Happy Wednesday! Have some soup.
Specifically, have some vegan roasted tomato soup. And, while you’re EATING that soup, make sure you check out my brand new Resources Section! Everything in there is super.duper.awesomely.helpful. Seriously.
I just realized that this is the first vegan soup I’ve posted – WHAT?! I can’t believe it. I actually make vegan soup pretty frequently, so the fact that a vegan soup recipe hasn’t found its way onto the site yet is a little crazy. But not to worry! I have plenty of vegan recipes coming down the pipeline for all you meat- and animal byproduct-free folks! I actually was a vegetarian for several years (true story), so I can totally empathize with how hard it is to have to deal with a diet restriction while you’re perusing the internet for tasty-looking food.
SO, in the interest of helping you transform a meat- or dairy-filled dish into one that’s vegetarian or vegan, here are some helpful cooking tips I picked up while I was living meat-free!
1.Coconut milk is a great stand-in for milk or cream, although it does add quite a bit of sweetness. You can easily compensate for that with thoughtful seasoning, though. A hefty dose of salt will help cut that sweet flavor. I often substitute coconut milk for dairy products in soups and sauces. Ive also used it in mac and cheese, but the whole “cheese” thing tends to throw off the vegan-izing attempt. (I love cheese. LOVE IT. That and chocolate are the only reasons I’d never make it as a vegan).
2. Hearty roasted vegetables often make great stand-ins in a dish that calls for meat. Parsnips, carrots, and mushrooms are particularly great when they’re cut into chunks and roasted – I use them in place of meat in pasta sauces and lasagnas all the time.
3. For great burgers, mash up any veggies you’ve got lying around (broccoli! Carrots! parsnips! celery!) with a can of black beans to make super simple veggie patties, then brown each side in a hot skillet. Like a hamburger patty, these veggie patties hold flavor really well, so if there’s a great burger recipe you’ve got your eye on, the veggie patty won’t overpower whatever components are called for in the dish.
I’ll talk more about vegan and vegetarian cooking substitutions in upcoming posts, but for now, give this tomato soup a try! The roasted tomatoes give it a great depth of flavor and the coconut milk makes it super-duper smooth. I paired it with a very un-vegan grilled cheese (whoops) but would also recommend a (vegan!) grilled sandwich with hummus, cucumbers, and bean sprouts in it as a side dish.
Vegan Roasted Tomato Soup
8 roma tomatoes, halved
5 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 of a yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp. tomato paste
pinch of paprika
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. dried basil
extra olive oil and fresh basil, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spread tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic cloves in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until garlic is roasted and tomatoes have caramelized. Remove thyme and bay leaves and discard them. Set the tomatoes and garlic aside.
3. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about two minutes. Add roasted tomatoes and garlic to pan and saute one minute to draw any remaining juice out of the tomatoes.
4. Add vegetable stock to pot and bring to a low boil. Then reduce to a simmer.
5. With an immersion blender, blend soup until all chunks are out and soup is creamy and smooth. (Don’t have an immersion blender? Carefully transfer soup in small batches to a standard blender and puree, then return to pot. My immersion blender is my best friend, though – I highly recommend getting one! I use it several times a week for soups in the winter).
6. Return soup to a simmer and add coconut milk, paprika, lemon zest, and basil. Re-season with salt and pepper to taste and bring back to a simmer.
7. At this point, the soup should have thickened a bit. If it’s still too thin for your taste, cook it on a low boil for an additional fifteen minutes to let some of the excess liquid evaporate. When the soup has reached your desired consistency, ladle it into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of fresh basil. Serve immediately.