Tag Archives: tomatoes

Roasted Tomato Cashew Basil Soup


I am not someone who dwells on the changing seasons, hoping for summer to last a little longer, or for winter to pass more quickly. As the seasons change, I accept and adjust accordingly. Except the whole shoe thing: I grew up on an island. I grew up with my bare feet in the sand, naked toes with grass between ‘em. That hasn’t changed. I still prefer to work in the garden barefoot. You’ll catch me running up the sidewalk barefoot to retrieve things out of the car. If footwear is required, I prefer wearing my slippers (okay, “flip flops,” as everyone around me calls them) even when it’s 15 degrees outside.

But this post isn’t about feet, it’s about soup. Soup and fall time, because the two go hand in hand. Like I said a week ago,  this time of year always finds me saying I’ll make more soups, only to fall short. I’ve surprised myself and made soup two weeks in a row, however. Both consisting of roasted tomatoes from the end of summer bounty we’re finding ourselves with, yet very different from one another in flavors. The following soup is very easily made vegan, simply subbing the butter for Earth Balance or even olive oil. It’s very hearty and the cashews offer a delicious creaminess. It’s quite simple, really. Roasting the tomatoes adds a depth of sweetness to this soup.

I made this soup relatively thick, but you can thin it to your liking with more broth. I actually used the leftovers we had as tomato “sauce” on homemade pizza tonight. In part because I ran out of marinara sauce… and in part because it was a great blend of creamy, acidy, tomato-ey, and basil-ey – just the way I like my homemade pizza sauce. It worked like magic. If you’ve got leftovers, you can also freeze them for future meals!

 

Roasted Tomato Cashew Basil Soup

Ingredients:

2 ½ lbs. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ½ lbs. other tomatoes (beefsteak, roma, etc.), cut in chunks
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water at least 3 hours
¼ cup unsalted butter (Earth Balance for a vegan version)
1 large onion, diced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ounce fresh basil, chopped
1 cup water or No-Chicken broth

 

Directions:


Roast your tomatoes:
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Place your tomatoes on two large baking sheets. Drizzle one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and one tablespoon of olive oil evenly over the tomatoes on each pan. Generously add salt and pepper.

Roast the tomatoes for 20-30 minutes, until they’re wrinkly and somewhat charred along the edges. Note – the tomatoes will get really juicy while roasting. About half way through the cooking time, I drained all these juices into a measuring cup, reserving the liquid and returning the tomatoes to the oven to finish roasting. That juice should definitely be saved for your final soup – it’s flavorful and delicious! Set the tomatoes aside until ready to use.

Prepare your soup: While the tomatoes are roasting, melt the ¼ cup of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until the onions are opaque. Remove from heat.

In a food processor fitted with the large chopping blade, or a high power blender, combine the roasted tomatoes, raw cashews (that have been soaked and drained), onions, garlic, and basil, blending until smooth. Add in the broth or water as needed, to thin the soup to your preferred thickness. Continue blending until completely smooth (5-8 minutes). Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking.

Pour the soup into a large pot and heat over medium-low heat until hot enough to serve enjoyably. Top with some pesto, a little drizzle of good olive oil, or nothing at all. Eat with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich, or not at all… This soup is very filling even by its lonesome.

Serves 8-12 as a main dish.

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

It’s officially fall. My favorite time of year. Temperatures are noticeably cooler in the early morning and evening. While the colors around here haven’t begun to change yet, I know it’s coming. Vibrant reds and oranges, yellows somewhere in there. I do this thing every year, come fall. I tell myself that I’ll make more soups. Because one-pot meals are so easy. Plus you can cook them all day, filling your home with warm, filling smells that draw everyone in. Plus in the fall and winter, how can you go wrong with a bowl of warmth, vegetables, spices, flavors that are both compelling and filling? You really can’t.

But I fail at following through with my soup endeavor. Every single year. Until this year. I even started early: the very first day of fall, which allowed me to use some of the goodness we grew this summer. We’ve got a number of fresh tomatoes of all colors, ripening faster than I want to eat them raw. So, there’s a good amount of roasted tomatoes in this soup that offer a brightness that’s reminiscent of summer, layered with earthy warm flavors of fall. If that sounds way too “hippie” for you, it’s all good. Make this soup anyway. You’ll be pleased.

I made this to feed our family plus my husband’s band mates who had been practicing for some upcoming shows (which are “current” and not “upcoming,” as I write this). I’ll be honest. I’ve never made such a huge pot of soup, only to be left with zero leftovers. I like to think that means this would be a recipe worth repeating. Hopefully you’ll find it that way as well.

