The other day I was craving a bowl of tomato-rice soup. As it was a day or two before I did my main weekly grocery shop, I opted to buy a can of soup rather than make it from scratch. Big mistake! As soon as I took a sip of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Rice Soup I almost gagged. What was this stuff? Glucose-fructose, honey, agave syrup and brown sugar dyed red? I wasn’t that far off the mark- the third ingredient in the soup was sugar! No wonder it’s labelled “less sodium”- they’ve replaced the salt with sugar! I even added in some extra spinach, but nothing could cut the overly-sweet taste.
As we’re having a chilly summer weekend (welcome to Calgary!) I thought it would be the perfect time to make my own tomato-rice soup, using only the natural sweetness of vegetables. Here’s the recipe!
Tomato Rice Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped very thinly
- 2 bay leaves
- Assorted dried herbs of your choice- I used a bit of crumbled saffron, tumeric, tarragon and thyme, but you could try dried oregano and rosemary for a more Greek flavour
- 2 800ml cans tomatoes- I used San Marzano, but diced, fire-roasted tomatoes would be great too
- 4 cups clear liquid- stock or water, or a mix of the two
- Optional: One parmesan rind
- 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
- Optional: One cup milk or cream at room temperature- I used 2% milk
- A handful of fresh herbs, chopped- I used basil but you could try fresh tarragon, Italian parsley or sage.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add onions. Saute for five minutes, then add garlic, carrots, bay leaves and herbs. Continue sauteing until everything has softened.
Add in the canned tomatoes, the juice or puree from inside the can, the liquid and the parmesan rind (if using). If tomatoes are whole, break them apart with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer at least twenty minutes (but the longer the better!).
Remove bay leaves and parmesan rind, and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Increase heat to medium, add in rice, and cook until rice is tender. Add in milk or cream and fresh herbs. Stir and serve!
You Didn’t Hear It From Me: When you remove the parmesan rind from the soup, let it cook for a minute or two and then go at it! Use your teeth to scrape off the now-melty last bits of cheese that used to be adhered firmly to the rind, and suck out any soup that was absorbed (which will now have a delicious parmesan-y flavour!).
Makes five meal-sized servings (there’s lunch for the week!). When made with stock, parmesan rind and 2% milk, each serving has about 225 calories, 8 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein. You’ll get lots of your recommended daily intakes: 95% of Vitamin A, 82% of Vitamin C, 17% of calcium and 10% of both folate and iron.