Why It Works
- Using nothing but pantry ingredients, this dish can be made start to finish at the spur of the moment.
- Bread and olive oil emulsify to give the soup a creamy texture, with no dairy at all.
- The friction created by a high-powered blender is all the heat you need to cook it.
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 to emulsify the mixture 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.)
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 dumped all of the ingredients into the jar of my Vitamix and turned it on.
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.
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."
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 clove garlic
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped (2.5 ounces; 75g)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 slice white bread, crusts removed, torn into rough 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 ounce; 30g)
1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes packed in juice (about 800g)
1 cup (235ml) water or stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Minced chives, basil, or parsley as garnish
Combine olive oil, garlic, onion, oregano, red pepper flakes, bread, tomatoes and their juices, and water or stock in the jar of a high-powered blender. Turn blender on to low speed and slowly increase speed to maximum. Blend until soup is steaming hot and completely smooth, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If an even smoother soup is desired, press through a fine-mesh strainer before serving. Serve immediately garnished with herbs and drizzled with olive oil, or chill and serve cold. (Once chilled, you can adjust the texture by whisking in water a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency s reached.)
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 2 to 3|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 20g||26%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||15%|
|Total Carbohydrate 21g||8%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||14%|
|Total Sugars 10g|
|Vitamin C 39mg||196%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|