In the winter, canned peeled tomatoes are a great timesaver - but in the summer, when tomatoes taste their best, it's infinitely worth it to take the time and peel fresh tomatoes at home!
To peel the tomatoes, slit a shallow X in the bottom of each of 4 large tomatoes (in fact, you want them to be quite large, coming to a total of about 2 and 1/2 pounds). Bring 2 quarts (8 cups) of water to a boil; add the tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to 2 quarts ice water.
Drain the tomatoes, and slip off the skins. Remove the cores, and cut the tomatoes in half crosswise; push out the seeds either with your fingers or the tip of a knife (I find fingers to be easier); discard the seeds and chop the remaining tomato pulp. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook 1 and 1/4 cups uncooked seashell pasta (such as Whole Foods' 365 brand) according to package directions. To save on water, reuse the water that you just boiled the tomatoes in! Drain, toss the pasta with 1 teaspoon olive oil, then let cool completely.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion and cook for 7 minutes. Add 8 thinly sliced garlic cloves and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the chopped tomatoes, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, 1 teaspoon minced oregano, 1 teaspoon minced thyme, and 28 ounces of vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Make sure you use your largest pot for this recipe, as it makes quite a lot of soup! I originally had my mixture in a medium-sized saucepan, and realized midway that I needed to do a transfer.
After 20 minutes, add the cooked pasta, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper; cook for 1 final minute.
Meanwhile, slice 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices of French bread baguette; arrange on a baking sheet. Top each slice with 1 tablespoon shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (I used the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods). Broil for 1 and 1/2 minutes.
Ladle 1 and 1/2 cups of soup into each of 4 bowls, and serve each bowl with 2 of the croutons; each serving is 340 calories. Add a crisp green salad on the side to round out the meal!
seashell pasta $1.79
flat-leaf parsley $1.69
fresh thyme $2.49
French bread baguette $1.29
vegan cheese $3.39
The Vegan Pantry
- Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
- Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
- Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
- Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
- Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
- Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html