In my never ending quest to get my son to eat healthier food, I watch closely to see what he chooses to eat when we are out and then try to create the healthiest version of the same food back at home. This is not particularly easy because my son is not very diverse in his food choices when we are in a restaurant. He usually defaults to his two favorites – pizza or macaroni and cheese. And if you read my posts regularly, you already know that I have a great cheese sauce recipe (secretly made out of vegetables), that I use to make a delicious macaroni and cheese that is a huge success with my son. And if you stay tuned, I will share with you how I make sprouted grain bread that is ideal for making mini flatbread pizzas.
But back to the inspiration for this recipe. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see my son order tomato soup when we were having lunch with friends at ‘wichcraft. And he really enjoyed it and ordered it again the next time we were at the same restaurant. So I knew right then and there what I had to do. I needed to come up with a super healthy version of tomato soup that my son would eat at home. And since my son is a vegetarian, I wanted to find a way to add a vegetarian source of protein to the soup as well. And of course, it had to be simple and easy to prepare. Something I could quickly put together on a busy weeknight. That might seem like a lot for one bowl of tomato soup, but I had a few ideas so I began experimenting and needless to say my son has been taste testing quite a bit of tomato soup over the past several weeks. In the end, I came up with this recipe which satisfies my son’s taste while also meeting my nutritional requirements.
What I really love about this recipe is that the creaminess of the tomato soup comes from cannellini beans. In addition to giving this soup the taste and texture of cream without adding any dairy, cannellini beans (also called “white kidney beans”), add a significant amount of protein and fiber making the soup very satisfying and filling. In fact, cannellini beans are one of the least glycemic beans, which means they do not have a large impact on blood sugar, metabolize slowly and provide steady energy for hours after eating. This makes cannellini beans a great food for anyone trying to lose weight. Cannellini beans are also high in antioxidants that protect your body from free radicals and rich in folate (a B vitamin). Folate helps lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that acts as a toxin in the bloodstream. This is important because elevated levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream is a risk factor for stroke and heart attack.
I’ll finish up with just a few health highlights of tomatoes. Tomatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals essential for overall good health. They are rich in vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium and a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. And cooked tomatoes provide more lycopene than fresh tomatoes because cooking breaks down the cell walls of the tomato making it easier to absorb the lycopene. Lycopene is well known to help prevent many forms of cancer and may help in the prevention and treatment of other diseases and illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, aging of the skin and osteoporosis.
I hope you give this simple soup a try and you like it as much as my son does. It goes great with grilled cheese. Enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 cups of onions, chopped (about 2 medium onions)
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 can of white cannellini beans (I use Eden organic with the BPA-free liner)
- 2 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes (I use Eden organic with the BPA-free liner)
- ¼ cup of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of pink himalayan sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stainless steel or cast iron pot.
- Add onions and let cook for 5 minutes.
- Add shallot and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add broth, beans, tomatoes and basil and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow soup to cool slightly.
- Add contents to a blender and blend until smooth. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in batches.
- Return soup to the stove over low heat and add salt, pepper and thyme.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes until heated through.
- Serve and enjoy!