Sunday, February 1, 2015

Quick Harissa-Spiced Creamy Tomato Soup with Hummus Toasts for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was planning making a different soup this week but found myself sitting at the vet's office for several hours and never quite made it to the grocery store as planned to pick up needed ingredients. Improvising is always easier with a well-stocked pantry and spice rack and since I had a few boxes of Pomi chopped tomatoes, I decided on a quick blender tomato soup with my Vitamix blender. (Don't stop reading if you don't have a high-speed blender, this soup can easily be made on the stove top too.)

Spicy harissa paste was on my mind since I just used it in a salad dressing recipe (see the "Crazy Salad" below) so I decided to make my tomato soup Moroccan-inspired with the harissa, cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon, and to make it creamy but dairy-free with coconut milk. Creamy tomato soups are always better with something to dunk into them and since I had leftover olive bread on hand and homemade hummus in the fridge--hummus toasts seemed like the perfect accompaniment. A more exotic but equally delicious take on the classic tomato and grilled cheese. 

Quick Harissa-Spiced Creamy Tomato Soup 
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2 Bowls or about 4 cups)

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 scallions coarsely chopped or 1/2 sweet onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp harissa paste, or to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp round cinnamon
1 (28 oz) can or (750 g) box of chopped tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk
sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and add the scallions, garlic and ginger. Saute about 5 minutes until scallions have softened and begun to lightly brown (make sure not to burn them). Stir in tomato paste, harissa, smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon and cook another minute or two until spices are mixed in and releasing their fragrances. 
I used my Vitamix Blender to make the soup but you can easily make it in a pan on the store and blend with a regular blender or immersion blender. Below you will find the method for each.

Vitamix Blender Method:
Place tomatoes  in blender jar and scrape in the scallion-spice mix. Add the coconut milk and blend on high (or on soup setting if using a newer model) until soup is hot and you see steam around the blender top. In my older Vitamix it takes roughly 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and serve hot with hummus toasts. 

Stove-Top Method:
To the scallion and spice mix, add the tomatoes and their juices. Heat until just and a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender in the pan or a regular blender, puree until smooth. Return to pan and stir in coconut milk. Heat through, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with hummus toasts.  

Hummus Toasts: I brushed slices of olive bread and grilled them until crisp then spread them with homemade hummus. Mine had chickpeas, almond butter, lemon juice, cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne. You can use your hummus recipe or store-bought.

Notes/Results: Smooth and creamy, great warm and exotic flavors, and a slight burn at the back of the throat from the harissa. It's quick and easy to prepare too. Cooking the scallions, garlic, spices, etc. before adding them to the blender is an extra step but helps intensify the flavors. It paired perfectly with the hummus toasts and the briny bites of olive in the bread I used were a nice addition to the flavor mix. I will definitely make it again.    

Although it's "Souper Bowl Sunday" today--it is salads and a tasty sandwich that dominate in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week. Let's have a look.  

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes is here with Thai Mango Grain Salad. Pam says, "...I rarely deviate from my list.  One of the few exceptions is if a favorite fruit or veggie just happens to be on sale, as was the case last week.  Mangoes.  I will deviate from my list for some perfectly ripe, organic mangoes, which Earth Fare had on sale.  So, I brought these home, along with $5.00 rotisserie chicken and plotted what to make for dinner. ... This salad was basically created from what I already had in my pantry and fridge and my lovely mangoes.  It is bright and refreshing with the Thai flavors shining through."

Sue of Couscous & Consciousness brings Sicilian Artichoke & Broad Bean Salad with Saffron Dressing and says, "The fact that this "veggieccentric" meal (though I did sneak in some anchovies) is also a salad, that salad of any description just happens to be my favourite meal of any kind, that it offered a riot of colour on a grey and gloomy day, and that it delivered a sublime combination of flavours and textures (which is always the benchmark of a great dish for me), meant that this dish ticked every conceivable box for me."

Help me welcome a new face to Souper Sundays this week, Correen of Food Lovers Web, hailing from SW Washington and here with her "nice and spicyChimichurri Kale and Cabbage Salad. She says, "The combination of kale and cabbage make this an extra crunchy salad, even into day 3. A surprising whoa! are the tiny bits of red onions and raisins tossed into the mix. Undeniably spicy (~swoon), all the flavors in this salad enhance one another perfectly. Make it the night before so all the ingredients have a chance to meld. In this salad’s case, melding is a very good thing!" Welcome Correen!

I couldn't resist adding my adaptation of Diana Henry's "Crazy Salad" to the roundup this week. It would probably be easier to say what isn't in this salad as in addition to barley, spelt and chickpeas, there are plenty of greens and veggies, pomegranate seeds and blueberries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, a sweet and spicy harissa dressing and a little local cheese on top. It was crazy-good and a good pairing with the crazy-intense book I reviewed on the post.

And finally, one sandwich this week from Janet of The Taste Space. She shares this fun Jackfruit Vegan Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce and says, "The jackfruit had an excellent texture, similar to pulled pork and the flavours were bright and fresh. Because I didn’t have yogurt or sour cream on hand, I made my own version of tzatziki which complemented the pita well. I opted for a tofu base since I thought the meal needed an extra hit of protein. As leftovers, once I ran out of the pita, this was also excellent as a quinoa bowl, with the jackfruit and veggies piled high and a generous serving of the tzatziki overtop."

Thanks to everyone who 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 the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week! 



  1. great roundup, hope Max and you are okay!

  2. Oooo genius idea to mix harissa into tomato soup!! I've been putting it in EVERYTHING lately.

  3. Always looking for recipes to use up our lovely jars of garden tomatoes. Harissa is going to be something new to try - for me. Thanks for including my salad in this week's roundup. Met a lot of new people by visiting the other recipe cool!

  4. All kinds of good stuff at this round up!


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