This dairy-free, creamy tomato soup makes an easy and nutritious weeknight dinner when paired with a fresh salad and whole grain (and gluten-free, in my case) bread or crackers.
I like to pack it into mason jars to take to work for a cozy, homemade lunch, too.
The soaked and pureed raw cashews lend this soup a satisfying creaminess without dairy, and also add protein, heart-healthy fats, and B-vitamins. If you like a thicker, creamier soup, as the Midwestern Gentleman does, then add more cashews. For a lighter soup, add less. You can also control the texture by adding more or less broth.
I recommend Muir Glen tomatoes in this recipe simply because I like their flavor best, especially the fire-roasted versions. Either diced or crushed tomatoes work fine. During tomato season, I will roast my own garden-fresh tomatoes in the oven, but off-season, the canned tomatoes actually provide a better flavor.
The herbs I use come from my garden, so I usually rely on a mix of rosemary, sage, and thyme. Basil, marjoram, and oregano also work beautifully, although I find that too much oregano can nudge the soup’s flavor into pasta sauce territory. Go easy on the stronger herbs, like rosemary and sage — just a sprig of each is plenty. Since thyme and basil have a more delicate flavor, they can be used in greater quantities.
On a rainy day like today, contemplating a warm bowl of creamy, healthy tomato soup for lunch is a happy comfort!
Sweet and Smokey Tomato Bisque
1/3 to 1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup cold water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs, chopped
2 cups (or more) chicken or vegetable broth
2 large (28-oz.) cans Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
1 tsp smoked sea salt or 1/4 tsp smoked paprika + 1 tsp salt
salt and ground pepper to taste
Combine the raw cashews and cold water in a small bowl and let sit for at least an hour, or longer.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the herbs and remove skillet from heat.
Drain the cashews and add them to a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix) or food processor. Add onion mixture and about 1 cup broth to the cashews and puree until smooth. Add the tomatoes with their juices, salt, and smoked paprika, if using, to the mixture in the blender and continue to process until smooth (or leave tomatoes slightly chunky, if desired). Process the mixture in two batches if your blender canister or food processor are not large enough to do it all at once.
Pour the pureed mixture into a large (4-quart) soup pot. Add additional 1 cup broth, or more, until desired consistency. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until mixture is heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.