TOMATO SOUP – Mmm Mmm Good…For Your Waistline!

tomato soup text

It’s that time of year when the temperature starts to rise and the clothing starts to shed. No more bulky sweaters to hide those extra pounds.

Years ago there was a soup commercial with a girl hanging a yellow polka dot bikini on her wall as incentive to stick to her diet. To aid in her endeavor, she would eat soup for lunch – all the while singing “she wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny….”.

It’s really not a silly idea. Soup is low in calories and filling enough to get you away from the table unscathed by a grilled cheese sandwich and French fries.

I found an easy recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for creamy tomato soup – without the cream (or any dairy at all, for that matter). Of course, I adjusted it for vegetarians by substituting vegetable stock for chicken stock.

Here’s the important thing: DON’T BUY TOMATOES FROM A SUPERMARKET! They were picked green and have no flavor. Either grow them yourself, or buy them from a local farmer’s market. Otherwise, buy canned whole tomatoes (Muir Glen brand is rated best), which is what you’ll have to do most of the year.

TOMATO SOUP – makes about  5 cups

  • 3-4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes OR 2 lbs fresh Roma tomatoes
  • 3 slices white bread, crust removed
  • 1 T brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (here’s my recipe for homemade: VEGETABLE STOCK)
  • 2 T brandy (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt)

Heat 2 T oil in large saucepan, then add onions, garlic, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Sauté about 5 minutes.

Remove stem ends and any skins or impurities from tomatoes. Coarsely chop (don’t worry too much about this – they’re going in the blender eventually) and add to onions, continuing cooking.

Tear bread into pieces and stir into soup, along with brown sugar. Cover pot and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove lid and cool 15 minutes. DISCARD BAY LEAF!! This is very important – you don’t want it blended with the soup or you’ll have to throw it out.

Purée the soup in a blender. Depending on the size of the pitcher, this will require 1-2 batches. With each batch, add in 1 T olive oil before blending.

Clean out saucepan (or use another) and pour in puréed soup. Add in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer, stirring until heated through. Stir in brandy, if using. Adjust seasoning, as needed.

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