Is there anything more comforting than a steaming bowl of soup on a grey and frigid day? Some late winter days are so devoid of colour, with the grey sky matching the grey grubby snow on the ground, that I find myself cooking the most brightly coloured dishes I can think of. This tomato soup fits the bill: it's warming and comforting, and the colour is restful to my winter-weary eyes.
This is my version of my beloved grandma's homemade soup. I prefer my soups to be thick and smooth, like bisques, and so I use crushed tomatoes to get that texture. My version uses cashew cream, but if nuts are not an option for you, I have included nut-free variations. This tomato soup is incredibly simple to throw together, and a single taste of it transports me back to my grandma's kitchen, the most warming and comforting place in the world.
NOTE: Did you know that baking soda can be used to cut the acidity in tomatoes? This was Grandma's trick for tomato-based recipes: a little baking soda turns the acidity to sweetness.
Soak cashews in very hot water for 1-2 hours. Drain. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend cashews with 1/3 cup water until very smooth and creamy. For a nut-free version, skip this step and use coconut cream or heavy cream in place of the cashew cream.
In a large saucepan, add baking soday to crushed tomatoes. Mixture will foam up momentarily. Add cashew cream to the tomatoes. For a nut-free version, omit cashew cream and use 1/3 cup coconut cream or heavy cream.
Add vegetable stock concentrate and 3 cups water, stirring well. Cook over medium heat until hot.
Serve with croutons, if desired.
Want more warming and comforting soups? Try my Creamy Mushroom Soup or my version of Rachael Ray's Ratatouille. How about a soup and salad? This tomato soup goes wonderfully with my Spectacular Caesar Salad.