Now that I’ve made this easy gluten-free tomato soup in the slow cooker, I will never eat canned tomato soup again!
I don’t think my mother ever made soup from scratch in her life. If she did, it was so rare that I don’t remember it. I grew up on canned soup. It’s convenience food and since my mother worked full time, she was big on convenience foods. When I first moved out on my own at 19, I practically lived on grilled cheese and tomato soup.
I honestly didn’t know what I was missing until I started making my own soup from scratch. I have developed a bit of a love affair with my slow cooker and it is a easy way to make delicious soups from scratch.
A little over a year ago I gave up eating gluten because of an autoimmune disease. Bread will never be the same and I do miss it, but I don’t miss the constant, body-wide pain it caused.
I was in the grocery store recently and really had a hankering for tomato soup so I did what my mother usually did and headed for the canned soup aisle. I picked up so many cans of tomato soup and couldn’t find one that didn’t contain gluten in some form. I was surprised by that. Why did tomato soup need to contain gluten? Answer: it doesn’t.
Thankfully, I hit a sale on canned crushed and pureed tomatoes (BPA free) and decided I was going to invent my own version of tomato soup. The East Coast blizzard of 2016 seemed the perfect time to give it a whirl.
Gluten-Free Tomato Soup
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 28 oz can tomato puree
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 14 oz can chicken broth
- 1 cup finely diced carrots
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1T olive oil
- 1t black pepper (adjust to your taste)
- 1t salt (adjust to your taste)
- 1t dried oregano
- 1/2t dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 frozen cubes of pesto (I make pesto every summer from the garden basil and freeze it in ice cube trays for later use. If you don’t have pesto on hand, you can substitute 1/2 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, and a splash of lemon juice. Alternately you can also buy canned pesto and use the equivalent of three large ice cubes–approximately 1/2 cup.)
- 1 3/4 cups warmed 2% milk (I used lactose-free milk and I think nut milks would taste lovely here as well)
- 1T cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
- large flake natural salt (I prefer guerande grey sea salt or pink himalayan salt)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrots, and onion and cook for about 5 minutes until they start to turn golden. Add them to your slow cooker
Add the tomato puree, crushed tomatoes with basil, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Use the water to rinse the inside of the the tomato cans and add that water to the slow cooker as well. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, and pesto (or substitute ingredients) to the slow cooker. Give it a good stir.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours (you can also cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours) or until the vegetables are soft. Remove the bay leaf and using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth (you may also carefully do this in small batches in a standard blender if you do not have an immersion blender).
Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add to the slow cooker. Stir again.
Return the lid to the slow cooker and continue to cook on low for 20 minutes.
Top dress each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of the salt and grated cheese. Best served with a pan-fried grilled cheese sandwich (mine was made with gluten-free bread and lactose-free cheese). It’s even better if you dip the sandwich in the soup when eating. Yum!