In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onion and celery. Sauté until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant
Now add the crushed red pepper and thyme. Sauté 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
Add wine and turn heat up to medium-high to simmer. Once simmering turn heat back to medium. Cook wine down about 2-3 minutes. * If you're not using wine, you can skip this step entirely without substituting.
Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir constantly for 30-60 seconds. This will cook off the raw flour taste.
Stir in broth and add potatoes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Turn heat up again to medium-high to simmer. Once simmering, turn heat back to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add corn kernels and cook for another 8-10 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and corn is cooked. Remove bay leaf.
Turn heat to low and slowly stir in cashew cream. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Warm for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice if desired.
Optional: to give the soup base more body, place 1-2 cups of soup in a blender and pulse 2-3 times, then pour back into the pot and stir (you can also use an immersion blender). You can skip the blending if you prefer a chunkier soup.
See note for topping ideas. Enjoy!