I can’t think of anything better to do a cold, rainy fall afternoon than to curl up with a warm mug of creamy tomato soup (sans cream) and a handful of cheddar walnut crackers. Both recipes are amazing on their own, but together they’re perfect.
Some things can’t be rushed. Like, for example, my appreciation of tomato soup. Growing up, I HATED it. I thought it was pretty much the worst thing anyone could possibly want to eat. It was acidic and tinny and just… plain. No macaroni or chicken or chunks of carrot? Yawn.
But then, slowly, I started to get its allure. It started when I dipped a chicken Panini into the side of sauce that came with Shawn’s calzone. It was delicious – and the concept of dunking a grilled cheese into a bowl of tomato soup suddenly made sense.
For a while, that’s the only way I would eat it: however much soup my sandwich sopped up was as much as I would eat.
When I decided to make tomato soup from scratch a few years ago, everything changed. You can’t even compare a pot of good, homemade tomato soup to the stuff that comes out of a can. The homemade version is rich, creamy, and way less harsh.
For the best flavor, I use canned tomatoes. They’re more consistent than fresh ones and you don’t have to worry about removing the skins, which just makes life a lot easier. I also like to throw some tomato paste and sundried tomatoes into the pot. They might be unconventional, but they add a ton of depth to the flavor of the soup. Just before serving, I stir in a big spoon full of GO Veggie! Dairy Free Cream Cheese. I love how this cream cheese melts – it’s incredibly smooth. It’s a great alternative to cream, and it has four times more calcium than dairy cream cheese with less calories and fat. Plus, in addition to being dairy free it’s also gluten free and vegan. Win-win-win.
Of course, that whole lack of texture thing still gets to me. Tomato soup just needs… something. Croutons or a toasted sandwich work, but crispy cheddar walnut crackers are even better. It took me a while to get this recipe just right, but I finally did it. In fact, Shawn and I did a side-by-side taste test with our favorite store-bought cheese crackers and we both agreed that we liked mine better! Their flavor is so much deeper more complex. I use GO Veggie! Lactose Free Cheddar Shreds, which means they’re dairy free (so they don’t bother me), gluten free (so I can share with my friends!) and have 50% more calcium, nearly as much protein and half the fat of dairy shreds (so I can feel better about using cheese!).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 large can (32 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes
- 1/3 cup (about 10) sundried tomatoes (not in oil)
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil
- 1/4 cup GO Veggie! Dairy Free Cream Cheese
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 2 cups GO Veggie! Lactose Free Cheddar Shreds
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
- Heat the olive oil in a 3.5 quart saucepan set over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, leek, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes, until softened. Add the tomato paste and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in the vegetable stock, canned tomatoes (with their liquid), and dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in the basil.
- Transfer the soup to a blender; blend until smooth.
- Return the soup to the pan and stir in the cream cheese until melted.
- Add the walnuts to the bowl of a food processor; pulse several times to create a fine powder. Add the cheddar shreds, rice flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, and olive oil. Process until the mixture looks smooth, about 30-40 seconds. Drizzle in the water and process until the mixture forms a soft dough, about 30 seconds. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 325ºF.
- On an unlined baking sheet, pat or roll the chilled dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 1-inch squares; gently separate the squares, leaving about 1/2 inch around each one.
- Bake 20 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and let cool 2-3 minutes; flip the crackers over. Bake another 20 minutes, or until crisp around the edges and lightly browned (the crackers will look greasy, but they’ll crisp up as they cool.) Remove the tray from the oven and let cool 2-3 minutes. Transfer the crackers to a baking rack to cool completely.
Amount Per Serving Calories 90190Total Fat 5.915gFiber 2.37gProtein 1.88g
I created the recipes for Creamy Tomato Basil Soup and Cheddar Walnut Crackers for my client, GO Veggie! As always, all opinions are my own.