Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Ultimate easy tomato soup

Looking for a quick and easy tomato soup recipe to warm you up on a cold day? Check this out!

Our warm spring days were short lived and it’s been rather blustery and cool here in London in recent days. The weather has regressed my appetite back to the start of Winter when I was craving hot, soothing food to warm my cockles after a chilly day of walking, cycling or simply slogging it out in the office. In my mind, the simplest and tastiest way to do this is with soup.

Soup is fantastic. It’s portable – pop it in a heated thermos to provide a warming lunch on a long walk – and a great way to smuggle tons of vegetables into your diet. The straw poll soup of choice is tomato and I’ve got a nifty trick to increase the goodness as well as the flavour in this common classic. You might think that my twist would involve slow roasted vine tomatoes or the best quality olive oil (which would be lovely but also time consuming or expensive) but it’s a little more unusual than that and it’s in season right now. Beetroot. Yes, you read correctly! This fantastic root is lends its depth of flavour and colour to make a deliciously rich tomato soup. You don’t even need to be the biggest beetroot fan as the taste and tone isn’t out and out beetroot; the addition simply gives it a certain je ne c’est quoi to the finished soup.

Beetroot is bursting with lots of vitamins (including vitamins A, B6 and C) and minerals like potassium, magnesium and iron. Beets are a great source carbohydrates, protein, powerful antioxidants, folic acid and soluble fibre. It’s available in bunches in the supermarket or your local farmers market but it can also be found all year round pre-cooked in shrink-wrapped packets. Either works well though the raw form will increase the cooking time as you’ll need to scrub it, remove the leaves and stork and then microwave with a splash of water until it is soft. Cooking times vary depending on the size of the root but I find it tends to take about 20 minutes on full power. Find out more about the health benefits of beetroot and a myriad recipes too.

This soup recipe is quick, healthy and cheap. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and cook. Even better, a portion comes in at about 25p so it’s an absolute bargain! Cheaper and tastier than Heinz cream of tomato any day. You can freeze it in batches and it will also keep well in the fridge for a few days if you whip up a big batch.

Ultimate easy tomato soup
Makes 4 – 6 servings (depending on how greedy you are!)

1 onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 300g pack of cooked beetroot or 250g of fresh beetroot topped and tailed and microwaved until soft
100ml water (or stock, if you prefer)

- Chop the onion, carrot and celery and sweat with a little oil (or a splash of water) for five minutes or until softened.
- Meanwhile, chop the beetroot then add to the pan with the tomatoes and water.
- Simmer for five minutes or until piping hot all the way through.
- Blend until smooth then season and serve topped with cheese or low fat yoghurt.

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