This soup tastes delicious. I would serve it at a dinner party. The richness of the onions and leeks provide a flavorful background to the carrots, celery and cashews.
You need an incredibly large stock pot. Mine was busting full as soon as I put one leek in. I had to mash things in. Turn the heat to medium on a small size burner. He said the lowest setting possible but I would have been here all day if I'd done that!
It's hard to keep the beans separate from the vegetables. Be careful not to stir too much when getting things into the pot.
You really do need a high-powered blender or, better yet, a food processor. I have a blender that cut down the carrots but a processor would have been better for extracting juice and leaving behind the fiber. Consequently I only used 3/4 of the carrots called for. Still very carrot-y!
Place the beans and 4 cups of water in a very large pot and start cooking them, covered, on the lowest flame possible.
Take the outer skins off the onions and place them in the covered pot. Do not cut them up, put them in whole.
Add the zucchini, uncut.
Cut the bottom roots off the leeks and slice them up the side so each leaf can be thoroughly washed, because leeks have lots of dirt hidden inside. Throw away the last inch at the green top. Then place the entire leek (leaves uncut) into the pot.
Juice the carrots and celery in a juice extractor. Add the juice to the pot.
While the soup is simmering, chop up the mushrooms (if desired). By the time you get to this stage, the zucchini, leeks, onions should be soft.
This next step only works if you have a Vita-Mix, a powerful blender, or a food processor. Ladle some of the liquid from the pot into the machine. Use tongs to remove the soft onions, zucchini, and leeks. Be careful to leave the beans in the bottom of the pot. In a few separate batches, completely blend together the onions, zucchini, and leeks. Add more soup liquid and cashews to the mixture, and blend in. Return the blended, creamy mix back to the pot.
Add the textured vegetable protein and the mushrooms, if desired.
Simmer another 20 minutes, and you have my soup that is famous the world over. I know a doctor who makes and freezes my soup and sells it to his patients to cure everything from sinusitis to cancer. It's not really a cure, but it sure does taste great.