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Smoky tomato broth

Vegan Smoky Tomato Broth- a healing detoxing pot of soup- with beans, vegan “meat balls”, spinach, pasta. Nutritious, adaptable and cleansing. Vegan, Gluten Free.




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Those of you who’ve been here a while, know that I’m a big fan of broth. I’m really not sure why I love it so much, except that it feels nourishing and healing without being overly heavy or high in calories. This vegan recipe for Smoky Tomato Broth (like the Turmeric Broth Detox Soup) can be used in so many ways as a  flavorful base for your favorite additions — perfect for weeknight dinners. It’s healthy and detoxing….and very fast and easy!
Tonight I added vegan “meatballs,” (Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs) penne pasta, white beans, red bell pepper, fresh spinach and basil- like a  hearty and delicious minestrone. It’s also great with noodles –slurpy and full of flavor.
It starts with sauteing onion, garlic, then browning tomato paste and smoked paprika. This gives the soup good depth. Sometimes I’ll add fennel seeds, or other whole seeds depending on my mood.



A couple of things I’ve discovered:
Tomato Paste in a tube is the BEST THING EVER. No more half cans of tomato paste being wasted.
These vegan meatball are handy little guys that can be kept in the freezer and easily dropped into soup.
A good Italian sausage (pre-browned) or cooked shredded chicken, or even tiny beef or turkey meatballs  could be dropped into the flavorful broth.

Beans add an extra heartiness. If using dried beans, be sure to pre-soak them first. I honestly can’t think of a bean that wouldn’t work well here.


Turn this into a Minestrone of sorts by adding pasta…my favorite!


And it is another great way to use up stray veggies in your refrigerator and staples in the pantry.


Keep this totally vegan or add protein, either way, it’s rich and deep and satisfying.



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Prep Time : 10 mins      Cook Time : 20 mins    Total Time : 30 mins          Yield : 6 "1x"






Ingredients

  TOMATO BROTH:

  • 1 tablespoon oil, or ghee
  • 1 large onion- diced
  • 6–8 garlic cloves- thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper (or carrot or celery) – small diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • 4 cups broth (veggie, chicken)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or rosemary, or an Italian herb blend)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, honey, agave, or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne or chipotle powder, more to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs: basil, Italian parsley, cilantro



Optional Soup Additions:

  Italian “Meatball” and Spinach Soup

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (1 can beans, drained )
  • 1 cup dry pasta Iike penne
  • 6 ounces chopped fresh spinach (or other wilting greens)
  • 1 lb little meatballs (see notes) or store-bought vegan meatballs (I used Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs- in the freezer section)
  • garnish with ¼ cup chopped basil
  • Instead of meatballs you can add browned Italian Sausage or cooked chicken breast or replace with other veggies like- roasted cauliflower, zucchini, fire roasted tomatoes (I prefer canned tomatoes in winter)


Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, and sauté for two minutes. Add bell pepper and/or other veggies, lower heat to medium and sauté 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, sauté 2 more minutes until fragrant. Add the fennel, smoked paprika and tomato paste, turn the heat up and and “fry” for one-two more minutes, for extra depth of flavor.
  2. Add the water and broth. Stir. Increase heat to high. Add dried herbs, salt, vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil and taste.Now you will have a flavorful rich broth to use as a base to add what ever you like.

Notes


NOTES: Remember uncooked pasta and beans will double or triple in size, so add moderately.



Remember to think and be sensible about cooking times for each ingredient you add.



Also, if you are cooking the broth for longer periods of time, uncovered, remember it will reduce, intensifying the flavor and salt, so you may need to add more water.



Adding pre-cooked pasta to your individual bowls, rather than dry pasta to the pot of soup itself, then pouring the soup over top, will keep the pasta from swelling too much, especially if you are planning to save the leftovers (but if going for one-pot and fast, it’s fine to add it to the broth).


If adding meat –you can make mini meatballs quickly and easily to drop into the simmering broth. Simply season 1 pound ground meat with diced onion, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and dried herbs and form tiny meat balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Place them on a plate in the fridge until the broth is ready, them drop them in soup and simmer until they float.

Alternatively, you can brown slices of Italian sausage, chorizo or cooked chicken breast and add this to the simmering soup. There are lots of vegan meat substitutes out there too, like the vegan meatballs in the photos.