I was never a traditional tomato soup fan. Like watered down tomato paste, it is bland and flavorless. Sort of like a warm bloody mary without all of the other fun additions. My family feels similarly. Last week, when I told them I had actually come up with a tomato soup recipe that I not only liked, but was proud of, they were skeptical. I got a lot of heavy sighs and disgruntled looks.
They always underestimate me.
I needed to prove them wrong. I needed to know if my soup passed the test.
I watched expectantly as spoons were lifted to mouths; smiles and second bites...to their own surprise, they loved it. I knew they would.
Unlike Campbells cans, this soup is loaded with fresh vegetables, flavorful herbs and a secret ingredient- my homemade cashew cream!
It adds a richness in texture and slight nutty flavor that brings this soup from average to excellent. Its simple to prepare and even easier to re-heat later.
Tastes best alongside a gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
As you already know, eating more veggies is a good thing. Tomatoes especially are a powerhouse food. And while you may already know that tomatoes are fat-free, low in calories, and high in nutrient value, you may not have known that tomatoes are full of beta carotene, which give skin a natural, healthy glow; they are rich in vitamin K, lycopene, and calcium to help build strong bones; tomatoes are a natural source of chromium- great for balancing blood sugar levels, and they are high in cartenoids and bioflavenoids, which are natural anti-inflammatories.
Plus, because we're talking health: both tomatoes and cashews are high in fiber; tomatoes are also very water dense. The combination of the two makes this soup a little more filling than most- helping you to eat smaller portions of more healthful foods.
Summer is coming, and cutting back on belly fat is something we all want.
Exercising regularly and eating healthy, nutrient-rich meals like this is the way to do it.
2 1/2 lbs. tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
2 medium yellow onions
4 T. earth balance or olive oil
1 quart (4 c.) vegetable broth (or water)
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup soaked raw cashews
1 cup water
Cashew Cream: Soak 1 cup cashews in warm water for 1-4 hours. Drain cashews, pour into a blender, and add one cup water. Blend until consistency is creamy and no cashew chunks remain. Set aside.
Tomato Soup: Wash, weigh, and chop tomatoes. Set aside.
In a large soup pot, melt butter. Add chopped onions and garlic, and sautee about 8 minutes, until onions are glassy but not carmelized. Add tomatoes and continue to cook until onions and tomatoes are completely softened, about 15-20 minutes.
Add vegetable broth, bay leaves, basil, salt and pepper and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes, until the smell of garlic and basil are wafting through the air. Remove the bay leaves and toss ‘em in the compost. Pour the cashew cream into the pot, and using a regular or immersion blender, blend the soup until creamy, usually about 20 seconds in my vitamix.
Serve immediately while warm, or simmer on low heat until ready to serve. Garnish with roasted cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of cashew cream, or fresh basil leaves.
Keeps in the fridge for about a week. Makes great leftovers!