Vegan "Cream" of Tomato Soup With Nut-Free Pesto
After going days without power and eating out of cans, I feel like all of us here need to focus on produce. My goal for the week is to make dinners that feature vegetables, whether the small fry are aware of it or not. One fantastic way to sneak in a lot of good stuff is with a bowl of soup, particularly if you have a blender to conceal the evidence! I have shared a tomato soup recipe before, but this one is a bit different as I left out the meat and added a creamy element thanks to canned coconut milk.
Any milk would work in this recipe, but coconut milk is a great option to consider, whether you avoid dairy or not. This article offers a nice summary of why the trend toward coconut-based beverages is a good one. While the So Delicious brand makes great options to lighten a cup of coffee or add to a smoothie or oatmeal, for this soup I would stick to plain, simple coconut milk in a can. Beyond the nutritional aspect, coconut milk has a particularly thick texture that works to add body and creaminess to the soup.
If you want to add protein to the mix, feel free to include some cooked sausage, chicken or meatballs. A vegan option would be any type of bean, though I personally think chickpeas compliment tomato the best.
I topped each of our portions with a dollop of homemade pesto. To keep the soup vegan I made it with just fresh basil, spinach, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper (traditional pesto includes parmesan cheese). My extra step was inspired by a need to use up the basil in my fridge before it went off, but I’m also a huge fan of pesto with tomato soup. You can obviously buy it pre-made, make your own or skip it altogether.
Vegan “Cream” of Tomato Soup
for the soup:
2 tbs. olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz. cans tomatoes (I used one can crushed, one diced with basil)
1 can coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
3 large handfuls kale, chopped and stems removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
for the pesto:
2 large handfuls fresh basil
2 large handfuls baby spinach
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a large pot and add onion and garlic, cooking until they begin to soften. Next add tomatoes, coconut milk, broth and seasonings. Simmer this mixture while you saute kale and cherry tomatoes with remaining 1 tbs. olive oil in a separate skillet.
Add kale and tomatoes to pot and puree mixture with immersion blender (Or puree in separate blender and add back to pot). Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
For the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until blended. Again, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
To serve, place a dollop of pesto in the center of each bowl of soup.
The kids enjoyed their soup with the Chebe breadsticks I mentioned yesterday, which they really loved. I’m including the link again because even without the extra October discount the Amazon price is a deal and the Chebe mixes are pretty hard to find in a brick-and-mortar store. I can only imagine the pizza dough mix is convenient and yummy as well.