Aah, tinned tomato soup. Or, more specifically; aah, Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup. Everyone loves cream of tomato soup, don’t they? I have it when I’m ill, when I’m hungover and it was all I could face when my house got burgled a few years ago (well, soup and alcohol, anyway). In fact, it’s more of a comfort blanket than a soup, really. I suspect it’s because I don’t see tomato soup as an ‘everyday’ soup, I don’t make homemade tomato soup very often and, if I do, it’s usually ‘tomato and something’, rather than just tomato.
But I had a few tins of chopped tomatoes taking up room on the kitchen worktop, so I decided I’d make a homemade tomato soup. I wasn’t expecting it to turn out like Heinz because mine would be a vegan version and therefore it wouldn’t contain any cream. I’d thought about thickening it with cashews but, thanks to my Froothie Optimum G2.1 high powered blender, it turned out beautifully creamy and smooth without needing to add any thickeners (I know it doesn’t look silky smooth in the photo but, trust me – it is).
You could, for a creamier taste, replace half the stock with soya milk (or dairy milk if you’re not fussed about it being vegan), but I don’t really think it’s necessary and I only swirled on a bit of soya milk for a prettier photo.
A cheap, creamy, comforting bowl of soup; even if you don’t need comforting.
A cheap, creamy, comforting bowl of vegan tomato soup
Author: Cathy @ Planet Veggie
Recipe type: Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
500ml vegan stock
A few basil leaves, torn
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan
Add the onion and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes, until soft
Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and stock, then season to taste with the salt and pepper
Stir through and simmer for 10 minutes
Add the basil, stir through and transfer to a blender and blend until smooth
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It’s spring, therefore it’s wild garlic season, hooray! Ha, who am I kidding? I’d never even seen wild garlic before some arrived in my Riverford box this week and if you’ve never seen it either, it looks like this.
Wild garlic (also known as ‘bear’s garlic’, ‘devil’s garlic’, ‘gypsy’s onions’ and ‘stinking Jenny’) has a milder taste than its bulby counterpart and grows – as you’ve probably guessed – wild, in forests and, as you can see, it’s the leaves that are eaten, not the bulbs.
Wild garlic can be eaten raw in salads or wilted in butter and used like any other leafy green vegetable. Because I’d also received a cauliflower in my veg box, I decided to make a vegan wild garlic and cauliflower soup and very nice it was too. It turned out a beautiful pale green colour (admittedly, it looks slightly like Angel Delight but don’t let this put you off) and, thanks to my new Froothie Optimum G2.1 Platinum Series high powered blender (review coming soon), velvety smooth and creamy. If you haven’t got a high powered blender (I definitely recommend one though; I’ve never had such a smooth soup in my life), you could use a hand blender instead. This is a thick soup so if you like it slightly thinner, just add a bit more stock. Despite the thickness though, it’s a fresh, light soup; perfect for spring.
Another thick and creamy soup using cashews and soya milk – this time, the always popular leek and potato. I don’t know what it is, but my leek and potato soup never comes out as nice as the ones in the tins, but it’s probably the cream and additives and other unhealthy stuff, but I’m sure I’ll make the perfect vegan leek and potato soup one day – I’ll just have to keep experimenting.
Again, as with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I made the other day, I started this soup off in the frying pan, and finished it in the soup maker. If you haven’t got a soup maker, just add the stock and seasoning to the pan, simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, leave the milk out until the end, then blend.
Although my VonShef Soup Maker acts as a great blender, I’ve been lazy and have just chucked all my ingredients in, pressed the start button and buggered off to leave it to it. This method ends up with a smooth, creamy soup but slightly lacking in flavour with the onion and garlic not being fried first. This is only to be expected – after all, boiled onion doesn’t sound appetising, does it?
So, yesterday, I decided I’d had enough of creamy, yet bland, soup and took a bit more effort with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I’d decided to make. Yes, it meant more washing up but only one pan, so it’s not that much of a hassle and it was totally worth it.
