There are few foods I'm less likely to eat these days than canned soup. What it takes to make a liquid shelf-stable for years on end is preservatives and stabilizers that I don't want to be ingesting. Funny to think that canned soup used to be my go-to when I was straight out of college, working long hours with not much money to spend on food!
Fortunately I've learned that many soups are a snap to make from fresh ingredients. This hearty tomato soup is one of them. It's perfect for fall and winter when served with avocado toast, cheese, and homemade "chicken nuggets"! This is a treat meal for me since I wouldn't normally have ALL of these various sources of fat in the same meal, but individually these foods are so good that when combined together... this is heaven on a cold night.
Added bonus: to me, this tastes completely different from canned tomato soup... like night and day. Canned tomato soup always tasted very sharp to me and it would always give me heartburn. This homemade version is just smooth and delicious going down!
Tomato quality matters, obviously, so choose tomatoes that are bright red and fragrant—not the mealy, anemic ones you sometimes see in stores. (Fortunately the first category has become more common, even in the Upper Midwest—I grew up on the second category and never even realized how good a fresh tomato could taste until I was an adult.)
SOUL-WARMING TOMATO SOUP
8 tomatoes, halved
1 large yellow onion, quartered
3 celery stalks, chopped into large chunks
Whole cloves of garlic (4 large or 8 small)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 c broth or rehydrated/diluted soup base (organic vegetable broth if you're buying store-bought; I used broth made at home from chicken bones)
1/4 tsp sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/2 c grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 425F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and arrange the tomatoes, onion, celery, and garlic on top. Drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle the salt over the vegetables and toss lightly. Roast for 35 minutes (you may need to turn the onions if they start to burn). Remove from oven and cool.
Transfer all roasted ingredients into a food processor or blender. Add 1 c broth and puree, then add the second cup of broth and puree some more. Pour the soup into a stockpot, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon soup into bowls. Add pepper to taste and sprinkle with parmesan.
For an extra treat, I recommend serving with avocado and pine nuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper, on whole wheat toast, plus some chicken for protein (these homemade nuggets had almond meal "breading").