Last week I went out to lunch at a quirky fun bistro and was excited to see “Garden Fresh Tomato Soup” on the menu. Tomatoes in NW Indiana and Chicagoland (shameless voting reminder) have been so good this season that I was thrilled to try the seasonal soup.
The friend I was with inquired if it was vegetarian. After our waitress rolled her eyes (seriously she rolled her eyes), she replied that what else would tomato soup be but vegetarian. So my highly inquisitive friend inquired if the soup base was water or broth. (She wasn’t being snooty she was just curious.) Our waitress blurted it’s made with chicken broth!!! (The scandal!!!)
My friend and I looked at each other and had to laugh out loud. (It was a gentle laugh not an obnoxious guffaw). I then had to say it wasn’t vegetarian then was it. (Now, that was a bit snooty maybe even snarky. I’m not in denial.) Our waitress continued determinedly saying that it was vegetarian because there wasn’t any meat in it.
Sigh. Sometimes it is just better to know you are right than trying to prove it. It is also better not to argue with the person who is bringing your food, at least not until after the meal. (I am not saying servers do things to your food so restaurant servers please refrain from sending me hate mail.)
It did make me think about vegetarians. I felt kind of bad for them. It must be hard to dine out if you are never given the full picture.
There are plenty of reasons people become vegetarians such as objections to killing animals, fear of chemicals & hormones and mad cow. Now, I’ve never had a cow get mad at me before but I could understand why some people would be scared of pissing off a cow. (Is that bovinephobia?)
Anyhow, it did open up my heart and give me the challenge of making a vegetarian tomato soup. I even went so far as to make sure all of my ingredients were local (really local from Chris and Brenda’s house down the street) and organic. (Okay the chemist in me has to say isn’t all food organic since it is derived from living organisms which is the true definition of the word? Please no hate mail from organic advocates or chemists who feel I should have my B.S. revoked.)
- 2 cups EACH chopped carrots and celery
- 2 cups onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 10 cups tomatoes, chopped (no need to skin or seed it because you are going to eventually strain the whole batch of soup)
- 2 cups chicken (just kidding) vegetable broth
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Hot sauce
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped
- In a large soup pot (5-quartish), heat up about 2 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add carrots, celery and onion. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until veggies become tender.
- Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and broth and simmer covered for about an hour.
- Cool for at least 15-20 minutes before blending with either an immersion blender (easiest choice) or by blending batches in the blender.
- Strain into a clean pot and taste for seasoning. (If it is too acidic for your taste, add a little sugar or shred some carrots in to help adjust)
- Add some fresh basil for garnish.
So Vegetarians, this one is for you! Would this be considered Vegan too? I don’t want to get my terminology wrong because the only thing worse than a mad cow is an angry Vegan!
A note to Carnivores: Add some heavy cream at the end and garnish with bacon! : )