Despite past experiences, I continue to buy canned soups here and there. A warm bowl of soup embodies so much comfort, physically and mentally. The thought that it could be as easy as buying and heating a $3 can is endlessly appealing. But it never is. Pulling back the lid of a can to find an orange layer of oil over sad, cubed vegetables, is always enough to make the end product taste just as pathetic.
Perhaps it’s the ice cream effect. I still believe that the ice cream they serve you at a counter or from a truck is different from the tubs of it they sell at the store. Maybe it’s just the presentation, but even Ben & Jerry’s tastes slightly off after sitting in my freezer in a pint container.
I think it’s time I accept defeat. Canned soup will never taste like it’s supposed to – it will never equal a warm bowl at a cafe or a ladle from my stove-top (I’m lying…I don’t have a ladle). That being said, it’s one of the simplest things to cook, and the options are endless. This version is dairy free and vegan, but still creamy and cozy. It made 6 servings. If you’re willing to go for a few extra calories, use full-fat coconut milk and embrace the creaminess!
1 can of low-fat coconut milk (note: canned coconut milk is different than the cartons for drinking – it’s thicker and is usually sold near the Asian food section)
1 can of diced tomatoes, no salt added if possible, drained
2 medium red bell peppers
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp of brown sugar
Olive oil, salt
Turn on your oven’s broiler. Slice your peppers down the middle and remove the seeds and stem. Place all four halves, skin up and open face down, on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Roast the peppers under the broiler for about fifteen minutes, or until the skin is dark and charred in some areas. Remove from heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, mince up the clove of garlic. Over medium heat, add olive to a pot then simmer your minced garlic for a minute or so. Add in your drained, diced tomatoes and simmer on low heat.
Using your fingers, slide off the outer layer of skin from your peppers and discard it. This should fall away rather easily if they’re fully roasted.
Toss the pepper into the pot with the tomato, then add in your can of coconut milk and brown sugar and stir. Let everything simmer over low to medium heat for about fifteen minutes.
Using either an immersion blender or a full-size blender or food processor, blend your soup until smooth. You may need to blend in batches if you’re using a drink blender. Add a few pinches of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, then return to heat, stir, and serve.