This dreamy vegan tomato soup is soothing, comforting, and perfect to accompany vegan grilled cheese. This recipe was originally posted on January 8, 2014. The post has since been updated with new photos and a recipe video. The recipe remains the same!
The story below is the one I shared in early 2014. Take a trip down memory lane with me or skip straight to the recipe if you prefer. Happy reading and good food!
Sometimes it takes
fall sliding down hill mountain several times and get up to implement any positive change you have been making for more than a year. After rediscovering the benefits of yoga in November 2012, I vowed to work hard to shift the positivity of my practice off of my mat and into typical moments of everyday life. Specifically, I wanted to use mantras to help combat times of stress, lack of motivation, anxiety, and frustration, which tend to rear their ugly heads at times when I feel like my plate is overflowing with tasks.
Although I had the best of intentions throughout the past year, it wasn't until a recent ski trip that I found myself in a position where all else had failed and it was time to use the mantras or fall in the snow and sob. . When Dan first brought up the idea of taking a couple's ski trip to Colorado on New Years Eve, I got scared and reminded him that I had literally skied twice in my life and that both times were on tiny ice hills in the Midwest more than 15 years ago. I didn't know how to stop, I didn't know how to turn, and I certainly didn't know how to descend a Colorado mountain on a pair of skis. He assured me that I just needed to take a lesson or two when we arrived and that everything would be fine.
So I did it. I took a beginners lesson the first day and learned all the basics; I learned how to get the skis on my feet (important enough), how to use the poles, how to create a wedge shape to stop myself, and how to hurtle down rabbit hills. Dan met me at the end of the day for a quick run up a rabbit hill and said he was impressed that I had already learned how to turn insert an ego boost here.
On day two our group of mostly intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders decided to ski the larger green runs together for the first few hours. I confidently dropped into the elevator with Dan and our friends, but became a little apprehensive as the elevator took us up the mountain for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 minutes. It's a green run, isn't it? Are you sure it's a green, Dan? It won't be steep, right? There won't be any bumps, right? All the questions I pestered Dan with as we climbed higher and higher. My fears eased as Dan reassured me that everything would be fine, and he would make sure I got down safely. So with just one glance down the mountain, I threw up my best confidence facade and left ...
I quickly noticed that crouching very low while making wide turns that cross the width of the race will actually 1) turn you into a moving target for people who actually know what they are doing and 2) propel you at an uncontrollable speed. After zigzagging part of the trail and starting to wonder if this was the way I would die, I sat down on my skis and allowed myself to slide / fall / slide to a stop. Dan quickly came downstairs to help me get up, brush myself off and encourage me to continue running at a slower speed. Slow down? Do I look like I want to go that fast?
After a deep breath I started again and faded away again. I started again, and I erased again. This ski-and-wipe-out cycle continued over and over again until we lost our group of friends and it was just Dan and me. On one of the most epic falls, I slipped 20-30 feet on my butt as my skis spat snow in all directions before stopping to stop. When I looked through snow-pricked eyes, I saw a man laugh hysterically at my accident as he gracefully glided on his skis. You're right sir, it's pretty funny stuff going on here on this mountain. I laughed for a second or two, then I stopped when I realized I was covered in snow, shaking with fatigue and feeling completely disheartened.
After more of Dan's cheerleading, I followed him into another section of the run, but took a wrong turn and went up a big hill while he came down another. I watched him disappear behind a patch of pine trees as I stood scared at the top of a steep part of the trail, and I cried. Nothing like a quick, snowy tearful minute to restore confidence to a beginner skier, I guess. Somehow, in what must have been a ski crisis miracle, I was reminded of the yoga mantra that usually helps me when I feel completely overwhelmed by an awkward pose, and I started repeating it to myself. Yes I can. Yes I can. Yes I can.
I then stepped sideways on the steepest part of the slope (this mantra is only so powerful), then pointed my skis down and started off. During the times when I felt like I was losing control and about to force a fall to escape my fear, I repeated the mantra. I didn't fall the rest of the way down and more importantly started to have fun. Turns out during my newbie's ski epiphany, Dan 1) walked up the mountain to look for me, 2) couldn't find me, 3) assumed that I had probably gotten tangled up in a patch of trees / dived into a black slope and 4) decided he had to alert the ski rescue team. Fortunately, I found him just as he walked to alert someone. Embarrassing scene avoided.
For the rest of our trip, I used the mantra to shift from fear to empowerment, and it helped me understand why people love to ski so much. I always
fell yard-saled a few more times but learned that it is fun to have falling.
