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Roasted Tomato Soup

13 Sep

This is my favorite time of year – end of summer beginning of fall: tomato season.

You say tomato, I say tomato soup. In a bittersweet twist, gone are the days when I dip a grilled cheese sandwich in a steaming bowl of this sweet and tangy goodness. Gone. Way gone. So gone.

Thanks a lot, dairy-induced-chin-breakouts.

These days, my skin seems to prefer a chunkier version of the broth-y classic. I like to load up on various toppings, mix them in and enjoy a hearty bowl of soup. This roasted version is just that – small chunks of roasted veggies – topped with MORE roasted tomatoes, goat cheese (troublesome skin friendly cheese option), scallions, nutritional yeast (remember that), and a spoonful of sirachup. You heard me, sriarcha + ketchup = srirachup. A spoonful to finish off this soup is just the right amount of spice to kick things up a bit.

My good friends at Sosu ketchup knew exactly what they were doing (magic) when they came up with the winning combination. They were also the very generous souls who gave me the tomatoes that I used to make this soup. Picked them up fresh from their kitchen – urban farming!

You can find their all-natural artisan ketchups here:  or very soon at a farmers market near me (San Francisco).

Why you should eat this? 

Tomatoes, guys: they’re like really good for you. Such a pretty fruit.

Loaded with so many good things – let us (and my limited attention span) focus on just one. Antioxidants. Vitamin C, E, and beta- carotene. Antioxidant super stars.

Why are antioxidants so important? Let’s get science-y.

Oxidation from our everyday environments can produce free radicals. The free radicals (bad guys) can cause chain reactions in your cells that will harm or kill them. Antioxidants (good guys) step in by terminating the chain reactions and helping to prevent damage to your cells. This is a very basic explanation, but just know that tomatoes are not the ‘fountain of youth’ – maybe like a ‘slow leak to a more youthful you’.

Eat tomatoes, guys. Right now while they are at their taste/nutrition peak!

Roasted Tomato Soup (Servings: 4)

  • 5-8 tomatoes (medium sized), cored if the seeds are large- otherwise OK, quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable stock or water
  • Srirachup to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or if you’d like – rub pans down with olive oil.

Arrange the tomatoes, skin side down, on a baking sheet.

Coat the bell pepper and onions with olive oil and put them on the other baking sheet along with the garlic (UNPEELED), place the pepper skin side down as well.

Give both baking sheets a sprinkle of salt.

Bake until onions get a bit of brown (you can turn them if you feel like they are getting too brown)….

and the tomatoes start to collapse a bit, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Be careful to check on the garlic here, if they are getting brown and a super soft by now, pull them from the oven.

Peel the garlic, dump all of the roasted vegetables (set aside some of the tomatoes to top the soup with. Do it! They are like candy at this point) into a big pot, and puree with a hand blender.

You can also use a conventional blender or food processor and work in batches. Blend in a cup of the stock, and keep adding the rest 1/2 cup at a time until the soup is the desired consistency.I like a chunk and texture to this soup, but smooth or chunky is your call. If the soup is not in a pot, add to a big pot and heat it back to a boil.

Serve in big bowls. Add the nutritional yeast (if you like) and  srirachup or your favorite hot sauce – adjusting it to your taste.

Top with goat cheese, reserved roasted tomatoes, and scallions. Maybe a big green salad on the side.

Slurp away.

Trust me, so good.



Tortilla Soup

11 Mar

My name is Nichole and I am a tortilla-soup-aholic.

I love it. If it is on the menu at a restaurant, any restaurant, I will order it. I make this quick and easy soup pretty regular these days. Something about the spicy after burn from the cayenne, the crunchy tortilla strips, the avocado, the cheese…. so good. And really, so easy to make. A few basic ingredients and your ready to go.

Tortilla soup is one of those brilliant soups where it is all about the stuff you throw on top of the soup right before eating. That’s where this recipe picks up. It is a recipe for the most basic tortilla soup. Basic, but still outstanding.

This is a vegetarian version, then I empower you to get creative with your toppings.

Let’s get real though, tortilla soup is not like pizza. You can’t really throw everything on it and expect great results. I won’t get behind you if you try this out and throw bleu cheese on top. Don’t do that.