I’ve made mushroom soup in the past (see here, here, here and here) but this one is definitely my favourite. I had a brainwave and wondered if cashews and soya milk would give it the creaminess some of my soups are lacking and yes, it certainly does. I usually use a potato to thicken my soups up but cashews are definitely the way to go in the future. Cashews will obviously add a lot of calories to a soup – if you’re bothered about that kind of thing – but they’re good calories and full of protein and apart from protein being good for you, it keeps you full up and this soup kept me full all afternoon.
Despite this soup being the easiest soup in the world to make, it wasn’t the easiest soup to guess in my Guess The Soup game. I didn’t think it would be so difficult; it’s just one vegetable, after all, and a seasonal vegetable at that (I’m assuming it’s seasonal – it came in last week’s veg box, anyway).
Maybe the stock discoloured it. I don’t know what goes into most ready-made stock powder and cubes (I should probably be ashamed of this) but this stock was a home-made one, made from The Gentle Chef’s Instant Chicken’less Bouillon Powder, which is easy to make and much nicer than anything you’ll find in the shops. Just make a batch up and store it in a jar until you need it.
These instructions are for a Von Chef Soup Maker. Your settings might be different. If you want to make it on the hob, just simmer all ingredients for about 20 minutes then blend at the end and add the soya milk.
Author: Planet Veggie
1 cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp home made or store bought bouillon powder
3 cups water
salt and pepper
50ml soya milk (optional)
Put all ingredients except the soya milk into the soup machine
I’ve reinstated my Riverford Veg Box delivery and last week I received a box containing – amongst other vegetables – kale and parsnips. Parsnips are usually something I only ever eat when they’re forced on me but they do make a delicious soup, especially when spiced up with a bit of chilli. This soup was a great way to use up some of the kale, too. I felt approximately three-hundred-and-thirty-six times healthier after eating it (until I had some hot chocolate and a couple of biscuits immediately after, that is).
I made this in my soup maker. If you’re making it on the hob, fry the onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes first, then add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for about 20 minutes or so until the parsnip is tender, then blend at the end.
Soup Machine Parsnip and Kale Soup (serves 3-4)
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 large handfuls of chopped kale (minus the thick middle stalks)
1 green chilli, chopped
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1L vegetable stock
salt and pepper
Chuck it all in the soup machine and let your soup machine do its thing.
Domu sent me a replacement soup maker, so I’m still trying to make friends with it. At least the new one doesn’t require whacking on the side to make it start up, I suppose, and I have just about figured out how to use it, hooray.
Years ago, when I swapped sandwiches for soup, I used to buy soup every day from a place near work and one of my favourites from there was their cream of sweetcorn. Although it was one of my favourites, I’ve never actually made it myself, so yesterday I gave it a go.
After filling up the soup maker with the veg and the milk, I remembered that when milk reaches boiling point, it bubbles up and boils over unless you take it off the heat and, considering I’d filled the soup maker way above the maximum limit (and I mean way above), I thought I was about to decorate the kitchen in boiling soya milk. Oops.
I changed the programme on the soup maker from high to low and hoped for the best. My ‘hoping for the best’ technique worked as it didn’t boil over and I ended up with thick and creamy cream of sweetcorn soup.
Please note, if you’re making this in a soup maker, you should probably halve the ingredients and make half the amount.
Soup Maker Cream of Sweetcorn Soup (serves 4-6) (adapted from 200 Super Soups)
1 onion, chopped
300g sweet potato, diced
2 x 325g cans sweetcorn, drained
6 tbsp double cream
salt and pepper
Vegetarian bacon flavour bits to garnish
If your soup machine has a ‘fry’ function, melt the butter and fry the onion for a couple of minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the cream and cook on low power for 45 minutes.
Add the double cream.
If your machine doesn’t blend automatically, blend until smooth.
