Something came over me as I drove home this evening, and I found myself saying aloud, “I’m going to change my life!” I’m pleased with my life, but some aspects need dusting off – some polish if you will – in a few places. Clearly, the change will not start with this blog post as I’m offering up yet another recipe involving the crazy-fermented-soy-food tempeh. This time, it’s Smoky Tomato Soup with Crumbled Tempeh.
I’m not all that sure of the overwhelming brilliance of making a warm soup as a hot summer looms, but let’s say we treat it like gazpacho and enjoy it cold. I eat soup quite a bit, and I prefer thick soups over thin broths. I can hardly bare the thought of a bowl of chili that’s not accompanied by a sleeve of buttery Ritz crackers. If I buy a cup of soup from the lunch-time hot bar at the grocery store, I always pick up a small baguette to sop up the excess. At home, I often add a cup of cooked rice to canned soup to add a little more substance.
The tempeh in this smoky tomato soup serves the same purpose as the rice. Along with the plantains that chunk up the soup like potatoes, the tempeh simply gives you something to chew. If I hadn’t known tempeh was in the soup, I likely would have guessed the crumbles were rice, along with some sort of bean or nut. If you aren’t sure about tempeh but would like to give it a try, I would recommend starting with this dish.
The recipe, originally called Smoky Tomatoes, Roasted Plantains, and Crumbled Tempeh, again comes from The Inspired Vegan. A feature of this cookbook that I really liked was it split its recipes into seasons. Unfortunately, the cookbook did not read itself aloud to alarm me to the fact a recipe such as Smoky Tomatoes, Roasted Plantains, and Crumbled Tempeh is meant for the autumn. Hence, tomato soup in the summer.
Since I purchased deliciously ripe red tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market this weekend, I likely would not have changed my mind on trying this soup even if the cookbook had slammed itself shut on my fingers. When ripe tomatoes are out of season, canned tomatoes will do. I really like the smoky heat a chipotle in adobo gives to dishes. If you do not, simply omit it and you are left with a tomato base flavored with roasted garlic and caramelized onions.
The The Inspired Vegan suggests serving this dish with coconut quinoa. I thought it was great alone, served over rice, alongside a baguette, and with a sleeve of crackers. Just not all in the same sitting. If only I had thought to make a grilled cheese… Enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 chipotle in adobo
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 5 medium to large tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1, 8-ounce package tempeh, crubmled
- 1½ teaspoons salt, separated
- 2 plantains, cubed
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil, the red onions, and the chipotle in a large saucepan over high heat for two minutes, stirring frequently.
- Lower the heat to low and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and cook an additional five minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the tomatoes, and puree until smooth.
- Return the mixture back to the saucepan, add the bay leaves, and stir over medium heat about 10 minutes to cook down.
- Stir in the stock, crumbled tempeh, and the salt.
- Cover the pot, lower the heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, toss the cubed plantains with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Place the plantains on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Stir the plantains on the baking sheet every ten minutes to ensure even baking.
- After the soup has simmered for 45 minutes, add the roasted plantains and the cilantro.
- Simmer an additional five minutes before enjoying.