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Classic Tomato Soup Combination – Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a classic American combination. My version of tomato soup is Vegan and so delicious with spices and herbs, but next time pair it with cheese quesadillas instead as a twist to the classic grilled cheese.
I had a HATE relationship with tomato soup for many years. When I was a child, I used to attend a summer day camp. I have many pleasant memories of the summers I spent at St. Gabriel’s, but lunch was not one of them. To keep the costs of summer camp reasonable, St. Gabe’s took advantage of many free services that New York City offered at that time. One of these was free lunches to children during the summer. I think the city still provides this.
During the regular school year, I would bring lunch to school from home. My mom figured if I was getting a free lunch, that’s great – less work for her right? At St. Gabe’s, they would take us to a public school a few blocks away. We would all have to walk single file the few blocks to the cafeteria. Those poor teachers – I don’t know how they managed to keep us safe on that daily walk.
Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches is a classic American children’s meal. However, when I tasted that tomato soup, I hated it. When I reflect on it now, I think all they did was dump a can of tomato sauce in a pot, thin it out with a little water and add some salt. It was very bland and acidic.On the days when they served that horrible soup, I would have to double up on fruit and yogurt to keep me full until dinner. At the age of 8, I swore off tomato soup and it did not cross my lips for many years.
Just a few years ago, I was visiting a friend and she had made some tomato soup and I really had no interest in trying it, but she persuaded me and I really liked it. I realized my error in avoiding tomato soup for so many years. It was not that I did not like tomato soup. I just did not like flavorless, bland soup. And who’s bright idea was it anyway to feed kids hot tomato soup in the middle of summer after swimming?
Here’s my version of this classic American combination that I actually NEVER ate as a child.
Cream is often added to tomato soup, but my version is vegan without cream. If you would like to keep the whole meal vegan, use soy cheese in the quesadilla.
In my part of the world, most of the tomatoes in the supermarkets at this time of year are hothouse tomatoes, chemically ripened. For this reason, they don’t have that much flavor and the natural sweetness of tomatoes is virtually non existent. At this time of year, canned tomatoes are a better alternative as they are picked at the peak of ripeness. For this recipe I used Hunt’s whole tomatoes to infuse the best possible tomato flavor in this soup.
IN THE MAKING – HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC TOMATO SOUP
Classic Tomato Soup Combination
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 onions chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 3 small carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes.
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- Heat oil. Add garlic, onions, celery and carrots. Saute for a few minutes until softened.
- Add tomatoes, 2 cups water, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, puree.
- Add parsley, salt and sugar. Cook on low heat for another 5 minutes.