Paleo Tomato Basil Soup with Eggplant Croutons2013-01-24
- Course: Side Dish, Snack, Soup
- Recipe Type: Comfort Food, Easy Entertaining, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Paleo, Vegetarian
- Ingredients: Basil, Garlic Cloves, Olive Oil, Tomato, Yellow Onion
The beauty of this soup is truly in its simplicity, and that it takes so few ingredients. It is also a recipe in which you can use fresh ingredients if you have them, but canned tomatoes and dried herbs will also work just as well! I have four herbs “growing” on my porch that do not get enough sun to thrive. Therefore, I either use dried, or make a special point of buying a small bundle of fresh organic herbs. You could use fresh tomatoes, but I think the canned have a richness in flavor that gives depth and heartiness to the dish. Save the fresh tomatoes for a gazpacho.
I accidentally grabbed a can of tomatoes from my pantry that already had basil with it. When I poured them into the pan, I assumed that somehow leaves from the tomato plant had gotten into the can. Silly me. When I looked at the can, I was happily surprised that Cento made whole tomatoes with basil. The flavor was beautiful. I also added the fresh basil, and I’m glad that I did. Even though the flavor of basil was already infused in the tomatoes, having fresh basil brightens the flavors and a nice contrast to the warm soup. If you can’t find Cento tomatoes with basil, you can absolutely use a plain 28 ounce box or can of tomatoes from any brand. The fresh or dried basil you use will add enough flavor. San Marzano is the type of tomato that Barefoot Contessa from Food Network highly recommends and luckily they are readily available.
One of my favorite parts of this dish is the eggplant croutons! The original recipe included making homemade croutons with pita bread. I had an eggplant in the fridge that I had been meaning to use, and then the idea hit me that I could cut it into cubes and roasts them like chunks of bread! I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much, but I was extremely pleased with these yummy little eggplant bites. With the leftovers, I served them on top of my Paleo Stuffed Pepper Soup!
I kept the skin on the eggplant, but you may absolutely remove the skin if you don’t like the texture. If you have an eggplant with small seeds you may leave them, but large seeds are extremely bitter and will take away from the roasted eggplant flavor.
- 4 tbs organic olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 (28 oz) canned whole tomatoes (I used Cento Brand with Basil)
- 1 large yellow onion (or 2 small onions), diced
- 1 cup organic low sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, or 2 tbs dried basil
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 medium eggplant, cubed, seeds removed
- seasoning for eggplant: sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, to taste
- 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- 2. Cube eggplant, removing areas with large seeds
- 3. Place in large plastic bag, add 2 tbs olive oil, seal and shake to cover eggplant evenly
- 4. Pour onto an aluminum foil lined roasting pan, season with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder
- 5. Bake eggplant for 33-35 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point
- 6. Let eggplant get to room temperature
- 7. Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium/med-high heat
- 8. Add onion and saute until translucent (5-10 minutes)
- 9. Add garlic and stir until well-incorporated
- 10. Pour vegetable broth and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon
- 11. Bring up to a simmer, then turn heat down to medium-low/low
- 12. Stack basil leaves and tightly roll stack into a little tube, slice with knife or use scissors to snip basil across the roll to create thin strips
- 13. Stir strips of basil into soup and remove soup from heat
- 14. Season with black pepper, garnish with basil leaves and a few spoonfuls of eggplant croutons
- 15. Enjoy!