 

 

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

4-5 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks (about 5 medium tomatoes)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
salt and pepper

1 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 cups sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and diced
3 cups red potatoes, diced (skins on or off)
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1- one inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1½ cups red and/or orange lentils
½ cup wild rice
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika
8-10 cups water or No-Chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Roast the tomatoes: Preheat your oven to 325°F. Place the chopped tomatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer, then drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the chopped oregano and marjoram, along with a generous amount of black pepper and salt. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the skins begin to blister and char. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the soup: Heat the one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and diced onion. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add in the diced potatoes, carrots, and ginger. Stir to evenly disperse everything. Add the lentils, rice, oregano, thyme, cumin, and paprika. Stir to evenly coat everything in the spices and herbs. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir in 8-10 cups of broth (or water). Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about one hour.

Puree the roasted tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add the pureed tomatoes and can of coconut milk to the pot. Stir well, to evenly combine everything. Cover again and cook for another 2-3 hours at least. Taste and add more salt or pepper to your liking.

You can cook the soup longer if you’d like. After adding the tomatoes and coconut milk, I actually cooked the soup for an additional 6 hours before serving.

Serve hot along with some sour cream or plain yogurt to top the soup off. This soup is also quite delicious with some homemade bread, or at least a tasty baguette of your liking!

Easy Raw Tomato Sauce

My quintessential summer mealtime would probably include no stoves or ovens being used. Or maybe being used very minimally. There would be lots of veggies straight out of the garden. Perhaps grilled fish or something along those lines. Grilled pizza? Oh yes. There would be ice-cold inebriants to sip on and cool, fruity, grown-up treats afterwards. The truth is my summer cooking rarely takes that form. Often I’ve got my oven on. Or I spend large amounts of time at the stove, contemplating whether it’s the burners or am I really experiencing hot flashes in my 20’s? And the adult cocktails? They’re an afterthought. Probably cold beer straight from the fridge, or good straight bourbon. You know, to make the stove-heat more bearable?

This time of year and all throughout summer, really, fresh tomatoes are everywhere. This sauce is very easy and super fresh. And it does that ideal thing: no stoves or ovens required. Plus it’s simple and quite versatile. You can this sauce to fresh pasta (my favorite: with more fresh garlic, red chili flakes, more basil and goat cheese).  You can add chopped onion, perhaps a little fresh chopped jalapeno or other pepper, and create a salsa. Put it on little pieces of crusty bread and call it bruschetta. You can even eat it plain, like a chopped tomato salad. Honestly, you can’t go very wrong here. No joke.

 

Easy Raw Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

4-5 large ripe tomatoes, most seeds removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
2-3 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
1-2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp. good quality olive oil
small pinch of cane sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper


Directions:

Dice the seeded tomatoes small, leaving the skins on if you want. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Add enough salt and pepper to your liking. Cover and allow the mixture to sit at least an hour or prepare in the morning and let it sit until dinner time.

Either mix the tomatoes with cooked pasta for an easy meal, or use in whatever way suits your fancy!

Most recently I used this sauce in eggplant parmesan, which does get baked, ultimately cooking the tomato sauce. But the taste was quite delicious and still very fresh.

Avocado Green Tomato Salsa

I love recipes that come from unplanned tweaking. Most of the time. For the last couple weeks, I’ve seen great, fresh tomatillos in the food co-op. When we planned a little dinner party for this week, I decided on black bean, corn, poblano empanadas.  To top them, a nice tomatillo avocado sauce sounded necessary. As it turned out, of course, the day I went to pick up these lovely green tomatillos, they were completely gone. What to do? Not what I did at first – walk around the grocery store flustered and befuddled about what to do when your main ingredient is nonexistent. Make a red salsa even though it doesn’t sound nearly as good as an option for your empanadas? No. Scan the store for some pre-made version? No. Scour your brain for what you can use as a replacement to still make a green sauce? Oh yes.

I noticed red tomatoes on the vine that were very ripe. Didn’t want to go there. Next, I noticed cherry tomatoes. Still, mostly ripe. Then I noticed one single pint of grape tomatoes under the cherry ‘maters. Nearly every single one was green or yellow-green. Perfect. Now, a green tomato looks kind of like a tomatillo, but they’re not the same thing. I wasn’t sure this sauce would work, but decided to risk the chance anyway.

