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Creamy tomato soup is one of my favorites. So are the hearty and healthy recipes I can make quickly.
Five key ingredients and five minutes later, and I was happily sipping.
The recipe is inspired by Panera Bread's Creamy Vegetarian Tomato Soup. His philosophy focuses on The good enters. Good and healthy ingredients go in, good and healthy soup comes out.
I have fond memories of Panera because it was a regular lunch spot for me and my coworkers years ago when I lived in Chicago. With those brutal winters, nothing beats a hot bowl of soup. Or your hot cookies. It was 90F in Aruba when I made this soup, but that didn't stop my family from devouring the entire batch the same day.
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Here in Aruba, getting anything from an instant pudding mix to a fresh zucchini can be a challenge. Therefore, the list of ingredients for the soup is very short and focuses on the readily available ingredients. I've read way too many soup recipes that require a pinch of this and a pinch of that, and before you know it, it takes twenty pinches and a whole host of different spices that I don't keep. This is not that kind of recipe.
The soup is vegan, gluten-free, and combined using a blender and microwave, perfect for anyone with limited kitchen equipment or limited time to spend. Healthy and homemade in a hurry.
To make the soup, I mixed two 14-5 ounce cans of Cajun flavored Del Monte stewed tomatoes with a handful of raw carrots, a drizzle of olive oil, Old Bay seasoning, and black pepper. I omitted to add salt, because the tomatoes are already salty, and we look at our sodium intake, but salt to taste if desired.
Canned tomatoes get their Cajun name from the addition of green peppers, garlic, onion, celery, and Cajun spices. Between those spices and adding a little Old Bay, the soup needed nothing more. It's a little hot, and if you're a heat seeker, add a pinch of red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or chili powder to taste.
The creamy factor comes from adding, you guessed it, cream. However, real cream is not necessary and two percent milk or milk alternatives are fine. To keep vegan soup, use almond, soy, or cashew milk, which can be made by soaking half a cup of raw cashews for an hour and mixing with a cup of water. Cashew milk is creamier than real cream. Because there is very little fat in the soup, I don't mind adding cream or a rich milk of walnuts neither for flavor, richness and feeling satiated.
After mixing the soup to a smooth texture, transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, cover with plastic wrap, and heat. I covered the soup with grated cheese and garnished with a little coriander, which was the singular fresh herb available on the market here. My five-year-old daughter said she liked the mini trees with fluffy leaves that I put in the soup. Rosemary, basil, or oregano would also work well.
Overall, I like some food with my sauce and some soup with my crackers, and they are a must. I served the soup with mini toasts, or tried the croutons, the pita bread, the breadsticks, or the oyster crackers. Some people like to dip cookies in milk, but I love dipping cookies in soup.
The soup is hearty and filling, but not heavy. I love tomatoes and the soup reminds me of the summer tomato season. The acidity of the tomatoes is calmed from the carrots, which add a bit of volume and weight to the body of the soup, as well as provide a touch of natural sweetness. Some people add a pinch of sugar to their tomato soup, but I didn't find it necessary.
The beauty of making soup is that there is a lot of flexibility. Almost any variety of stewed, minced, fire-roasted, or canned tomato potpourri can be used in this soup. Of course, roasting tomatoes and mashing is an option, but it takes more time. And if I had had a fresh red pepper, I would have also put it in the blender container, like I did in this soup.
The soup is perfect for the occasions when I crave something warm and comforting, but I don't have the time or desire for complicated or long recipes. Busy week nights with hungry mouths to feed is not the time to boil anything for hours. This simple soup was a success for both my five-year-old son and my husband, and he verified three times with me that I can recreate this recipe when we return home to San Diego.
Yes, sure I can. In about five minutes, actually.
Creamy tomato soup (vegan, gluten-free, microwave-safe)
- two 14.5-ounce cans of stewed tomatoes (I used Del Monte Stewed in Cajon flavor
- 10 baby carrots or 2 regular carrots, peeled and cut
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- about ½ cup + cream or milk (I used ⅔ cup, use vegan milk to keep it vegan)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- salt, optional and to taste
- fresh coriander for garnish, optional (can be substituted with rosemary, basil, oregano)
- grated cheese (or vegan cheese), for garnish, optional
- Optional variations to taste: fresh or roasted red peppers; red pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne pepper; onion, onion powder, garlic, garlic powder, favorite seasoning mix; fresh or dried herbs
- Add tomatoes, carrots, oil, OId Bay, pepper, optional salt, and optional variation ingredients to the blender container and mix until smooth. Add cream to desired consistency and flavor.
- Transfer the soup to a microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, and heat on high power to heat, about 2 minutes. Garnish the soup with cheese, sour cream, or herbs and serve immediately. The soup will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Take care that all of the ingredients used are suitable for your dietary needs, selecting vegan milk and cheese products, or using gluten-free cookies as needed.
Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free) – Flavored with smoked roasted carrots and red peppers, roasted peanuts, and creamy coconut milk. Thick, hearty, satisfying and easy.
Red Pepper and Coconut Milk Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Microwave Safe): Ready in 15 minutes to steam a sweet potato in the microwave and purify it with red pepper and coconut milk for a tasty flavor, easy soup creamy and extremely fast
Roasted Pumpkin with Cinnamon and Ginger – (Vegan, Gluten Free) Much easier to open than pumpkin, and its skins are edible. If after grilling delicately it doesn't devour everything, mix it in a blender with vegetable broth, a favorite nut milk, roasted potatoes or other vegetables and mix with the soup.
Baked Potato Chips with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Sauce (Vegan, Gluten-Free) – Parsnips are ideal veggies for making soups, but here I baked them as fries. They have a subtle kick and bite, served with a fresh creamy sauce. So tasty and so much healthier than potato chips made from white potatoes
Double Corn and Cheese Dip (Vegan, Gluten Free, Fat Free, Serve Hot or Cold) – The dip comes together in less than five minutes and the flavors would work perfectly as a mixed soup. Diced tomatoes, green chilies, corn, and cheese can be easily mixed together for a quick, creamy soup.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes of Caribbean Citrus (Vegan, Gluten Free): Roasted sweet potato wedges, seasoned with Caribbean flavors. Sweet potatoes are an excellent addition to soup
As part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, I received a stipend to try Panera Bread soups. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Do you have a favorite soup recipe?
Feel free to leave links to your favorites.
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