Pesto Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons

Pesto Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons

I hate to be the boring person who talks about the weather, but quite honestly, it has been so weird in Chicago that I can’t resist. If you’re unfamiliar, Chicago is known for skin blistering wind, heavy snowfalls, and a high number of people waddling around in puff jackets for 9 months. January normally highlights some of the worst versions of these conditions, but this year it has been different. Rain and fog dominate, swapping out cold days for gloomy ones. I thought a hearty pesto tomato soup was in order.

Tomato Soup

I’m not quite sure what it is about tomato soup and its claim to fame as an American cold day specialty, but like chicken noodle soup is mom’s recipe for fighting off colds, this luscious soup was designed for cloudy days and plush blankets.

Of course, tomato soup has a natural pairing that you can’t forget. Grilled cheese! Since this pesto tomato soup is vegan, I decided to skip out on the cheese and include homemade garlic croutons. 

Croutons

Never made croutons at home? I promise it’s easy. If you have a baguette that you’ve waited too long to eat, now is the perfect time to make it into many delicious little croutons. Simply slice your stale bread, drizzle with olive oil, season, and pop in the oven until brown and crispy. Since I started making croutons myself, I haven’t been able to go back to the store bought ones. Something about making them on your own is incredibly satisfying.

The actual tomato soup is pretty uncomplicated as well and uses coconut milk as a creamy vegan substitute for actual milk. Because I’m obsessed with pesto (haven’t you noticed?) I couldn’t resist drizzling a little on top of the tomato soup for a little something extra.

Pesto Tomato Soup

Make this soup on your next cloudy day with the recipe below.

Pesto Soup with Garlic Croutons

(makes 4 servings)

Tomato Soup

  • 2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes

Garlic Croutons

  • 1 baguette (1-2 days old)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pesto

  • 1.5 oz basil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Kite Hill soft cheese (optional, but makes it cheesy)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop up baguette into small cubes and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, dried basil and minced garlic. Place in oven and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes or until brown and crunchy.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot. Cook shallots and garlic until flagrant, about 2 minutes. Mix in cans of tomatoes with the juice included.
  3. Season tomato mixture with salt, pepper, cumin, dried basil, dried rosemary, brown sugar and chili flakes, allowing to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in coconut milk and mix. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes or until flavors are pronounced and developed to your liking.
  5. Place basil leaves, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and kite hill cheese (optional) in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Once tomato mixture has simmered and developed flavor, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Serve tomato soup in a large bowl and top with pesto and garlic croutons.

Enjoy!

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