Monday, November 5, 2012

Crockpot Tomato Soup

Last night while I was eating out, I had an AMAZING tomato soup... which tasted like pure cream with a little tomato mixed in.  Mmmm...

And it made me want more tomato soup.  But, I can't really justify making such creamy goodness at home, so I made something a bit lighter, but delicious in a different, more wholesome way.  

If you've been reading my blog much at all, especially the soup recipes, you'll notice that I often use fat-free cream cheese.  Even if you're not usually a fan of fat-free products, you seriously should try this stuff.  It only has about 30 calories in 2 tablespoons, and most of that comes from protein.  While it doesn't taste exactly like the real stuff, I personally think it still works wonderfully in a lot of dip and soup recipes (but perhaps be wary about baked things like cheesecake).  

I didn't go crazy with the extras in this recipe, but I could definitely see adding parmesan cheese, fresh basil, or maybe even a homemade pesto dolloped on top.  This is a good base recipe that could be modified to make it more interesting.  And a little extra creaminess would make it better, so if you're not watching fat or calories, I'd definitely add in a little real cream instead of the milk.  

What you need:

1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 red bell pepper
1 large-ish carrot, cut into large chunks
Olive oil spray
2 stalks of celery, roughly sliced
1 1/2 can crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
salt, pepper, garlic powder, Season-All
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
3/4-1 cup fat-free cream cheese
1/2 cup Silk coconut milk (or regular milk or cream)
2-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Goat cheese and red pepper flakes, for topping (optional)
Croutons (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a baking sheet with olive oil.  Place onion, bell pepper, and carrot pieces on it.  Spray again with the oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until beginning to brown.  The bell pepper and onion should be completely cooked, but the carrot may still be somewhat hard.  Let bell pepper cool, and then remove its skin, stem, and seeds.

Place celery in crockpot, followed by the roasted vegetables.  Pour the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth over the top.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Remove lid, add about 1 teaspoon EACH pepper, garlic powder, and Season-All, plus the worcestershire.  Add the cream cheese, milk, and vinegar.  Puree until smooth.  Season with additional salt, pepper, garlic, or Season-All if necessary.

Serve with goat cheese and red pepper flakes sprinkled on top, and some croutons or toast on the side.  Enjoy!

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