Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

This recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen.  Since this recipe uses canned tomatoes, it is consistantly delicious year round.  And I love that it has a creamy texture without any dairy.  Make a big pot and then freeze the leftovers (if there are any!) in small containers for easy meals in the future.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion,  chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
pinch hot  red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
1 T brown sugar
3 large slices good-quality white sandwich bread (rice bread to make it gluten free), torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken or vegetable (vegan) broth
salt and pepper to taste
2T brandy (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Heat 2 T oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion,  garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion  is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat and continue to cook 10 minutes or until onions start to caramelize.  Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using a potato  masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Stir in sugar and bread; bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring  occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down,  about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Transfer half of soup to a blender, add 1T olive oil and process until soup  is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with  remaining soup and oil. Rinse out Dutch oven and return soup to pot.  Stir in broth and brandy (optional).  Return soup to a boil and season to taste with salt and  pepper. Sprinkle each portion with pepper and chives and drizzle with olive  oil.


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