Ah, soup. Is there anything more comforting on chilly days? Our soul-warming tomato soup recipe is rich in key nutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene, offering a wealth of health benefits. Plus, its creamy texture pairs perfectly with our guilt-free prebiotic cashew cheese crackers!
A steaming hot bowl of soup has long been a popular choice of meal. It’s a staple on restaurant menus around the globe, and almost every culture has their own take on the dish.In fact, it’s thought that soup is one of the oldest types of food in the world. Archaeologists have found ancient pottery dating back over 20,000 years that may have been used to cook soup.(1) So the dish is definitely a key part of human history!The word itself is thought to derive from the Latin ‘suppa’, meaning bread soaked in broth. This passed into Old French as ‘soupe’, which referred to a broth poured onto bread, before becoming part of the English language.(2)While those early soups were likely fairly basic, today we have a tremendous diversity of interesting and delicious recipes available. From umami-rich miso soup to protein-packed lentil soup, there’s an option to suit every occasion. This includes the classic tomato soup recipe.Although it’s impossible to say who first came up with the idea, we can find recipes for homemade tomato soup in cookery books from the 1800s. With its hearty flavour, velvety texture and health-boosting chief ingredient, it’s easy to see why it’s become a firm favourite.
The humble tomato: from deadly to delicious
Tomatoes might be a common part of our diet now, but that wasn’t always the case. The plant they come from, solanum lycopersicum, is native to South America and was likely domesticated by the Aztecs. It’s thought that Spanish conquistadors brought tomatoes back to Europe from Mexico in the early 16th century. However, they didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome.In some countries, they initially only grew the plant ornamentally, because people believed that tomatoes were poisonous. This is because they’re a member of the nightshade family – and therefore a relative of the toxic belladonna. In addition, the acidic juice from tomatoes leached lead from the pewter plates that wealthy Europeans ate on. This resulted in cases of lead poisoning, which were wrongly attributed to the tomatoes themselves.(3)Thankfully, this misunderstanding had cleared up by the 1700s, and tomatoes became a popular ingredient in all sorts of dishes. One interesting fact is that botanically, experts class the tomato as a fruit rather than a vegetable. However, in culinary terms, we tend to consider tomatoes as vegetables. This is because of the way we consume them – for example, in this tomato soup recipe – and the fact that they taste more savoury than sweet.Regardless of how you think of it though, the humble tomato has plenty of nutritional benefits to offer. Therefore, the best tomato soup recipe is not only delicious, but nourishing too.
Tomatoes are rich in many different vitamins and minerals, but one of the most notable nutrients they contain is lycopene. This plant compound is what gives tomatoes their iconic red colour.Lycopene is credited with a wealth of health benefits. For example, studies indicate that it can support your cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.(4) Furthermore, lycopene may also assist in the prevention of some types of cancer.(5)Research additionally suggests that lycopene is critical for eye health, and may protect against diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.(6) Lastly, it might also help to prevent UV damage to the skin (although you should still wear sun cream!).(7)It’s not only lycopene that tomatoes are abundant in though. They also have high levels of key vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K. Each of these has its own health benefits to share.For instance, potassium can assist in lowering blood pressure by widening the arteries.(8) Meanwhile, vitamin K is required for blood clotting, wound healing, and building healthy bones.(9) Vitamin C also helps with wound healing, plus supports the immune system and enables the body to make collagen.(10) This is a key fibre-like protein found in connective tissue across various systems of the body.Finally, tomatoes are also rich in antioxidants. These can aid in slowing or preventing damage caused to the body’s cells by harmful molecules known as free radicals.Don’t worry that cooking your tomatoes in our tomato soup recipe will reduce their dietary value – far from it. Research indicates that processing and cooking tomatoes can actually increase the availability of their vital nutrients, including lycopene.(11) So you can feel free to enjoy them in whatever way you prefer!
Revamping a classic: our tomato soup recipe
You probably already have a good idea of how to make tomato soup. However, here at Erbology we like to put our own spin on the classics. And we think our wholesome and creamy tomato soup recipe is a real winner!To begin with, you’ll notice that this is more accurately a tomato and carrot soup. The inclusion of carrots adds some natural sweetness to the dish, as well as extra orange colour and a thicker texture. Carrots also bring lots of health benefits of their own, but we’ll get on to that in a moment!In order to season the base for your tomato soup, the recipe calls for sea salt, dried oregano, black pepper and a clove of garlic. These add a fantastic depth of flavour to the dish. Remember that you can of course adjust the quantities slightly to suit your personal tastes.What’s even better is that these ingredients also boost the soup’s nutritional profile. For example, black pepper might offer anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits, while garlic may have immune-boosting and antimicrobial properties.(12)Lastly, we’ve also included a pinch of hot chili flakes. Feel free to leave this out if you’re not a fan of spice, or to add more if you are! Similarly, you can adjust the amount of water you use too. This will allow you to make the soup slightly thicker or thinner to suit your preference.The vegan butter that you add when the mix goes into the blender helps to make the texture of this tomato soup recipe extra smooth and velvety. As with most other ingredients, you can use more or less than suggested to get the perfect consistency for you. Every bowl should feel like coming home!
More than meets the eye: the health benefits of carrots
Tomatoes are not the only heroes in this tomato and carrot soup recipe! The carrots certainly play their part too. In addition to being tasty, these slender root vegetables are highly nutritious.For starters, carrots are high inbeta-carotene. This is an antioxidant that our bodies convert into vitamin A, and is what gives carrots their vibrant orange colour. Similar to lycopene in tomatoes, it’s thought that we absorb beta-carotene better from cooked carrots than raw ones.(13)Vitamin A is important for having good vision – particularly in dim light – and healthy eyes.(14) This is also true of lutein, another antioxidant found in carrots.(15) So that old wives’ tale about carrots helping us to see in the dark has some truth to it after all!On a side note, it was the British government that originally spread that myth during World War Two. The intent was to boost carrot consumption amongst the general population, because people could grow them locally and help fight food shortages. As a secondary benefit, they hoped the rumour would keep the new RAF radar system secret from the enemy.(16)Because carrots are high in fibre, they’re also beneficial for your digestive health.(17) They may help support the friendly bacteria in your gut, plus lower levels of blood cholesterol. High-fibre foods can likewise be useful for weight loss and weight management, as they increase feelings of fullness.On top of this, carrots are rich in numerous vitamins and minerals. These include vitamins K1 and B6, along with potassium and biotin. Also known as vitamin B7, the latter helps enzymes to break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins in food. It additionally plays a role in regulating signals sent by our cells, and the activity of our genes.(18)
Crunchy crackers: the perfect match for a tomato soup recipe
Everyone knows that a thick slice of warm bread goes brilliantly with a homemade tomato soup or carrot soup recipe. However, here at Erbology we think we might have found something even better: crackers. Not just any old crackers, though.The pairing with ourOrganic Cashew Cheese Snacks