On these snowy icy days, I crave a hot bowl of soup! Soup from a can is so convenient, and aside from being pretty salty, it seems harmless, doesn’t it? I mean, what could be so bad in tomato soup? Well, scroll down to the ingredients on that ubiquitous red and white can and let’s find out: First ingredient is tomato puree, which is good, but the next ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. I cannot for the life of me remember Mom whipping out a vat of this stuff to ladle it into her soup pot. As I read on, I wonder where are the onions and garlic or seasoning? Must be under that catch all “Flavoring,” which inspires an image of a scientist in a lab holding a test tube with a liquid created to resemble actual food. Doesn’t exactly make my mouth water. Add a few unpronounceable preservatives, and it's enough to make me kick the can for good!
Thankfully, making your own tomato soup is super easy and requires just a few pantry staples. The key here is in the tomatoes: I use tomatoes that come in a carton, not a can, and the ingredients should read: TOMATOES. That is all.
No additives, preservatives or flavoring. Just TOMATOES. For the tomato paste, which adds a richness and depth of flavor, again the ingredients should be TOMATO PASTE or TOMATOES. If you have those ingredients on hand, this soup comes together in a flash…
Fast Pantry Tomato Soup
1 onion of your choice, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, smashed with the side of your knife and minced (don’t have fresh garlic? Substitute 1 teaspoon of garlic powder)
1 teaspoon dried basil
A 28-oz carton of tomatoes and their juices
2 cups water or broth
If using water, you can add a teaspoon or so of good quality bouillon for flavor and saltiness
2 tablespoons of canned tomato paste (or 1 jar of the less condensed paste I used here)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Add about a tablespoon of water to your soup pot heated over medium heat, and add the onion and garlic. Stir to cook evenly, adding more water by the tablespoon if they begin to stick. Once the onions are translucent (6 – 8 minutes), add the dried basic and cook another couple minutes. Then add the water and tomatoes with their juices (and the bouillon if using), bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, and heat it though. After tasting, add salt and pepper if needed, and enjoy!
Bonus tip: I topped mine with some quick-cook barley that cooked on the stove in 10 minutes while the soup was cooking to add a little whole grain love and some nice texture.
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