Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Wholesome ingredients make this better for you than the stuff you had as a kid, and is easy to make
Wholesome ingredients make this better for you than the stuff you had as a kid, and is easy to make

I used to serve at one of the most successful restaurant chains in the world, and man were they good at making, well, everything. People were always surprised when we told them everything was made from scratch and to order…except for the soup. The soup came in a bag and while still delicious had a million ingredients. I always thought this was a little strange, because soups are so so easy to make.

The following recipe is a simpler re-creation of one of the soups from this restaurant…it was the soup we would sneak into mugs and hide in the corner and drink it was so good. Little did we know that we were drinking to our health, as tomatoes are high in antioxidants, have been proven to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and are high in Potassium and Vitamin’s A & C. My Creamy Tomato Basil Soup has wholesome, real ingredients, and is the perfect soup for pairing with a wintery day and a nice glass of Chianti.

Ingredients

2 tbps olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 small cooking onion, chopped

1 leek, sliced

2.5l canned peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes (I use the big can from Costco)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup heavy red wine

3 tbsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup 35% cream

Salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat, then add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add onion and cook for 1 minute. Add leek and continue to cook until soft and onions are translucent, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes one at a time, discarding the hard, green tip of each one as you go, then dumping the juices in when done.

Turn the heat up to medium high and let mixture come to a boil. Add the vegetable stock and wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the basil, reduce heat to medium low, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Turn to low and stir in cream. Allow soup to heat through, and serve!

This Creamy Tomato Basil Soup is delicious when topped with fresh basil, feta cheese, old cheddar, parm, pine nuts, or any combination of the above. While the amount of cream in the soup is small in comparison to volume, you may want to opt for a lighter or vegan option instead. Should you go this route, remember the soup is highly acidic, so to avoid any milk or dairy substitute from curdling, sprinkle 1-2 tsps baking soda over the soup and stir in. This will neutralize the acid and make any cream replacement work.

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Homemade Curry Spice

This super simple recipe is really flavourful and allows you to play with your favourite spices to maker it stronger one way or another, letting you create a signature curry.

Curry Spices Pre RoastThrow a large handful each of whole cumin seeds, whole cardamom seeds, and whole coriander seeds onto a cookie sheet and toast in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until they start turning golden. Immediately remove them from the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely. Toasted Curry Spice

To this seed mixture add 1/4 cup of ground tumeric, 1 teaspoon of cayenne (or more if you like a spicy curry), and 1 tablespoon of mustard powder. Blend in a food processor or mini blender (I use a Magic Bullet), and store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in a cool, dark place for up to eight months. Add in place of store bought curry powder to whatever you like!

Homemade Curry Spice Blended

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

This is one my favourite dishes, and I get requests to make it often. My Roasted Curried Cauliflower is completely vegan, gluten-free, and jam-packed with delicious flavours. It combines two Levels of Awesome (marinating and roasting) to add depth and richness. Serve as a side dish with an Indian spiced protein such as Tandoori Chicken. To serve as your main you need to add a protein source…I would recommend adding a couple handfuls of raw cashews at either the very beginning or very end of the recipe. You can also top this dish with plain Greek yogurt for an extra hit of protein.

Ingredients:

1 whole head of cauliflower, broken into 2-4 inch pieces

1 can of coconut milk

1 medium onion of any kind coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon of your favourite store-bought curry powder, or my super easy Homemade Curry Spice

salt & pepper to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Hot sauce (optional)

2 handfuls raw, whole, unsalted cashews (optional)

Plain Greek yogurt (optional)

Marinate your cauliflower to get the best flavour possible
Marinate your cauliflower to get the best flavour possible

In a large plastic container with a lid, combine the broken cauliflower, chopped onion and coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add half of the curry powder and stir until evenly distributed. Season again with salt and pepper and add remaining curry powder, stirring until evenly distributed. Place in fridge and allow cauliflower to marinate overnight, or for a minimum of 1 hour (the longer the better).

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease either an oven safe skillet (I always prefer cast iron) or glass lasagna dish with the coconut oil, and add the cauliflower mixture to it, making sure you scrape each and every drop of the coconut milk from the plastic container with a spatula. Season once more with salt and pepper. At this point, you made add the 2 handfuls of cashews if you are looking for more protein, and prefer the taste of roasted nuts.

A cast iron skillet adds a little something extra to any dish
A cast iron skillet adds a little something extra to any dish

Place the mixture in the oven, uncovered, and roast for 35-45 minutes, depending on how soft you like your cauliflower. I like to turn the broiler element on at the very end of this cooking process to add a little extra toasty crunchiness to the dish.

 

 

 

Top with fresh cilantro and serve. You can also add hot sauce if you like things spicy, or raw cashews and/or Greek yogurt on top at this stage if you are looking for extra protein sources.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

Enjoy!