When it comes to lunchtime, sandwiches are great, and salads ain’t too shabby either, but sometimes all you want is a great big bowl of hot steamy soup.
When I was in high school, I ate the hell out of some tomato soup! No joke. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a creature of habit, sure I’ve gotten a little more “adventurous” over the years but back in the high school days I ate the same damn thing Every. Single. Day. School was only walking distance from my house, so the second the bell rung, I’d boot it home to whip up a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup. Total match made in heaven right there, I mean, who hasn’t had these two foods together? I’d then sit back with my soup and sammich and watch reruns of I Love Lucy. I don’t think there was another 15 year old that had seen as many I Love Lucy episodes as I had, what can I say? I loved the crazy antics.
Now this soup wasn’t some fancy homemade tomato soup, this was whatever canned stuff mom happen to pick up at the store mixed with skimmed milk, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t gobble that bland, watered down tomato paste with fervor. I ate that crap well into my 20’s and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally got to find out what real tomato soup is supposed to taste like. Wait, tomato soup actually has flavor? Mind blown! Who knew you could add spices and stuff to tomato soup, surely not I.
I figured I’d give my former tomato soup eating self a nod and whip up a batch for old times sake. What I didn’t expect was how much I would fall in love with this stuff again! This soup, I can’t even! First of all there are real live veggies! Like onion and carrots and junk. Then you’ve got fire-roasted tomatoes, because fire-roasted things are chocked full of roasty flava. To make it all creamy dreamy good, I used cashews. Now I know what you’re thinking, who has time to soak cashews overnight? Well I sure as hell don’t, not when I’m trying to throw together a lunch. So for this recipe, all you’ve got to do is simmer them with the rest of the ingredients, blend and that’s it. Easy peasy, quick and easy (ugh, I can’t believe I just wrote that). The cashews add a really great richness that kicks this soup up a notch.
Along with the soup, I also packed half a toasted bagel with some homemade hummus, along with an apple and banana.
Lunch Lady Tips:
- If you happen to pack your soup in a glass container, make sure you have an oven pad or something to protect your hand from the heat when you warm it up, those things get hot as fuck.
- If you’re using a thermos, a trick to keep your soup hot longer is to pre-warm your thermos. Boil some water, pour it in and let it sit for a few minutes, discard and then fill with hot soup.
- This soup comes together in just 30 minutes but to save time, double or triple the recipe to have even more lunches, or feel free to freeze it for whenever the craving strikes.
- Need a nut-free alternative? Replace those evil cashews with some full-fat canned coconut milk.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 small stalk of celery, chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14-oz. can fire roasted tomatoes or whole peeled plum tomatoes, puréed (include the juice)
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup cashews or coconut milk
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix to coat the vegetables.
- Add the broth, tomatoes, thyme, cashews, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Discard the thyme sprig, let cool slightly and mix in the basil. Carefully purée the soup in ablender or food processor until smooth (you may have to do this in batches), then return the soup to the pot over low heat. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm and garnish with fresh herbs.
CREAMY TOMATO BASIL SOUP
This rich and creamy tomato soup is comfort food at it's finest. So easy to make, you'll wonder why you ever bought the condensed variety.
Blender Tip: Make sure you puree the soup in small batches. Cover the top with a tea towel and hold it down as the steam may build up and try to explode when you start blending. Start on a slow speed and slowly increase to a higher speed, cranking the speed right at the start can also leave you and your kitchen covered in hot soup (not fun).