This is the perfect pantry soup. I’m even betting that most of you have these ingredients on hand already. We’re all about fresh eating around here, but there’s nothing wrong with opening up a few cans from time to time… especially in the middle of winter when you crave tomato soup and tomatoes are not in season.
The soup is basically: 1 can of tomatoes, 1 can of chickpeas, and (part of) 1 can of coconut milk. The chickpeas thicken the soup and the coconut creates a creamy, velvety texture without adding real cream. For a lighter soup, you can use light coconut milk or—get this!—the leftover watery milk from the can after you’ve made coconut cream.
Of course no tomato soup would be complete without grilled cheese. I’m sure you don’t need a recipe… a good simple grilled cheese is really about good ingredient choices. At the moment I’m particularly fond of this combo: Sourdough from Easy Tiger, Champagne Cheddar from Whole Foods, with a spread of dijon and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Grill on a cast iron grill pan. Dunk in soup.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 big garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar, more to taste
- 1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes
- a few pinches of sugar, optional
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup coconut milk, full fat or light
- 1.5 cups water
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, very optional, skip if vegan
- red pepper flakes, optional for garnish
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a medium pot. Add the onion, garlic a few pinches of salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the paprika and cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so). Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Add the tomatoes, sugar and thyme leaves. Stir, then add the chickpeas, coconut milk and water. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Uncover and let cool slightly.
- Transfer to a blender and puree. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding parmesan cheese, if desired. If the soup is thick add a little water to thin to your desired consistency.
- Scoop into bowls and top with remaining chickpeas, red chile flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches for dunking, and extra balsamic on the side.
If you don't like coconut, use heavy cream in place of the coconut milk.
If you don't have fresh thyme add ¼ to ½ teaspoon dried thyme or oregano.