We're nearing the very end of tomato season, so I want to celebrate them with one of my all time favorite go-to recipes.
In college, I used to work at a... let's just say, rival chain cookware supply shop in a mall (working at The Chopping Block is infinitely better). On my lunch breaks, I used to get this really delicious tomato soup at a cafe in the mall. It had the perfect combination of tomato flavor, tanginess, and sweetness. It had velvety smooth texture and bright red color. Over the years, I tried to get my tomato soup just like that, and every time I did, something was just off about it (too thick, not smooth, too tomatoey, not tomatoey enough, too bitter, too sweet, etc).
It took me years of tinkering to get my recipe exactly how I wanted it. I figured out the best way to get the flavor and texture was to use a combination of good quality canned tomatoes and high roasted fresh tomatoes.
Having tomatoes that I grew myself really made a difference.
I also develop sweet and spicy flavors from slowly caramelizing onions, garlic, fresh thyme, and chili flakes. This soup has that perfect tomato flavor, and is super creamy, but with no cream (cows rejoice!).
Serve this soup with an ooey-gooey vegan grilled cheese sandwich, and feel like a kid again!
Total prep time - 1 hr, 5 min
Serves - 6-8
4 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil, divided
4 fresh roma tomatoes, cored and quartered
One large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
½ tsp chili flakes (or more if you like some heat)
1 (28oz) can of whole tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano variety, or canned fire roasted tomatoes)
4 cups vegetable broth
Salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees (YES, that high!)
- Place fresh tomatoes in a roasting pan. Drizzle on 2 tbsp oil, and season with salt & pepper to taste. Place roasting pan into the oven, and roast until tomatoes are super soft, about 20 minutes.
- Place 2 tbsp oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add in onion, garlic, thyme sprigs, and chili flakes, and sweat until caramelized, also about 20 minutes. (These should be done around the same time the tomatoes finish roasting.)
- Take the fresh roasted tomatoes out of the oven, and place into soup pot. Toss in remaining ingredients, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until flavors develop, about 45 minutes. Taste and season as you go.
- Remove the thyme sprigs. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor, and puree on high until smooth (Note: if you do not have a high power blender like a Vitamix or BlendTec, you may want to strain your soup through a sieve after you puree it.)
Want to learn more vegan recipes? Come check out our upcoming hands-on cooking class Vegan Voyage: Bayou Blast on Monday, October 16th at Lincoln Square.
We also have a full online resource guide for vegans (or anyone interested in incorporating more plant-based protein into their diets) complete with recipes called Vegan from Scratch. Download it now.