Sunday, September 8, 2013

Creamy Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper, Farro & Artichoke Soup: Cleaning Out the Pantry for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This Creamy Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper, Farro & Artichoke Soup is more of a stew really--thick and creamy, made hearty with chewy farro and made interesting with fresh herbs and bites of artichoke hearts. It gets a bit of heat from red pepper flakes and a subtle crunch from the toasted pine nut topping. It also cleans out the pantry and utilizes a few of the pots of herbs on my lanai.

My neighbor gave me a container of creamy tomato-basil soup that she had purchased in a two-pack from Costco. It was good, but, as I ate it I thought as I often do when trying a restaurant or store-bought soup, that I could make a better and healthier version. Since I have made plenty of tomato-basil soups before, I wanted to change this one up and headed for the pantry to see how I could make it more interesting. I used the "bones" of my vegan Tomato Basil Bisque, recipe inspired by Nordstrom Cafe, and a jar of roasted red peppers, a can of artichoke hearts and a bag quick-cook farro took it from a basic bisque-style soup to a rich and chunky bowl of goodness.

Creamy Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper, Farro & Artichoke Soup
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes About 6 Servings)

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large carrots, chopped
about 1/2 large onion, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup roasted red peppers (jarred or home roasted), chopped
2 (28 oz) cans or boxes whole tomatoes with liquid
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped plus more to garnish
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped 
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts (canned or frozen)
1 1/2 cups cooked farro or other grain of choice
1 pint non-dairy (soy or coconut milk) creamer
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

toasted pine nuts or fresh croutons to garnish (optional)

Heat olive oil over in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and add carrots and onion.  Cook about 10 to 15 minutes or until carrots and onions are somewhat soft. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook another 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add the jarred red peppers, tomatoes, veggie stock, oregano, basil and rosemary and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree soup with immersion blender (or in batches in upright blender), until mostly smooth but with some tomato, carrot and pepper chunks remaining. Return to saucepan and stir in chopped artichoke hearts and cooked farro and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Add non-dairy creamer and warm through over low.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Thin if needed with additional stock or water. Serve in bowls with fresh basil and pine nuts scattered on top. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: This is a tasty and hearty soup--comfort food in a bowl. The tomato and roasted pepper flavor is there and the taste of the herbs comes through. The slightly tangy pieces of artichoke hearts contrast against the sweet creaminess of the rest of the soup. Texturally, the farro both thickens and makes it "toothsome" and using a non-dairy creamer makes it rich and decadent without the fat and cholesterol of cream. The pine nut topping came to me as I was contemplating making croutons and saw a small bag of leftover toasted pine nuts from Ottolenghi's Baby Kale with Sumac, Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese. They aren't necessary but I liked their buttery crunch. This soup continues to thicken as it sits and absorbs the broth. I like it super thick, but you could always thin it out with water or more veggie broth. I'm in serious like of this soup and would definitely make it again. 

Let's check out the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here.

Janet of The Taste Space is back with Moosewood's Caribbean Stew and says, "A delicious medley of sweet potato, red bell pepper, tomato, cabbage and kale in a flavourful (not too) spicy broth made with ginger and green chiles. The dash of nutmeg and lime finish kept this special. ... Tons of veggies with a delicious broth. A bit lacking in the protein department, I served it with the suggested brown rice. I bet you could easily sneak in some beans or tofu in there, too."

Ana of Sweet Almond Tree made this hearty dairy-free Broccoli, Mushroom and Potato Soup and says, "Creamy but without the addition of cream, this healthful soup is made with a base of potatoes.  Buttery tasting Yukon gold, my favorite. Mushrooms add a woodsy, earthy flavor, and the broccoli contributes green notes.  Some broth, some herbs, a little grated cheese, and in about half an hour soup's on! A delicious soup, a "make you happy" kind of soup."   

Tigerfish of Teczcape-An Escape to Food brings a Shungiku (Edible Chrysanthemum) Salad and says, "The Edible Chrysanthemum from the Japanese supermarket is quite different - leaves are bright green and fresh-looking while stems are long, slender and much more tender; compared to those from the Chinese supermarket - where the leaves sometimes have wilted, appears dull green and the stems much more fibrous. Not only is Shungiku suitable in soups/hotpots, there are definitely good for salads!

Judee from Gluten Free A-Z Blog shares this Lunch in a Jar Salad and says, "Glass mason jars keep the food really fresh, and since I choose to pack 5 lunches on Sunday night, I really need each lunch to stay fresh. The  jars don't take up much room in the refrigerator, and  I love being able to see all the layered ingredients at a glance. No matter how busy I get each day, my lunch is planned, it's healthy and ITS READY!"

Finally one sandwich entry from Graziana of Erbe in Cucina, fresh and lovely Mint Pesto Bruschetta. She says, "With a bunch of spearmint and horsemint leaves, basil and chives I prepared a refreshing summer pesto. I spread this pesto on bread slices, adding some tomatoes from my rooftop.

Thanks to everyone that joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.

Foodie Book Giveaway--Last Days to Enter!: If you are into fun foodie books, I am giving away a copy of "Hungry: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me About Life, Love, and the Power of Good Food" by Darlene Barnes. You can read my review, see a recipe inspired by the book, and enter to win by leaving a comment by 11:59 PM on Monday 9/9 for a chance to win a copy of your own (you are eligible if you are in the U.S. or Canada) here.

Have a happy, healthy week! 


  1. Pantry meals are definitely great when coming back form vacation... or well, any time I don't want to go grocery shopping. Looks great. I will have to keep it bookmarked.

  2. I love your dressed up soup!! I always do that when eating out my opinion if a restaurant can't make something better than I can, it's not worth me spending my money there!

  3. Soups, salads, sandwiches are all here this week and I'm enjoying it. Thanks for the round up.

  4. Pam Armstrong GreerSeptember 9, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    I like the artichoke hearts in this! I would have never thought of that!

  5. This looks so delicious, especially now that it's getting a little cooler out!

  6. My husbang is going to love this as he loves toasted pinenuts and stews, both! The way you presented the soup is making me crave for this now! :)


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