The Food Lab Turbo: No-Cook Blender Tomato Soup in Just 5 Minutes

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

20151209-blender-tomato-soup-recipe-2.jpg

Hot and creamy tomato soup, made from pantry ingredients in under 10 minutes. [Photographs: J. Kenji López-Alt]

I'm not gonna lie: You've got to be extra lazy if you're looking for ways to speed up a recipe that only takes 15 minutes to begin with, but you know what? My New Year's resolutions were to eat better, tastier food and to cook smarter, not to do more work than I have to.

My original 15-Minute Creamy Tomato Soup is one of my favorite recipes of all time, and one that makes it into regular rotation in our household. It's dairy-free, which means that not only is it vegan, it can also be made 100% with ingredients that I have in stock in my dry pantry at all times. You start by sautéing onions and garlic with a pinch of pepper flakes and oregano in olive oil. Then you add a can of tomatoes, a cup of water, and a slice of bread with the crusts removed. Simmer it all together, then throw it in the blender. The bread and the olive oil help the mixture emulsify as it blends, giving it a rich, creamy, mouth-coating texture, even without a drop of dairy fat. (This is good news even for non-vegans: Dairy fat can dull bright tomato flavor.)

Easy, right?

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I had only a few minutes before I had to run out the door to catch a flight, but I'd promised my wife I'd leave her some food to eat for lunch for the two days I'd be out of town. In desperation, I decided to skip the entire sautéing step, instead just dumping all of the ingredients into the jar of my Vitamix and turning it on.

20151209-blender-tomato-soup-recipe-1.jpg

Five minutes later, I had a quart of hot, steaming, creamy soup with almost zero effort on my part. That's a pretty good return on the time investment.

Note that for this recipe to work, you need a high-powered blender like one of the ones I reviewed here. The rapid spin of a high-powered blender causes particles of food to forcefully bump and brush against one another. Just like rubbing your hands together vigorously will create heat on your palms, spinning food vigorously in a blender will create heat. Enough heat to actually cook it.

20151209-blender-tomato-soup-recipe-5.jpg

With this new high-speed cooking method that takes one-third of the time it used to, the next time my wife says, "What is this? A bowl of soup for ants?", I'll have the free time to say, "Don't worry, dear, I'll make you at least three times as much."