.
  • Be sure to remove the bay leaf. I once pureed a soup with the bay leaf in it and I had to strain 8 quarts of thick soup through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of the unpleasant texture. Dinner took more time than I had planned before it was ready to serve!


  • Haven’t really heard of negative ions before. Off to check out those links. Reply · 18 June, 2013

  • Laura

    I JUST bought smoked paprika after a batch of Hungarian Mushroom(morels!!!) soup cleaned me out… feeling pretty “foodie” now that I see the same in Mz Muffin’s pretty picture 🙂 great recipe, too! Reply · 18 June, 2013

  • […] Conscious Cook” and got the idea for pairing fennel with the onions. This is an adaptation of author Tal Ronnen’s […] Reply · 6 August, 2013

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