Suggested toppings:

  • Grilled Shrimp
  • Roasted Chicken (yea, yea, yea, go ahead and get the hot and ready made rotisserie ones)
  • Strips of steak
  • Shredded pork
  • Black beans
  • Avocado (almost mandatory)
  • Cilantro (Do it)
  • Tortilla strips (I’ll include a how-to below)  or crushed tortilla chips, fine.
  • Cheese ( I like goat cheese, you can use cheddar, which is traditional)
  • Roasted Tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, fresh diced tomatoes
  • Squeeze of lime (please)
If you happen to use ALL of these toppings, please send me a picture. Please. That would be something to see, for sure.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (Servings: 6)

  • 6-8 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into matchstick-thin strips
  • olive oil
  • fine grain sea salt
  •  more olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Avocado, diced
  • cheese, crumbled
  • squeeze of fresh lime

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Slice the tortillas into matchsticks.

Toss the strips in some olive oil. Salt and Pepper. Lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Try to get them to as close to a single layer as possible. This will help to ensure even browning.

Place in the oven, in the center rack for about 10 minutes or until they look evenly brown.

Like this. SO easy. Set aside. Don’t eat all of them before your soup is done… you’ll be tempted. Trust me.

Heat olive oil in a 8 qt. soup pot. Add your sliced onions, let them get soft and a bit brown.

Brown on onions= magical-flavor-maker.

Like this. Add garlic and give a good stir. BTW that is steam, not blurry photography. I like the steam in the picture, dramatic, right?

After 2 minutes or so, add the cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Let the spices get nice and toasty.

After about 2 more minutes, add the tomatoes. Let this cook for about 5 minutes, it will thicken up a bit.

Give a big stir and let the flavors come together.

Remove from heat, add one cup of the broth and ***puree with a hand blender or puree in a traditional blender. Add the remaining 5 cups of broth and puree until smooth. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.

*** If you want a chunkier soup, you can skip the puree part. Sometimes, I do this and it still has really good flavor.

Serve the individual bowls topped with plenty of diced avocado, tortilla strips, a squeeze of lime, and cheese. Alternately, as I mention up above, you can finish with any of the toppings that your heart may desire.

Also, if you like a creamier soup base add a splash of half and half, heavy cream, or stir in some goat cheese.

Boom. Tortilla soup.

Share the health and enjoy.



Italian Wedding Soup

1 Feb

I made this quick soup today and tried REALLY hard to take enough pictures to warrant a proper blog post. So here it is. I should mention that I cook for about 30 people each day. It gets pretty hairy in my kitchen. My camera or phone are in grave danger if left out. By taking these photos while I am working, I consider it a big gamble.

Will this justify how crummy the photos might look? It better.

Anyhow, the soup, if you are at the point in the winter season where maybe you are tired of the traditional chicken noodle faire, then look no further. This one will give you many of the same flavor profiles as Chicken noodle,the same kind of hearty comfort, but the different textures just might give you the variety you need.

As for the name, it really has nothing to do with a wedding. Thank goodness. Clever Italian Americans named it such in honor of the marriage of the ingredients. Greens and meat living in harmony.

Seeing as how this is my interpretation of the soup, I will also take the liberty to give it a name that I am proud of.

Here goes it.

Italian Wedding Single Girl Soup

(6 servings)


  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey (I like a mix of 75% Breast and 25% Thigh)
  • 2 Eggs
  • ⅓ c. Bread Crumbs
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 8 c. Chicken Broth
  • 3 c. Baby Spinach
  • 1 Onion , diced
  • 3 Celery Stalks , diced
  • 3 Med. Sized Carrots , diced
  • 1 lb. Orzo
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all of the meatball ingredients together. Do me a favor here and use your hands.

Portion out each meatball into about tablespoon sized balls. They should be small enough that when you eat the soup, they spoon nicely into your mouth along with some broth and veggies.

This is crucial. Don’t mess it up.

Pop them into the oven for 15 minutes.

While the meatballs bake, dice your veggies. Add them to a pot (I like enameled cast iron or stainless steel) with some really good olive oil.

Let them get nice and brown. Add some salt here. Be generous. This will help develop THE FLAVOR. So good!

Add the spinach and stir to get it to wilt.

Don’t forget your meatballs!!

They should be done by now. Take out of the oven and set aside.

Pretty, right?

Add the broth to pot. Give it a good stir and add the meatballs and orzo.

Let the soup simmer for about 7-10 minutes. We are trying to get more flavor to develop here and cooking the orzo all at once. The fats from the meatballs will release into the soup, making it delicious. The starch from the pasta will thicken it.

This is where the magic happens.

Must have been what the folks had in mind when they thought of calling it a marriage soup. Thats a cute idea, but I like my new soup title better.

Finish with a heavy hand of fresh black pepper.

Feed your cat, pour a big glass of wine, and throw in Eat, Pray, Love.