Tomato and Basil Soup

tomatoandbasilsoupThere is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup on a cold, wet day. I never used to like canned tomato soup so I was a little apprehensive when I thought about making my own soup. I’m pleased to say that I am really glad I did. It is just delicious and again so easy to make. Especially if, yes you’ve guessed it, you have a slow cooker.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. In fact, as I have mentioned before, they are king of the fruit tree. Yes and for those of you that don’t know, they are a fruit. As I have also mentioned before, tomatoes pack a punch when it comes to nutrition. Cooking them means none of their nutritional value is lost. In fact more nutrients are gained when cooking them. They are loaded with the beneficial lycopene a red-hued nutrient that gives the soup its colour.

Lycopene offers powerful antioxidant protection which means it seeks out and neutralizes reactive oxygen species, a type of molecule linked to the aging process. A diet rich in lycopene fights chronic diseases, including strokes and heart disease.

Obviously, basil is a key ingredient in this recipe. Basil has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. The leaves hold many chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. They contain several health benefiting oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial properties. Basil is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like potassium and manganese, copper and magnesium. Basil also has lots of vitamins in it as well.

Another ingredient I would like to mention is chicken broth. Broth is a new favourite of mine. As I have discovered it helps to seal and heal your gut and it also promotes healthy digestion. Chicken broth attracts and holds liquids including digestive juices thereby supporting proper digestion. It can help to reduce joint pain and inflammation courtsey of certain compounds extracted from boiling down the cartilage. Therefore it can also help to promote strong, healthy bones. Broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that play an important role in health bone formation. Thanks to the gelatin in the broth, it promotes healthy hair and nail growth.

The final ingredient in this dish I want to mention is cannellini beans. These are a goldmine of antioxidants that can help to protect your skin and the rest of your body from free radicals, destructive atoms that invade and damage cells. These beans can prevent degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, arthersclersis, immune system problems, alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, certain types of cancer, diabetes and even dementia. Apart from fighting and preventing disease, the free radical properties of cannellini beans can help to keep your skin supple and youthful.

So this is a super healthy version of tomato soup that will give you all the nutrition you need as well as being great for your body. This recipe is really easy to make and we love eating it on a rainy Saturday afternoon or whenever the mood takes you.

Serves 4

Cooking in the slow cooker

Equipment needed

  • Slow cooker
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Tin opener
  • Food processor
  • Jug
  • Ladle
  • Colander

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes x 1 kg or Tinned tomatoes x 2 400g
  • Cannellini beans x 1 400g tin
  • Chicken stock x 500mls
  • Onions x 1
  • Garlic x 1
  • Celery x 2 sticks
  • Carrot x 1 large
  • Basil x 2 large handfuls
  • Spinach x 1 large bag
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Start by chopping the tomatoes if using fresh, the onions, garlic, celery and carrot.
  • Add to the slow cooker along with the cannellini bean (which have been drained in the colander) and chicken stock.
  • Cook for four hours on low or two hours on high.
  • When the time you have chosen has finished turn the cooker off and leave to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • I find taking the lid off helps it to cool quicker.
  • Next place all the ingredients into the processor using the ladle and blend.
  • You may need to do this in two parts, we don’t want to spill any.
  • Once you have done the first half of the blending put the mixture into the jug and add the second half from the slow cooker and blend.
  • While the second half is whizzing round add the mixture from the jug back into the slow cooker.
  • As the second half of the soup is blending I add the basil and the spinach in.
  • Once you are statisfied with the consistency add the rest of the mixture back to the slow cooker.
  • Leave on a low heat for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

On the hob

Serves 4

Cooking on the hob

Equipment needed

  • Large saucepan
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Tin opener
  • Food processor
  • Jug
  • Ladle
  • Colander
  • Tablespoon

Ingredients

  • Please see slow cooker recipe for all the ingredients
  • Coconut oil x 1 tbsp

Method

  • Start by chopping the tomatoes if using fresh into quarters and then dice the onions, garlic, celery and carrot into small pieces.
  • Heat the large saucepan with the coconut oil.
  • Then fry the onion, garlic, celery and carrots until soft. For about 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Add the cannellini beans which have been drained in the colander, chicken stock and tomatoes.
  • Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Next place all the ingredients into the processor using the ladle and blend.
  • You may need to do this in two parts, we don’t want to spill any.
  • Once you have done the first half of the blending put the mixture into the jug and add the second half from the saucepan and blend.
  • While the second half is whizzing round add the mixture from the jug back into the saucepan.
  • As the second half of the soup is blending I add the basil and the spinach in.
  • Once you are statisfied with the consistency add the rest of the mixture back to the saucepan.
  • Leave on a low heat for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

We normally serve these with flatbreads or chickpea flour wraps. They compliment the dish really well and I can honestly say not a drop nor scrap of this meal is left. If you do decide to make this as always enjoy!