Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

1 tsp.  Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. Earth Balance vegan butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes in tomato juice (a good organic one)
2 cups salt-free vegetable broth (Rupunzel Brand is good)
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
black pepper
2 handfuls of fresh basil
1 recipe for cashew cream (recipe below)

Cashew Cream:

1/4 cup cashews
 1/2 cup water

 Soak cashews for at least 2 hours. Drain and rinse the cashew well, and place in a blender with about 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in the fridge until ready to use for soup.

To Make the Soup:

 Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter, onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute until the onions become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, 2 tsp. salt, and a few cracks of black pepper. Bring up to a low boil, then cover and simmer soup on low for about 20 minutes. Add a few large handfuls of fresh basil to the soup, and stir in the cashew cream. Blend the soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth. Top soup with Mochi Croutons if you would like.  Recipe at Little House of Veggies.  The Mochi Croutons look really yummy so check her recipe out.