Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of warm & creamy tomato soup, sprouted pita bread, crunchy & spicy chickpeas & a cup of tea? I don’t know about you, but that spells “ultimate comfort” to me. The (only) other most comforting thing is when your soup is made from scratch & you know down to a science what’s in every spoonful. Tomato soup has always been a cherished cold-weather staple to yours truly over here. Ever since I came to Canada as a (way too young) university student, I used to drink up my soup during the bitterly cold winter months. I loved creamy soups & toasted, buttery bagels. Sound familiar?
After I graduated university, I would come home from work ravenously hungry to my teeny, tiny matchbox apartment in midtown Toronto. I would warm up some soup up on the stove, some water in my kettle for sweet tea, feed my cat, change into comfortable stretchy pants & turn my TV on to the Food Network. Yes, there was once a cat. I guess I was the quintessential “cat lady” way before my time. His name was Tiger & I miss him dearly. He looked like a Tiger, too. Nice broad stripes everywhere on that tabby. After a 10-hour work day, this was the closest to heaven on earth. I would drink my soup (ever so slowly), trying to capture this brief moment of mindless leisure. But I was always at a loss for why such a “healthy meal” would never result in me losing a few unwanted pounds- if it’s so light and “low in calories” as advertised on the box. Unbeknownst to me was the fact I was loading up on soup that was extremely high in salt (sodium) and full of heavy cream, flour (for thickening) modified milk ingredients, sugar & a whole bunch of other unpronounceable stuff that would not help my cause. I wistfully tell myself: “If only I knew then what I know now….”
This soup recipe is great on two levels; you see- it tastes nothing short of amazing & it’s dairy & refined-sugar free. That’s my goal with every single recipe I share with you guys, to bring you food that tastes great & does your body good, too. It’s healthier because:
- instead of heavy cream, we substitute with organic, full-fat coconut milk.
- instead of buttery, salty croutons we use roasted chickpeas which are naturally gluten free and add a nice touch of protein to the meal.
- instead of using white, refined sugar (like in most tomato soups) to take away some of the acidity, we use pure maple syrup, which works wonderfully well.
- I give you the option of using either grass fed butter or extra virgin olive oil
- there’s no flour or thickeners.
- it’s made from scratch- no canned tomatoes in here, but in the easiest way possible!
Now let’s get to the recipe!
Tomato Soup with Coconut Milk & Roasted Chickpeas
- 8 large ripe tomatoes
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil (to roast the vegetables)
- sea salt (to taste)
- pinch of ground pepper (to taste)
- 4 garlic cloves, fully peeled (don’t mince them)
- 2 white or yellow onions fully peeled & cut into 4 pieces. I used white, sweet spanish onions for a nice touch
- 3/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk
- 1-2 tbsp of pure maple syrup
- 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons of grass fed butter or extra virgin olive oil for dairy free options. (no hormones, just goodness)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- a large handful of chopped basil leaves
- a pinch of oregano (optional)
- good quality aged parmesan (grated) I don’t consume dairy myself, but my kids & husband love this touch!
- Turn the oven on to 400 F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Place the tomatoes, onions (sliced in half) & garlic on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until fully roasted. Roasting vegetables really brings out the flavor!
- Right before the veggies are done roasting, in a large stock pot, add the low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, coconut milk, butter, basil, & bay leaves. Stir well and bring to a boil.
- Once it boils, add the roasted tomatoes, garlic, onions & tomato paste.
- Use a handheld blender (immersion blender) to puree the veggies into the stock. If you don’t have a handheld blender, use a regular blender. Put the veggies into the blender fresh out of the oven & then pour a 1/2 cup of broth into your blender. Add the remaining broth and ingredients to the stock pot (see step 5). For a regular blender, do a pulse setting for about 10 seconds. Don’t over liquify it, I’m a believer in soup with texture! Add the pureed veggies to the stock pot.
- Bring everything to a boil & add the maple syrup & stir well. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 mins, stirring often. Maple takes away some of the acidity away from the tomatoes (without having to add white, refined sugar) & the soup does not taste overly sweet.
- Serve with sprouted pita bread or crusty sourdough bread- top with roasted chickpeas. I bought mine from a local health store- but the next frontier is to roast a huge batch myself. A much healthier & gluten-free alternative to croutons!
- For a nice touch, I drizzled a bit of coconut milk fat on top. If you consume dairy, the grated parmesan will complement this soup nicely! Enjoy.
P.S. the roasted tomato, garlic, & onion recipe is the base for many things in my kitchen: pizza sauce, pasta sauce, amazing tomato soup, minestrone soup etc. So versatile & the smell throughout the house as these veggies are roasting is hea-ven-ly!