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Were you raised on canned tomato soup, too? I’m pretty sure I ate tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches at least once a week. The bread was white. The cheese was highly processed with gobs of sodium. No matter how long the ingredient list, I loved it. This combination was a serious comfort meal for both me and my husband. That is until we started reading ingredient labels and transforming our pantry. I have a family history of Type Two Diabetes, and I want to do everything I can to prevent it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a way to decrease my risk of developing Type Two Diabetes is to eat a healthy diet. This includes limiting foods with high amounts of sodium like canned soups. One measly 1/2 cup serving of our (former) favorite tomato soup contained 480 grams of sodium. If I wanted to eat a full cup of soup, I'd be looking at 40% of my daily recommended sodium injust the soup. Yikes.

Now there isn't a single can of condensed tomato soup to be found in our pantry. Don’t feel sorry for us. It turns out that there’s still good living after you give up overly-processed, high-sodium foods.

With fall now here, we were seriously craving tomato soup. I decided to do something radical and make it from scratch. It obviously takes longer than slopping out the contents from a can and heating. But the flavor is infinitely better and helps connect my family to real ingredients. I literally licked the bowl clean and so did my four-year-old son. I think we've found our new fall comfort food – and it doesn't come in a can.

Make this recipe on a weekend when you have a little more time. Leftovers can be used throughout the week or frozen. Interested in including your kids in the prep? Head over to my guest post on Eating Rules.

Tomato Soup 
Adapted by Allison Howe from The Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1945 
Prep Time:  5 mins 
Cook Time:  1 hour 
Total Time:  1 hour 5 mins   
Yields about 3 cups

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups of water 
  • 3 cups of tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped (can also use two 15-ounce cans) 
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or vegan substitute) 
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour 
  • 1 medium carrot, small dice 
  • 1 stalk of celery, small dice 
  • 1/2 yellow onion, small dice 
  • 2 cloves garlic

Spices: 

  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 2 whole cloves 
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme 
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns

For the garnish: 

  • Plain yogurt
  • fresh basil

Instructions: 
1. In your favorite soup pot, cook butter, carrots, celery, onions and garlic over medium high heat. After about 5 minutes, add flour and spices. Cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add water and tomatoes and reduce the temperature to low. Let the soup cook for about one hour, stirring occasionally. 

2. Once the soup has thickened and reduced in volume a bit, it is ready to be blended. Remove the whole spices using a slotted spoon. Carefully puree the soup: Use an immersion blender, or allow contents to cool enough to transfer safely to a blender or food processor. 

3. Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and fresh basil. Enjoy with your favorite people.

Note about peeling fresh tomatoes: Place tomatoes in boiling water for two minutes, then move them to a bowl or sink full of cold water. The skins will peel off very easily. This is a really entertaining job for kids.