Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup

by Susan on February 8, 2018

creamy vegan tomato soup

So often when the words “creamy” and “vegan” are in the same sentence that’s because some fancy dairy substitute such as cashew cream is involved in the scenario. This soup is simple, perfect and delicious and just happens to be dairy-free.

Since there are so few ingredients involved, try to get your hands on good quality ones. My favorite canned tomatoes to use are Muir Glen organic, but San Marzano are delicious as well. Since you’ll be pureeing the soup you can use either whole or diced tomatoes.

While I usually don’t feature dishes with added sugar, the added sweetness really balances the acidity of the tomatoes. You can use stevia if you’re looking for a lower calorie alternative, but honestly 2 tbs. for an entire batch of soup is not really that much. If you’re not vegan, raw honey works too.

Sometimes fresh basil is hard to find; if you don’t have access to good basil, you can also stir in a little prepared pesto. Read your labels, though, as most pesto contains Parmesan cheese. I like Amore pesto paste as it’s dairy-free and available at most supermarkets. It’s also very concentrated so a little goes a long way.

You have a lot of options for the added creamy element to finish off the soup. To keep it vegan, Califia Farms unsweetened Better Half is my preferred addition. It has the consistency of traditional half and half without any underlying coconut or almond flavor. Canned coconut cream would work as well, and I’ve even used unsweetened almond milk. The latter just won’t yield as creamy results.

If you’re not dairy-free, regular half and half or light cream would obviously work perfectly. You could also top off the soup with the homemade Parmesan crisps shown in the photo. They are super easy to make yet look awfully pretty and taste even better!

Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup

2 tbs. olive oil
4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 28 oz. cans peeled or diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tbs. cane sugar or raw honey (if not vegan)
1/4 cup Califia Farms Better Half (or traditional half & half for non dairy-free option)
1/4 cup roughly torn basil leaves or 2 tbs. pesto paste
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add garlic and stir continuously for 30 seconds until golden, then add in onion. Stir and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, broth and sweetener.

Allow to come to a low boil, then lower heat and allow to cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in half and half, basil leaves and seasoning.

Use a stick blender to puree soup until it reacher your preferred consistency. If you don’t have a stick blender, remove the soup to a blender and puree it (in batches, if necessary).

Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Serve immediately.

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Lemon Chicken & Spaghetti Soup

by Susan on January 25, 2018

lemon chicken & spaghetti soup

Chicken soup is a proven cure for whatever ails you, and I love that this version is loaded with flavor but doesn’t require hours to simmer to develop it. I’ve made and love true chicken soup from scratch (bones and all), but sometimes you just need a quick weeknight fix.

Rotisserie chicken and lemon juice are the key to making this one really pop without too much effort. Giada’s original recipe calls for traditional spaghetti; I used fresh gluten-free spaghetti because it happened to be on special at Whole Foods. Any shape or variety of pasta would honestly work fine here. If you’re following a grain-free diet, you could use Cappello’s pasta or skip it altogether.

I did think the original recipe was lacking a little in the seasoning department, so I doctored it a bit. A lot of the reviews also suggested adding some celery and/or onion to the mix, both of which I think would be welcome additions

While I like to give dairy-free options for my recipes, I do think the Parmesan rind and cheese added at the end really enhance the soup. I can’t say I’d recommend omitting them, though obviously it’s possible.

With the appropriate pasta this easy, hearty soup is a great family-friendly option.

Lemon Chicken & Spaghetti Soup
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

6 cups organic chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 dried bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 (2-inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind, optional
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) gluten-free spaghetti,
2 cups diced cooked rotisserie chicken
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
sea salt, to taste

In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth, lemon juice, bay leaf, thyme and Parmesan rind to a boil over medium-high heat. Season with the garlic powder and black pepper.

Add the carrots and simmer until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the broken pasta and cook until the pasta is tender, for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and heat through, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf, thyme sprigs and the Parmesan rind and discard. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese and the parsley. Season with salt, to taste. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

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