A basic tomato soup has plenty of umami, but when you use roasted tomatoes, dried tomatoes, a whisper of soy sauce, and a crispy Parmesan accompaniment, each spoonful delivers considerably more. It’s comfort food taken to new heights. You can also press the easy button and garnish with a simple dusting of grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese.
Tomatoes, particularly the sun-dried variety, are laced with lycopene, an antioxidant linked to improved brain functioning.
Roasting vegetables is a hands-off approach to making soup. Plus, it adds a smoky (more umami) element to the final dish.
As with tomato soup, adding a touch of soy sauce to tomato-based pasta sauces can pump up the flavour.
1/2 cup (125 mL) sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1 in (2.5 cm) wedges
2 cups (500 mL) grape tomatoes
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp (10 mL) grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp (15 mL) low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot paprika
3/4 cup (180 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh thyme or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
In bowl, place sun-dried tomatoes and cover with 2 cups (500 mL) hot water; let soak for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Toss bell pepper, onion, grape tomatoes, and garlic cloves with oil. Spread out on rimmed baking sheet and roast until bell pepper and tomatoes are softened and onion has darkened, about 25 minutes. In blender container, place roasted vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, 2 cups (500 mL) soaking liquid, 1 cup (250 mL) water, soy sauce, and paprika; blend until smooth.
Lower oven temperature to 350 F (180 mL). In small bowl, stir together Parmesan, lemon zest, and thyme. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Mound tablespoonfuls of cheese at least 2 in (5 cm) apart onto baking sheet and gently flatten out mounds with the back of a spoon, making sure rounds are not touching each other. Bake until cheese looks melted and golden around edges, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn cheese. Remove from oven; do not disturb until completely cooled and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Using thin spatula or knife, carefully lift crackers from baking sheet.
If needed, reheat soup in saucepan. Divide soup among serving bowls and serve with Parmesan crisps.