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Recipe to beat the summer heat: Raw broccoli soup

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Summer produce is beginning to pour in faster than you can eat it, and it's a challenge to find a use for all the garden's bounty before it spoils. Granted, you can preserve some by canning, some by drying, but certain vegetables just don't lend themselves to those methods - like broccoli.

Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrition and the phyto-nutrients it contains are no joke; indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates, beta-carotene and lutein are just a few. Vitamins A, C, K, B-3, B-5, B-6, and minerals such as selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and calcium are abundant in this vegetable, and medical studies have shown that broccoli helps to cut off blood supply lines to cancer tumors because of its anti-angiogenic properties.

With all that goodness packed into this member of the brassica family, you'll want to eat as much broccoli as you can, but how many different ways can you eat broccoli? Aside from freezing, broccoli is usually best eaten fresh and steamed or cooked, but that can get old after a while - and smothering it in a cheese sauce (or worse, a fake, processed "cheese food" sauce) is not a healthy option.

Fortunately, Annie Oliverio of the An Unrefined Vegan blog found a fabulous way to enjoy broccoli as a raw soup - keeping all the enzymes and nutrition intact while giving a new twist to the old standard of cream of broccoli soup. Her recipe below (inspired by Omar's Rawtopia in Salt Lake City) would impress even George Bush.

Raw Broccoli Soup (from anunrefinedvegan.com - makes 4 servings)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. onion, chopped
  • 1″ nub of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • dash black pepper
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • sliced radishes, chopped red onion, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro, for topping (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Drain the cashews and add them to a high-powered blender along with the water and agave nectar. Process until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients (except garnish) and process until smooth and creamy. Top with cilantro, red onion and radishes and serve immediately. This soup can be frozen, but tastes best when eaten the same day you make it.

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