When I need to make a quick meal and haven’t been to the grocery store in a week, tomato soup is my go-to. It’s the ultimate healthy comfort food in my opinion and it also happens to be a dish that everyone enjoys. Seriously, have you ever met anyone that doesn’t enjoy tomato soup?
(If you are one of those people, I apologize. Perhaps you should try this recipe and it would change your mind?)
One of my favorite things about this particular recipe is that it is vegan. We don’t consume much dairy in our house because it irritates my son’s skin. Also, it forces me to have to immediately change into the stretchiest, loosest-fitting pants that I own because my stomach has just seemingly doubled in size due to all of the bloating AND WHY WHY WHY DOES CHEESE HAVE TO TASTE SO GOOD WHEN MY BODY CLEARLY DOSN’T LIKE IT???
Hence the reason that dairy and I parted ways a few years ago. But when I realized that I wasn’t making tomato soup because I thought it required cream, I set out to prove myself wrong. My goal was to create a recipe that was robust in flavor and still smooth in consistency without dairy.
It turns out it isn’t that hard. Like, at all. In fact, I think that putting cream or milk in our tomato soup is one of those things everyone does because we think it is necessary but it actually isn’t. Instead of cream, I boost the flavor in this recipe with onion, garlic, flavorful stock, good canned tomatoes and my secret ingredient: balsamic vinegar.
A quick note about the ingredients: since there aren’t many, the quality of them really matters. Specifically, the particular type of tomatoes that I use in this recipe, Muir Glen organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes, work really well here because they have this unique, smokey flavor that really kicks the soup up more than plain canned tomatoes would. Also, Muir Glen grows their tomatoes organically in California so the soil is rich and nutrient dense, which I think is an under-rated benefit of buying organic. (This post is not sponsored, I just really love these tomatoes!)
From a nutritional standpoint, tomatoes are well known for their high lycopene content. Lycopene is a type of carotenoid, which is a substance found in plants that has positive health benefits. The entire carotenoid family (including beta-carotene) is known for its function as an antioxidant, role in vision protection, and reduction in heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer risk. Oh and it is what gives plants like tomatoes and carrots their beautiful, vibrant color!
Another cool thing about tomatoes is that their nutrient content actually increases when cooked, which is unusual. Typically we are encouraged to eat fruits/vegetables raw, which can be difficult when trying to eat healthy in the winter when very little is fresh. Also, as with all nutrients, increasing the amount that our bodies actually absorb is key. In the case of tomatoes, we actually only absorb a fraction of the lycopene consumed (which is common for most nutrients). Dietary fat, however, enhances its absorption which is why the olive oil in this recipe works so well. Our bodies are able to put as much of the lycopene to good use as possible!
So is that enough reasons to try this soup or what? Hah – can you tell how much I love tomatoes?
I hope you enjoy!
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 28oz crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups stock (either veggie or chicken)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- optional: pinch of saffron, red pepper flakes
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to brown, about five minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients (including saffron if using) and simmer for 10 minutes. Then, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth (alternately, you can use an immersion blender if you have one).
- Return to the pot and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Depending on the type of stock you use, more salt may be necessary.
- For a spicier tomato soup, sprinkle with crushed red pepper before serving.