Sunday, April 6, 2014

Soup's On! - Quick & Healthy Tomato Bisque

Quite a few of my fondest childhood memories were formed during the summers I spent with my best friend at camp. Pre-teens at the time,  it was one of the few chances we had to escape big city life to see how the country mice lived. With fun-filled days spent swimming in the lake, doing woodshop, playing tether ball, and enjoying the splendor of nature, what do you think I remember most vividly? Grilled cheese and tomato soup day at the cafeteria! Typical, huh? But this was no run of the mill lunch. The tomato soup was surprisingly good and came to our communal table piping hot in big silver kettles.  Grilled cheeses were stacked on their side and served in baskets ten at a time. What 12 year-old could resist?

Fast & Healthy Cream of Tomato Soup, Photo: NK

Today, we'll tackle the tomato soup portion of this fond food memory, with some minor adjustments for health. If you've got ten minutes, you can try it too! 

Cooking from scratch is the best way to know just what you are putting into your body. While most canned soups come packed with sodium and preservatives, it takes almost no time at all to prepare a simple, blended soup with much less of the naughty stuff but still plenty of taste. Just to be a bit decadent, we'll make today's tomato soup into a bisque using a touch of almond milk. You could certainly use dairy milk or even cream (if you like it more rich), but I figured this version may as well be vegan (unless you'd like to garnish it with a bit of grated parm as pictured below).


Healthier Cream of Tomato Soup/Vegan Optional
2-3 Servings, or approximately 24 Ounces

14.5 Ounce Can Organic Diced Tomatoes (we prefer Muir Glen brand)
8 large Basil Leaves plus more for garnish
1/2 a Sweet Yellow Onion, roughly chopped
3 Large Garlic Cloves 
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Sugar 
3/4 Organic Vegetable Broth 
1/4 Cup Almond Milk or Dairy Milk if you prefer 
Grated Parmigiana Cheese (optional) 

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. 
Pour soup into sauce pan and heat gently until fully warmed through. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Optionally garnish with grated Parmigiana Cheese.  
NOTE: I do not recommend freezing this soup as the consistency changes upon defrosting.   It's best served fresh! 

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