Pour into bowls and sprinkle the vegetarian bacon bits on top.
I said yesterday I’d give the VonShef Soup Maker another go, so I used it today to make a batch of red pepper soup.
Just like last time, when I plugged it in, it was lifeless and could only be revived by giving it a whack on its side. And again, it only started doing something after I’d randomly pressed all the buttons, except this time it decided my soup needed 35 minutes instead of 30. I left it alone during the 35 minutes and let it do its thing, especially as I wanted to know if it would automatically blend the soup at the end. It didn’t. It switched itself onto standby and only blended when I turned it back on again and rotated the dial a bit. The only positive thing I can say about the soup maker is that it blends ridiculously quickly.
I’m going to tell Domu to come and take their almost useless machine back.
Soup Maker Red Pepper Soup (serves 4)
3 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients in the soup maker.
Whack the soup maker on the side to bring it to life.
Press all the buttons until it starts to do something.
At the end, turn it back on and turn the dial and blend the soup.
Contact Domu and tell them to come and take back their stupid machine.
I plugged in the soup maker and nothing happened. The instructions, which appear to have been translated from Martian into some weird form of English spoken by no one ever said the display should light up and go on stand by. Well, it didn’t. Not until I’d whacked it on the side, dodgy-80s-television stylee, anyway, then it lit up. But how to make the soup? As I said, the instructions are unfathomable, the display doesn’t help much and I had no clue how to use the machine. Apparently you can add a bit of oil to the bottom of the jug and fry onion and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients and I thought the instructions said you do this by pressing the ‘stir’ button but that just blended it. The time and temperature are set by default to 30 minutes and 100C respectively and I think it starts to heat up as soon as you switch the machine off standby. It started to heat up after I’d pressed all the buttons about a billion times and was on the verge of throwing it out the window in frustration and making some toast instead, anyway.
I added the rest of the ingredients and waited around for a bit to see what it did and the timer started to count down so I assumed it was cooking. After a couple of minutes it started bubbling rapidly (see video below – it’s the right way up when you click it) and I wondered if it was blending but I think it was just boiling as when I turned the temperature down, it stopped. I couldn’t get it to simmer like my hob-made soups do, and I didn’t know at which temperature soup is supposed to simmer (100C sounded too hot to me but what do I know?), so I just kept turning the temperature up and down during the cooking. I thought it was supposed to blend the soup without me doing anything but when it got to the end, I stuck my spoon in and the tomatoes were still lumpy, so I pressed the ‘stir’ button until it was smooth, then I added the chickpeas.
Despite the machine needing whacking on the side to start (and if it happens next time I want to use it, it’ll be returned to Domu) and me not having a clue how to use it, it did make gorgeous soup. But if all it does is heat it up and then require you to press the button to blend it, it’s not really any better than a saucepan and a blender. It also takes up a lot of room – this is a big machine.
Still, I’ll give it another go. Now I’ve worked out how to use it (I think), I may grow to love it. I will report back.
Because someone – okay, I – forgot to add the spinach to the Quorn curry I cooked last night, I had a bag of spinach in the fridge, going to waste. In my defence though, it was a slow-cooked curry and by the time its eight hours were up, I’d completely forgotten there was another ingredient to go in. Also, the spinach wasn’t going to go to waste as a) I’m going to use it instead of kale in a recipe tomorrow; and b) I made soup out of it at lunchtime today.
My original idea was to make spinach and rice soup, then I changed my mind and thought I’d give spinach and chickpea soup a go and to liven it up a bit, also add some vegetarian Parmesan. It works.
Cheesy Spinach and Chickpea Soup (serves 4)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium potato, diced
500ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper
Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the garlic and onion and fry for a few minutes until the onion is soft.
Add the potatoes and fry for another couple of minutes.
Add the spinach and the stock and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.
Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and blend.
Add the cheese and blend again until it’s melted through.
Add the chickpeas and return to the heat to warm through.