This is a classic cream-based tomato soup, revamped to be good for you and free of animal products. Blending a small amount of soaked cashews into the soup transforms the tomato base into a luxurious, creamy soup, and the sun-dried tomatoes add depth of flavor to the tomato base. And with the crunchy Italian chickpea "croutons," there are no traditional bread croutons required. Be sure to soak the raw cashews in water the night before (or for at least three to four hours) so they are ready when you plan to make the soup.
For the chickpea croutons
- 1 (15-ounce/425-g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) dried oregano
- 1⁄8 teaspoon (0.5 mL) cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon (1 mL) onion powder
- 3⁄4 teaspoon (4 mL) fine-grain sea salt or Herbamare
For the tomato soup
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small to medium yellow onion, diced (11⁄2 to 2 cups/375 to 500 mL)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) raw cashews, soaked
- 2 cups (500 mL) vegetable broth
- 1 (28-ounce/796-mL) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
- 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 mL) tomato paste
- 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon (2 to 5 mL) dried oregano
- 3⁄4 to 1 teaspoon (4 to 5 mL) fine-grain sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon (1 to 2 mL) dried thyme
1 Make the chickpea croutons: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Place the chickpeas on the paper towels and place a couple paper towels on top. Roll them around until any liquid on them has been absorbed. Discard paper towels.
2 Transfer the chickpeas to a large bowl and stir in the grapeseed oil, oregano, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and then spread the chickpeas in an even layer on the baking sheet.
3 Bake for 15 minutes. Give the pan a shake from side to side and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, watching closely, until the chickpeas are lightly charred and golden.
4 Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool.
5 Make the tomato soup: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
6 In a blender, combine the soaked cashews and the broth and blend on high speed until creamy and smooth. Add the garlic-onion mixture, the tomatoes and their juices, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste and blend on high until smooth.
7 Pour the tomato mixture into the saucepan in which you cooked the onions and set the pan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then stir in the oregano, salt, pepper to taste, and thyme.
8 Gently simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flavors have developed.
9 Ladle the soup into bowls and top with 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup (75 to 125 mL) of the chickpea croutons. Garnish with minced fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper.
Tip: The chickpeas will lose their crispness in the soup, so be sure to add them just before you sit down to eat-or you can even add the chickpeas as you eat the soup.
Makes 8 cups.
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by Angela Liddon. Recipes Copyright © 2014 Angela Liddon, Photography copyright © 2014 David Biesse, Eric Liddon and Angela Liddon. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Canada Books Inc., Toronto. All rights reserved.