Comfort Food: Quick Vegan Cream of Tomato Soup

EpicureanLogo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cream of Tomato Soup with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

There’s something about cream of tomato soup that oozes comfort. When I was growing up my Mom would occasionally forgo our typical Southern meat-and-two-vegetables-with-ice-tea dinner and opt for something quick and easy. Often this approach involved her opening a can of cream of tomato soup, making cheese sandwiches, and suddenly we’d have dinner. Since I was a kid I probably missed the context of such a quick and easy meal (was Mom was stressed out? was she too tired to cook? was it was the end of the month and we were being frugal?) but such adult things didn’t really enter my pre-adolescent mind. I was just happy we were having tomato soup for dinner! The comfort element was further enforced do to the fact that Mom’s standard way to deal with an upset tummy was to serve saltines, ginger ale, and cream of tomato soup. Cream of tomato soup was a palatable panacea that was a cupboard staple in our house.

Thanks to Mom, I love cream of tomato soup. But as the years have gone by my taste for processed canned soup has waned. Enter this recipe – a quick and easy vegan cream of tomato soup. It satisfies my comfort food needs and is easy to make – I made a batch tonight in about 30 minutes. The leftovers are cooling as I write this blog.

Quick Vegan Cream of Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium red onion

Several cloves of garlic

Basil or herb/spice of choice

2 large cans of organic fire roasted tomatoes

1/2 cup or so of vegetable stock

Unsweetened almond creamer

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Optional: truffle oil, almond cream cheese

The cooking part: 

  • Chop the onion and mince the garlic, then sauté in olive oil. A dash of truffle oil adds some flavor.
  • Add the basil or herb/spice of choice to the cooking onions. When they are soft add the stock (you can use water if you want) and let this simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the two cans of fire roasted tomatoes, bring to a boil, then let simmer another 5 or 10 minutes. I used one can of crushed and one of diced tomatoes.
  • Remove from the heat and purée with a blender. I usually leave it somewhat chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the almond creamer to taste and stir it up.
  • Serve with a dollop of almond cream cheese. I also add a big dash or five of hot sauce. Tonight I used a medium chipotle and it was quite tasty.

Add a salad if you choose. Or some bread.

Enjoy!

 

Vegan pizza recipe

EpicureanLogo

Vegan Pizza Recipe 

This vegan, gluten free pizza is adopted from several different recipes. Our challenge was creating a pizza that didn’t have wheat, yeast, eggs, or other dairy to accommodate candida issues and some other dietary restrictions. After some trial and error this is what I came up with. We’ve been having it about once a week for several months with variations on the toppings.

Crust
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
6-7 tbsp warm water
3-4 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups garbanzo flour
1 1/2 cups almond flour or meal
1/2 – 1 tsp dried roasted garlic (or to taste)
1-2 tsps dried basil (or to taste)

Preheat the oven to °425. Combine the flaxseed meal and warm water and mix well (the flaxseed mixture serves as an egg substitute and binds things together) . Let set for 10 minutes, then add the oil and mix well.

Flaxseed & water awaiting the oil.

Flaxseed & water awaiting the oil.

The stuff and the bowl. What will happen next?

The stuff and the bowl. What will happen next?

Proportions

Proportions

Flours, garlic, and herbs awaiting egg/oil mixture

Flours, garlic, and basil awaiting egg/oil mixture

Mix together the dry flours, garlic, and basil until blended. (We’ve been using basil, but other dried herbs would work just as well, and the garlic could easily be omitted).  Then add the flaxseed/oil mixture and blend until you get a sticky ball. It should have just enough moisture to blend all the dry ingredients together into a ball of dough. You might need to add a little water to get it to the right consistency.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (which, contrary to popular belief, is not grown on Parchman Farm). Put the ball of dough on the parchment paper and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Roll with a rolling pin until the dough is 1/4-3/8″ thick. Mine is never anything close to round (see the photo above for proof). Pinch the edges up to form a small ridge that will deter pizza sauce from escaping the dough and fleeing to the pan. But don’t put the sauce on yet!

Now it’s time to cook the dough. I have a convection oven and I bake it for 8-9 minutes, but it might take a bit longer in a regular oven. It will kinda look like it’s starting to brown, contingent upon the type of almond meal or flour you use. Sometimes I use a light almond flour and it’s easy to tell when the crust is starting to brown a bit. With a darker almond meal it’s not as easy to tell.

Now it’s topping time!

Chopped kalamata olives, portobello mushrooms, sauce, and almond cheese.

Chopped kalamata olives, portobello mushrooms, sauce, and almond cheese.

This is where all kinds of variations can occur and you’re on your own. Of course you can make your own sauce, but this is often a weeknight quick meal, so I opt for various canned organic sauces. Sometimes it’s Muir Glen, sometimes the Whole Foods house brand (above). There are a few vegan cheese options out there that you can use, such as Daiya, but I cheat a bit with the cheese, using Lisanatti Foods mozzarella style almond cheese (Note: this cheese isn’t actually vegan as it contains casein, so it has dairy protein in it.  While this doesn’t affect some of the food issues we’re dealing with, it might affect you.)  And pretty much anything goes when it comes to veggies. We’re experimenting with a version that has cherries and caramelized onions, but it’s not quite ready to leave the test kitchen and appear on Epicurean Librarian.

Your process may vary, but I typically put a layer of sauce, a layer of cheese, the portabellos and kalamatas, then a thin layer of cheese on top. Then pop it back into the oven and bake until the cheese starts to brown a bit, typically 7-9 minutes. Here’s what you get:

Chopped kalamata olives, portobello mushrooms, sauce, and almond cheese.

Chopped kalamata olives, portobello mushrooms, sauce, and almond cheese.

We’ve found this basic crust recipe is open to many variations. More about that in future posts.

Enjoy! Feel free to leave a comment!

(Information about the Epicurean Librarian photo is posted in the footer).