I’ve always loved tomato soup, and for most of my life, couldn’t imagine it without the cream. However, it’s really easy to make vegan soups feel “creamy,” simply by blending up your ingredients. The following recipe also contains a secret ingredient to give it a smooth texture – baking soda! I wish I could say I came up with this trick, but in fact I got it from a restaurant in Portland named Elephants Deli; they use it in what used to be my favorite tomato soup. However, they also made their soup with butter and cream. I’ve based my recipe on their tomato, orange, and baking soda combination, but cut out the dairy products. I didn’t use any cream substitute, because I wanted to keep the ingredients easy, inexpensive, and accessible. If you’ve never made a vegan soup before, this might be a good one to start with! I think you’ll find it’s more satisfying than you would suspect.
To make a complete meal, serve this soup alongside a large, protein-packed salad. We made ours with spinach, shredded carrots, avocado, green onions, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and garbanzo beans. Freshly baked French bread will finish off this comforting, yet healthy, meal.
Tomato Orange Soup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, drained, with liquid reserved
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme (or 1/2 Tablespoon of fresh thyme, if available).
- 1/2 cup orange juice
1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a medium-sized soup pot over medium heat, five minutes, or until softened.
2. Add the tomatoes and garlic; cook a few minutes more. Add the baking soda, red pepper flakes, dried thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for another few minutes.
3. Combine the reserved tomato liquid with enough vegetable stock to equal 1-1/2 cups of liquid (for me, it was about 3/4 cups of vegetable stock). Add this to the soup pot. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. If you are using fresh thyme, I like to add it to the soup during the last few minutes of simmering.
4. Using an immersion blender, or transferring to a blender or food processor in batches, blend the soup until smooth (I like mine to have just a few tiny chunks remaining). If you didn’t use an immersion blender (they’re not that expensive and really great), transfer it back to the pan; either way, once it’s all blended, add the orange juice. Turn the heat back on and cook it for a few minutes over low until everything is warm.
This makes 3 generous bowls full of soup.