Creamy Tomato Coconut Soup

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One of my favorite dishes - a soup perfect for all seasons, incredibly simple, delicious and requires only minimal prep. Make it into a main dish by spooning a ladle over cooked quinoa or farro, and adding a variety of toppings (see suggestions in the serving note below)

Broiling the tomatoes enhances their flavor tremendously - do not skip the step! As fall really kicks in, fresh, flavorful tomatoes will be harder to come by. Rather than using the bland ones in the supermarket, substitute a can of whole tomatoes, juices and all. If you find fire-roasted whole tomatoes, better! You should still broil them, adjusting the time.

Ingredients:

5 large beefsteak tomatoes (sub one 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted) 1 large garlic clove, un-peeled 3 tablespoons ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (sub yellow or white) 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon chile de arbol powder or red cayenne pepper 2 cups vegetable broth 1 14 oz can coconut milk, full fat or light red chile flakes & drizzle of olive oil, for garnish optional: 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, to thicken soup

Turn on your oven (or toaster oven) on broil. Place tomatoes and garlic in a lined baking sheet, and place it in oven in the middle rack. Broil until tomatoes are very soft and only just blistering, 20-30 minutes, turning them and garlic over midway. The skin should start peeling and wrinkling and browning in some areas, but avoid burning. Transfer tomatoes and the released juices into a bowl (they are a flavor bomb) and set garlic aside.

Heat a oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are completely tender and soft, ~10 minutes or so. Peel cooked garlic and add it to the onions, smashing lightly. It should easily fall apart. Add the spices and cook for ~30 seconds, stirring constantly, just until spices are fragrant and toasty.

Add tomatoes and the juices, smashing tomatoes with your spoon, roughly breaking them down. Add vegetable stock and coconut milk, and simmer, uncovered, for ~15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Take a hand blender and puree until very smooth. At this point you can adjust the consistency of your soup, adding more stock for a thinner soup, or coconut milk to thicken it up (if desired, you can also add grated parmesan cheese).

Serves 4

Serving Notes: make a meal out of this soup by adding some - or all! - of the following: avocado, lime wedges, toasted pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds, cooked quinoa, farro, black/brown rice, a poached egg, hemp seeds, a dollop of coconut cream, a dollop of cashew cream, fresh oregano, baked tofu, cubes of panela or paneer cheese, sauteed veggies, etc.

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