While typically you leave the skins on tomatillos, I decided to peel my little grape tomatoes. I didn’t want tough, tart skin particles in the end results. The green tomatoes worked well and the sauce ended up creamy, green, delicious. I left mine a bit thick, almost to the consistency of guacamole, but you can thin it out with more lime juice if desired. I’d easily make this again as a side dish with chips, or as a sauce for fresh fish tacos. And my husband? He says it’s his new favorite sauce for everything.

Avocado Green Tomato Salsa

 Ingredients:
1 pint green grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 poblano pepper, roasted (easy in the oven or open flame) and peeled
3 avocadoes, peeled and seeded
½ a sweet onion
1 handful of fresh cilantro
juice from 2 limes
¼ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. ground coriander
salt and pepper to your liking
Directions:

First we want to peel the tomatoes. Use a paring knife and slice a shallow “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Bring a small pot of water to boiling. Dump the marked tomatoes into the boiling water for a minute, then fish out with a slotted spoon, plunging the tomatoes into cold water (this stops the cooking and also loosens the skin further). Peel the skin away from the cooled tomatoes.

Place the tomatoes in your high powered blender or food processor. Add the garlic, roasted poblano pepper, avocadoes, onion, cilantro. Blend until smooth, then add in the lime juice, cumin, and coriander. Blend again until smooth, then taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

The sauce/salsa will last in the refrigerator up to one week, covered with plastic wrap (air pressed out) or in a airtight jar.

Cheesy Skillet Lasagna with Vegetarian “Sausage”

I’m learning to enjoy grocery shopping more, although I am still fully capable of running into the store, getting exactly what I need in both lightning speed and robot fashion. I apologize to folks I know and still blatantly walk past in this manner; it’s not out of rudeness or little desire to stop and chat, but rather my goal to spend no more than 5 minutes in the grocery store.

Meal planning is not exactly (okay, not at all) my area of expertise. These two things go hand in hand. See, once upon a time I would plan meals for the week, which meant one long shopping trip getting everything I’d need for all these meals. Most people would probably aim to do that. I prefer the day to day wing-it method. Plus being able to make quick stops for what I need means I get my ingredients fresh and as needed, rather than letting them hang out in the fridge for a few days.

However, I’m discovering that my lack of planning leaves more days where I don’t know what I’ll be making for dinner even as it approaches. I made a loaf of sourdough bread the other night and had no idea what I would make to go with it. So I did what any normal person in this high tech age would do: I solicited the advice of my Facebook friends. While there were some fabulous ideas (tortilla soup, cheese soufflé, cioppino, chili, stew…) each of these things required a trip to the grocery store. Yikes. I raided the pantry and fridge instead and made a lazy girl lasagna.

While I am a full believer in the beauty of a homemade lasagna (seriously), it takes time. Time making various components that all add flavor, then the time it takes to layer everything, not to mention the time spent baking the damn thing. Sometimes I don’t want dinner to take a few hours to prepare. This skillet lasagna is perfect for that. It took the same amount of time to prepare that it took a 6 year old boy to read two books and do some math homework. Fully doable on a busy mid-week night. Or simply because it tastes good. :)

While this lasagna was made as a vegetarian meal, using vegan “sausage” (I prefer Field Roast’s vegan grain sausage), real Italian sausage (or whatever variety you prefer) is entirely okay as a carnivorous substitution. Simply make sure it’s cooked all the way through before adding your artichoke hearts and tomatoes to the sauce. Lasagna has never been more simple or delicious.

 

Vegetarian Skillet Lasagna

Ingredients:

10 lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces, cooked according to the package directions

1 tbsp. olive oil
½ a medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. sea salt
¾ tsp. ground black pepper
3 tsp. sun-dried tomato pesto
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1- 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 ½ oz. fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups grated mozzarella
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 apple sage Field Roast sausages, cut in half lengthwise then in ¼” thick pieces

Directions:

In a large oven-proof skillet (I used a 12-inch stainless steel pan), heat the oil over medium-high. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add in the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and pesto. Stir to combine everything well, cooking for 1-2 minutes.

Add in the Field Roast sausages, cooking for 5-6 minutes until the sausage is lightly browned. While the sausage is cooking, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Add in the artichoke hearts and canned tomatoes, stirring well. Gently fold in the spinach in. Add the noodles in a few at a time, stirring to coat each additional noodle with some of the sauce. Stir in ½ a cup of the grated mozzarella and the parmesan cheese. Evenly arrange the noodles in your pan, then top with the remaining mozzarella.

Place the pan in your preheated oven until the top layer of mozzarella is melted to your liking. Serve hot.