Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage & Herbed Croutons

1/2 cup cashews
 1/2 cup apple cider
 1 Tbs Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
 1 small onion (about 1 cup), diced
 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
 2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
 3 cups cooked pumpkin
 3 cups vegetable stock or water
 to taste salt and pepper
 to taste fresh lemon juice
 Crispy Sage and Herbed Croutons (see recipe below)


Soak cashews in apple cider for at least one hour; then puree until smooth and creamy. Set the cashew cream aside while you make the soup. Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil onion, garlic and jalapeno. Stir and cook until onions become transparent. Stir in the pumpkin and vegetable stock. Cover
 and simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust taste with salt,
 pepper and lemon juice and thin to desired consistency.
 Garnish with a dollop of cashew cream, crispy sage leaves and herbed croutons.

Crispy Sage and Herbed Croutons


12 to 18 fresh sage leaves
 1/4 cup coconut oil
 2 cloves minced garlic
 3 cups cubed wheat or gluten-free bread
 from a rustic loaf (I used ezekiel bread)
 1/2 tsp each: dried thyme, basil, and chopped rosemary
 1/2 tsp sea salt


Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add oil, then lay sage leaves in, one at a time. Cook leaves until they become crispy, about one minute. Do not overcook.Transfer with tongs or a slotted spoon to a dish. Add garlic to the same pan. Stirand cook until lightly browned. Stir in bread cubes and herbs.Cook until croutons are browned, stirring to make sure bread crumbs don’t burn. When croutons are done, sprinkle with a little olive oil and crumble in as much of the sage as you like. Stir until croutons are coated.