Since returning home, I have used mantras more regularly to push me through times when I feel stuck. Do you use mantras? If so, what are your favorites and when do you use them? Here are some of the mantras that I find the most useful ...
1 | Let. He. Go.
2 | Yes I can.
3 | It is now.
4 | Breathe in love, breathe out hate.
5 | I have enough. I have enough. There are enough.
6 | Quiet. Focus. Trust.
7 | Breathe in peace, breathe out love.
8 | Be honest. Be kind. To be present. Breathe.
So what does this long, rambling skiing history have to do with tomato soup?
Nothing but the fact that it's the perfect meal to warm up after being out in the cold and covered in snow. Considering that most of the Midwest was in an arctic blizzard / frost over the past few days, a soup recipe was warranted.
This vegan tomato soup gets its rich, creamy texture from mashed cauliflower and nutritional yeast. The addition of red peppers, garlic, and plenty of spices creates layers of flavor that will keep you coming back for more.
It's the perfect meal to warm your heart during lunch or dinner, and it's pretty much mandatory that it comes with grilled cheese.
Dream vegan tomato soup
This vegan tomato soup is rich, creamy, thick, and full of health benefits, and the addition of cauliflower makes it super creamy without the need for dairy. The perfect complement to grilled cheese; this soup will warm your soul on a cold winter day.
- 3 soup spoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 way yellow onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
- 2 28- ounce cans of whole tomatoes peeled in juice
- 1 small cauliflower head, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- hyphen red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
- 3 soup spoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 to 1 Chopped off water, if needed to thin out the soup
- A pinch of baking soda or a drizzle of pure maple syrup, if necessary to reduce the acidity
- fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Add olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat.
Add the garlic and onion. Cook 3 to 5 minutes until tender.
Add the red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, cauliflower, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes (if using) and salt. Make sure to immerse the cauliflower pieces in the tomato liquid as much as possible - it will seem like there is too much cauliflower, but there is just enough.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer the mixture vigorously for 25 minutes.
Turn off the heat and puree with an immersion blender for 5 to 10 minutes or until very smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can add the mixture to a batch blender or large food processor and mix very thoroughly (return the soup to the pot after mixing is complete).
Add nutritional yeast and more salt to taste. Simmer over low heat for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the soup is thicker than you want, add 1/2 to 1 cup of water and whisk into the soup.
Taste. If it's too sour for your taste, add a pinch of baking soda or a drizzle of pure maple syrup to reduce the acidity. Stir to incorporate.
Pour the soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with chopped fresh basil, if desired.
It’s easy to be cynical about the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but there is a lot of undeniable and powerful energy surrounding the idea of change at this time of year. For many of us, that change starts in the kitchen.
Maybe it means resolving to cook at home more often, to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, to waste less, or to make slightly more wholesome choices. Maybe, for you, this is the year in which you’d like to give veganism ( or vegetarianism ) a try.
Whether you’re trying to dip your toes slowly into the world of plant-based eating, or you’re ready to make a total shift, it can be helpful to keep a few things in mind.
Some people go vegan overnight, and they never look back. But for many others, a slow transition is more sustainable ( and pleasurable ) than a 180-degree turn. If the idea of going vegan feels daunting, start with a couple of small steps, like a Meatless Monday challenge at home, or switching one of your daily meals to a meatless and dairy-free option. ( You’d be surprised at how easy it is to trade your turkey sandwich for hummus, tempeh bacon, and avocado ).
I’m quick to say that vegan food is just food. While there are a couple of secret weapon ingredients to have on your radar ( nutritional yeast, I’m lookin’ at you ), for the most part a healthy appetite for céréales, beans, and produce is all you really need to get started. With that said, any dietary shift can be tricky, and veganism is no exception. So, before you get started, take just a little time to go over the basics of plant-based nutrition. Find a useful, all-in-one resource, like Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina’s Becoming Vegan, or Ginny Messina and Jack Norris’ Vegan For Life. At some point, someone will ask you where you get your protein ( or your iron, or your calcium ), and while you could laugh the question off, it’s a lot more powerful to supply a quick, confident answer.
Going vegan expanded my palate dramatically : I learned about all sorts of global cuisines, warmed up to my spice rack, and tried ingredients I’d never considered before. But my culinary repertoire was pretty meager when I made the switch. If you already have some culinary experience, don’t assume that you’ll need to acquire an entirely new bag of tricks to eat vegan or vegetarian.
In fact, one really useful place to start is by looking at some of your favorite dinner recipes and thinking about how you might adapt them to be meatless and/or dairy-free. It may be as simple as removing some cheese ( or replacing it with cashew cheese ). It may mean trading the central protein for beans, soy foods, or even a hearty vegetable, like mushrooms.
