Tomato and Basil Soup
(We like ours a little on the chunky side)
Keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with the basic ingredients below, and in less than an hour you can make your own tomato soup. Even better, use fresh tomatoes and basil, especially in summer when produce is abundant from local farmers.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes have all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Lycopene gives tomatoes their rich red color and is linked to reducing a number of cancers (such as prostate, pancreatic, lung and stomach), heart disease and age-related eye disorders. When breastfeeding moms eat tomato products, it increases the concentration of lycopene in their breast milk.
Not to overlook the fragment basil plant that makes a perfect complement to this soup. One-half cup chopped basil, coming in at only 5 calories, is an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese; a very good source of copper, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), and vitamin C; and a good source of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
This soup is so rich and tasty you won’t even miss the cream used in traditional tomato soups (or the extra calories).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 sweet or yellow onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil, or handful fresh basil, chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (optional)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, or four fresh tomatoes, diced
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Add olive oil to large saucepan and heat to medium high.
- Add onion, celery, carrot, basil, red pepper and bay leaves to saucepan and sauté about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft.
- Add garlic and sauté another minute.
- Stir in tomato paste and cook until lightly browned, or caramelized, about 3 minutes, continuing to stir frequently.
- Add flour and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in chicken stock, and add bay leaves and tomatoes.
- Bring to simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove soup from heat and cool slightly.
- Remove bay leaf, then puree soup in small batches of 2 to 3 cups in a blender, or use a handheld immersion blender, until you reach desired smoothness – or chunkiness.
- Add pepper and serve, or refrigerate to eat later.
Makes 8, one-cup servings
Note: Some stores now carry no salt chicken broth and no salt added canned tomatoes. Lower the sodium content in this recipe by trying to find these products.
Per one-cup serving: 74 calories; 1.8g total fat (0.2g saturated, 0.2g polyunsaturated and 1.2g monounsaturated); 365.7mg sodium; 0.0mg cholesterol; 11.6g carbohydrate (4.6g sugars) 3.0g fiber; 2.5g protein; 289.4mg potassium.
More Tomato Facts:
Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Regardless which side you are on, there is no doubt it is a superfood. One medium tomato provides:
- 22 calories
- 0 grams of fat
- 5 carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of sugar)
- 1 gram of protein
- All three high-powered antioxidants: beta-carotene (which has vitamin A activity in the body), vitamin E, and vitamin C .
- Lots of potassium
- Alpha lipoic acid that helps the body to convert glucose into energy