T and I are finally getting over the cold that was gifted around during Christmas. All that is left is the lingering cough. A few days ago, knee-deep in tissues and no way to medicate myself, my only thought was "I want soup". Being a vegetarian, shopping for soup becomes very tedious and time consuming. You have to read every single ingredient on every single can. I've noticed my stores are carrying less vegetarian soups these days too, so my choices are limited. Being sick with limited options, I decided to make my own vegetarian tomato and basil soup.
Surviving a grocery shopping trip that evening, we got home and I whipped up this delicious soup in no time. Many thanks to my friend Julie for the recipe some time ago, it truly is delicious!
Fresh ripe tomatoes - 3 large, diced
1.5 tbsp vegetable flavored "Better than Bouillon"
6 cups water
fresh basil - chopped roughly
minced garlic to taste (I added two minced cloves)
day old Italian bread
cheese - sliced provolone is really good. I forgot it that night and used shredded mozz instead.
Heat oven to 350F.
Slice bread on angle to one inch thickness.
Spread out in a single layer on cookie sheet, apply olive oil and cheese to tops. Toast in oven until bread is crunchy and cheese is nicely melted.
Bring water to a boil and add "Better than Bouillon" (you could use regular broth or a bouillon cube, but I found this was mighty tasty and easy to use). Add chopped tomatoes and turn heat down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and basil and simmer for a couple more minutes.
Here's where it gets good. It's where tomato soup meets french onion soup. Just before serving, place toasted bread in a bowl and ladle soup over.
The bread soaks up so much flavor but provides some heartiness to the otherwise light soup. The heat of the soup makes the melted cheese nice and gooey. If you're not a "soggy-bread" fan, like my loving husband, you could just serve the bread on the side and dip into the soup. The combination though is so yummy! Even T liked it! I did warn her that, being a vegetarian, this would forever be my version of chicken soup, so get used to it! Haha, poor girl!
*I should mention that the Better Than Bouillon I used I received as a free gift when they launched their facebook page and were doing a giveaway. They were overwhelmed by the responses they got and ended up limiting what they could give away. I think I got mine because I wanted the vegetarian base! This stuff is awesome though, and they are in no way compensating me now for including them in this recipe. I am done with buying boxes of vegetable broth or rock hard bouillon cubes!