Here in Portland, we are just on the edge of Autumn. The days flip from scorching hot to wet and chill, as if Mother Nature cannot quite make up her mind. We can have beautiful, sunny days clear into November, or one rainy day after another after another for weeks on end. Evenings are more predictable though – darker and chillier as the east wind runs up the Columbia and reminds us, no matter how warm the days might seem, things are about to change. And as naturally as the seasons change, my cooking turns from cool and light to rich and hearty as my table begins to fill with food that warms from the inside out. It is Soup Season.
Right now, it seems like everyone on Pinterest has some version of “Mouth-Watering Homemade Slow Cooker Creamy Parmesan Tomato-Basil Soup with Fresh Herbs in a Crock Pot.” Well, I love soup, and I don’t certainly don’t want to be left out, so here’s my veganized version – “Tomato-Basil Soup” – short and sweet, because people simply do not need more than a couple of adjectives with their dinner. We had this the other night with fresh sourdough bread and it was wonderful!
- 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1 cup finely diced carrots
- 1 cup finely diced onions
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup Plain Almond Milk
- 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, vegetable broth, oregano and basil to a large slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-8 hours. (Lots of flexibility here!) About half an hour before you are ready to eat, take an immersion blender and blend the soup a bit to break up the veggies even more. (Don't puree it though, unless you like that kind of soup.)
- Make a roux: Melt Earth Balance in a medium sauté pan over low heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until the flour changes to a very light brown color and begins to bubble, about 4 or 5 minutes. Turn the heat to very low (I often just turn it off for this step.) Slowly add 1 cup of hot soup, and then add another, along with the almond milk.) Stir until thick and smooth. Add the roux back into the soup in the slow cooker. Stir in vegan Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. Season to taste and add fresh basil. Cover and cook on low until ready to serve.
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