Friday, April 29, 2011

A triple play

Photo: Better Homes and Gardens
In two days it will be May. Today was sunny, but as evening approaches there is still a definite chill in the air. Time to make soup, and this one doesn't take very long to do.

I'm watching a baseball game as I write this post--a triple play doesn't happen very often in baseball. But, in keeping my promise to feature some low-calorie recipes, I found a "triple play" that is pretty easy to achieve.

The inspiration for this recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens. Their website has a "Triple Tomato Soup". There were only two comments--one reviewer loved it, but didn't stick to the recipe. The other followed the recipe and complained that it was "bland." Since I've not made this recipe (yet), I need to put on my Sherlock Holmes cap to find a solution to ramping up the flavor without increasing calories.

My first rule is "always use the best ingredients". If you use canned tomatoes, use the best ones you can find--not the generic bottom-price variety. Secondly, use fresh herbs whenever possible. And my last rule is--think about your cooking technique. Is there some way of encouraging more flavor out of these ingredients?

Here's the recipe from Better Homes:


  • 1  large  onion, sliced
  • 1  Tbsp.  butter or olive oil
  • 1  28-oz. can  whole tomatoes
  • 3/4  cup  dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
  • 1/2  of 6-ounce can  no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1  14-oz. can  reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2  cup  sliced celery (1 stalk)
  • 2  Tbsp.  snipped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2  to 3 tsp.  lime juice or lemon juice
  •     Dairy sour cream
  •     Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley


1. In 4-quart Dutch oven cook onion in hot butter, covered, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until tender. Add undrained whole tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the dried tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, celery, and parsley. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes; cool. Meanwhile, in microwave-safe bowl cover remaining dried tomatoes with water. Microcook on high (100% power) for 1 minute. Cool. Drain. Snip into pieces; set aside.

2. In blender, blend half of the tomato mixture at a time until smooth. Return to saucepan; add lime juice, heat through. Top with sour cream, snipped dried tomatoes, and parsley. Makes 4 side-dish servings

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 4 side-dish servings
Calories128, Total Fat (g)4, Saturated Fat (g)2, Monounsaturated Fat (g)1, Cholesterol (mg)8, Sodium (mg)786, Carbohydrate (g)22, Total Sugar (g)14, Fiber (g)5, Protein (g)6, Vitamin C (DV%)56, Calcium (DV%)10, Iron (DV%)21, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet


Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? But how can we improve it? My first thought is--what about the canned tomatoes? A lot of the work has already been done--they are peeled, diced, and "cooked". They also contain lots of natural sugars. Why not carmelize them in the oven? So, here's the Carb Diva approach to "Tomato to the 3rd Power Soup".

Carb Diva's Triple Tomato Soup
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
1/2 of a 6-oz can no-salt added tomato paste
1 14-oz can reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 bay leaf (fresh, if possible)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Strain canned tomatoes, reserving juices. Spread canned tomatoes on large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast in oven about until carmelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute onion, celery, and garlic in large saucepan until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, sun-dried tomatoes, broth, and bay leaf. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Puree soup in pot with immersion blender until smooth. Stir in chopped parsley and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

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