Until I went vegan, I had never tried tempeh, soba noodles, kimchi, kabocha squash, nutritional yeast, millet, mulberries, or buckwheat…and the list goes on. Becoming vegan encouraged me to explore new ingredients, and it also introduced me to more global dishes.
A great many dietary traditions around the world are already plant-based, which means that végétaliens and vegetarians have many rich, exciting culinary traditions to draw upon. If you’re new to plant-based cooking, explore meatless dishes and recipes from other parts of the world ( Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern dishes are some of my personal préférés ). Dust off your spice rack and add new flavors to your food. Use your transition to plant-based eating as an excuse to try new céréales, legumes, and vegetables.
A lot of folks assume that adapting a recipe to be vegan means replacing the meat or poultry with a faux meat, a block of tofu, or tempeh. That’s cool, but it can also be fun to think creatively and imaginatively about how to capture the essence of a traditional recipe without animal protein. No, lentil Bolognese isn’t really Bolognese, but it does capture the heartiness of the original; cashew banana yogurt is a far cry from dairy, but it does evoke the same, sweet creaminess.
Many people are surprised by how easy it is to go meatless. Cheese, on the other hand, is a different story. I myself used to utter the same words I hear constantly from readers, friends, and nutrition clients : ' I’d love to go vegan, but I can’t give up cheese. '
While I won’t pretend that giving up dairy is easy—it’s not, especially because it’s so ubiquitous in restaurant dishes—I will say that I had a much easier time living without it when I learned to make my own substitutes. Store-bought soy and almond cheeses weren’t cutting it ( especially nine years ago, when the options were limited ), and soy creamers and yogurts left me feeling equally flat. Making my first batch of cashew cheese—which authentically captured the tanginess and texture of goat cheese—was a revelation. Homemade nut milk let me create creamy porridge and muesli far more authentically than did store-bought, non-dairy milk.
Over time, I’ve experimented with tofu paneer, tofu feta, and cashew yogurt, and the list is growing. Homemade dairy substitutes are creative, fun, and cost-effective, and I think they’re a big step up from what you can find in the store.
While I’m the first to point out that vegan proteins extend far beyond soy foods—encompassing tonalités of different grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds—you really can’t beat tofu and tempeh for ' meaty ' texture and complete protein in meatless dishes. Both ingredients can be either memorable or mundane, depending on how you prepare them. I definitely recommend pressing tofu if you’re not already in the habit; it’ll create a firmer, more toothsome matière that most people prefer.
When preparing tempeh, be sure to use a boldly flavored marinade or sauce to help balance tempeh’s earthy taste, and if you find it bitter, you can steam it before marinating, too.
For the most part, I try to feature whole foods and homemade ingredients in my cooking. But in spite of the fact that I love to create my own dairy substitutes and I’d usually rather eat a scoop of lentils than a block of faux meat, I don’t eschew vegan products, and I think that keeping an open mind about them can really enrich the authenticity of your food.
This is especially important when you’re transitioning and vegan cooking still feels like a brave new world. Nine times out of ten, I’ll opt to use cashew cheese in a recipe rather than Daiya ( a melty, commercial vegan cheese ) ; coconut oil in place of Earth Balance ( vegan butter ) ; or grilled tofu in place of Beyond Chicken ( grilled strips of soy and pea protein that taste shockingly like chicken ).
But when I’m aiming for totally authentic, precise results, vegan substitute products can go a long way, and it’s comforting to know that they’re an option if I feel like taking a shortcut.
Over time, I learned to create vegan food with greater sensitivity to others’ tastes and traditions. I love a lot of really crunchy fare, from the aforementioned raw kale salad to tofu, sprouts, and grain bowls. And I know a lot of other folks who love these dishes, too. But sometimes being an ambassador of vegan food means knowing how to create dishes that feel familiar and appeal to a wide array of more conservative palates, like vegan lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or sloppy Joes.
And, if you’re trying to dispel the idea that all vegans eat is salad and prove that vegan food can be filling and hearty, then it’s all the more important to create dishes that evoke a sense of comfort.
Change feels a lot less daunting when you have company. If your family and friends aren’t exploring veganism along with you, then find community in other ways. Explore a vegan meetup or potluck in your community. Become a regular commenter on vegan food blogs. If you do have a friend who’s interested in plant-based cooking, invite him or her over for some recipe testing.
Studies show that failure to stick with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is often attributed to feeling ' different ' or isolated. Food is all about community and sharing, so do your best to share this lifestyle with people you care about—even if they’re not making the change along with you.