Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup with Whole Wheat Croutons

I'm a little weird when it comes to tomatoes. I have gotten better about it lately but for some strange reason I don't like them raw or plain. I'll take them off of sandwiches, pick them out of salads and even eat around them if I feel the need. On the other hand I cook with them all the time and this soup is the perfect example of why I'm weird because it is made of just tomatoes. It was amazing and delicious. It's light and healthy for the new year, warm and easy for a weeknight winter meal.  
John actually said it was the "Best Tomato Soup He's Ever Had"!!

2 1/2 lbs Roma Tomatoes - Sliced in Half
15oz Can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Large Onion - Diced
4 Cloves Garlic - Minced
1 Cup Fresh Basil - Chopped
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1-2 Pieces of Whole Wheat Bread - Crust cut off & cubed
1 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
S&P to taste
Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle on top
Start by preheating the oven to 400 F. Slice all of the tomatoes in half and place them on a baking tray. Drizzle half of the olive oil over top and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes. Flip the tomatoes over half way through.
When the tomatoes are almost done, you can begin putting together the soup. In a large stockpot heat up the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Saute the onion for 2 - 3 minutes until opaque. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for another 2-3 minutes stirring frequently so it does not burn. If you do not like things spicy only add a Tsp of red pepper flakes instead of a Tbsp.
By now the tomatoes should be finished roasting. Add the vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, basil and roasted tomatoes to the stockpot. Salt & pepper to taste. You can substitute the fire roasted diced tomatoes for a can of plain diced tomatoes if you are worried about the spiciness.
 Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally. I decided I wanted to top this soup with a crouton for a texture change because it reminded me of the tomato soup I get at Panera and that's how they serve it. Since this was a last minute decision I just used a piece of our whole wheat sandwich bread we had in the house. In a medium pan heat up 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the bread cubes, they will soak up the oil at first but eventually they will get brown and crispy. Make sure to flip them over so both sides are done this should take about 6-8 minutes in total.
When the soup is finished carefully pour it into a blender. Or if you are fancy you can use an immersion blender to puree it. Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese, homemade croutons and basil.

Enjoy!! - Nicole

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