Sunday, March 8, 2015

Creamy, Spicy Tomato Soup (Zuppa Di Pomodoro Piccante) with Ciabatta Croutons: A (Vegan) Soup 'Hug' for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Creamy tomato soup says comfort to me--especially on a cool and windy day. A gusty weekend put it in my mind to the point I was desperately craving a bowl. I had been wanting to try the Zuppa di Pomodoro Piccante or Spicy Tomato Soup from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli. Its spice is from crushed red pepper and its creaminess comes via coconut milk. With a kiss of brown sugar, it manages to be sweet as well. It is pretty much a big warm hug in a bowl.

Spicy Tomato Soup (Zuppa Di Pomodoro Piccante)
Adapted from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli
(Serves 6)

For the Soup:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted whole tomatoes 
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup canned coconut milk (+ extra for drizzling)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
chopped fresh basil for garnish

Rustic Croutons:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups (1-inch) breadcrumbs (I used ciabatta bread
(I added 1 tsp Italian seasoning)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the Soup: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Saute onions until soft. Add the garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper, and cook for 1 minute more, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. (Note: I let my soup simmer for about 6-7 minutes before blending--just to make sure the onions were completely soft and the flavors melded.) Return to the pot, stir in the coconut milk and brown sugar and heat through. Season to taste as needed. 

For the Croutons: Heat oil in a large skillet and saute bread cubes until lightly toasted on all sides, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper while cooking.

To Serve: Place soup into bowls and top with a drizzle of coconut milk, basil and a small pile of croutons.

Chloe's Make Ahead Tip: This soup can be frozen for up to 1 month or refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat and top with coconut drizzle and croutons before serving."

Notes/Results: I fell a bit in love with this soup. It is tomato soup perfection--especially when you toss a heap of homemade croutons and fresh basil on the top. Ultra creamy, sweet and a slow heat at the finish--vegan, but your carnivorous friends and family won't notice or care as they are slurping it up. I generally cut added sugar from recipes entirely or reduce it when possible, and I was worried that the two tablespoons of brown sugar called for would make the soup too sweet--especially with the coconut milk--but I trusted and used the full amount. Rather than making the soup too sweet, it made the canned tomatoes taste like fresh tomatoes and balanced out the flavors. So good! Homemade croutons are the only kind I like to eat and I have been cooking them on the stove top since making Ina Garten's Panzanella--they get so crisp and good that way. I added a touch of Italian seasoning to mine, along with a little salt and pepper while they were cooking and loved the flavor. 

I like serving this in my Anthropologie Latte Bowl because once you scoop up all of the croutons, you can just drink the soup out of the bowl. ;-) Quick and easy to make and perfect for a busy weeknight or fancy enough to entertain with, I will happily make this soup again. 

Let's take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen to see who is here and what fabulous dishes they brought with them. 

Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe made this lovely Tomato and Kale Soup with Pistachios and says, "Soups are indeed an excellent opportunities to use up leftovers. I threw in some leftover pasta sauce and some cherry tomatoes that Sylvia had chosen in the supermarket and rejected at home. I also added some pumpkin just because I worried the soup would be too thin. I loved this soup. It tasted of healthy vegetables and yet full of flavour too. The pistachios added great texture. It was just the sort of dish I wanted to come home to that night after swimming lessons. Or any day of the week!"

Janet of The Taste Space shares this flavorful Orange Red Lentil Soup with Coriander and Star Anise and says, "One can never have too many soup recipes, especially during the heart of this very cold winter. However, this isn’t your standard red lentil soup. Have I ever shared a standard recipe? Probably not. The red lentils are infused with coriander and star anise, spiked with orange juice and a touch of fresh ginger gives you a bit of a bite. ...  Flavours that seemed a tad unusual but worked very well."

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes is here with a refreshing Corn, Avocado and Black Bean Salad and says, "The recipes that I am always the most pleased with are always the easiest, with the fewest ingredients. This is the kind of cooking that I want to do. The kind that almost doesn’t need a recipe (but then what would I do!). Like the above salad. Oh, there is a recipe, it is Corn and Black Bean Salad from Martha Stewart, which I changed up a bit. But it really doesn’t need one does it. I mean it’s corn, black beans and avocado, tossed with a simple dressing of cilantro, lime juice and a chile pepper. But it’s so good. It doesn’t need any more than that. This is what I want to eat."

Thanks to Johanna, Janet, and Pam for joining 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!    


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