Cold Weather Comfort Food Veganized

When the autumn and winter seasons approach us, I find myself strongly desiring comfort, warmth and ooey gooey cheese. The winter is when most people seem to gain weight and let’s face it, we ALL know it’s because of all the goodies that come with the season. Thanksgiving, Christmas and family gatherings full of decadent desserts, hearty meals and CHEEEEEEESE (and booze).

Moving on, I wanted to satisfy my comfort food craving for something lighter, vegan, nourishing and easy to make. This tomato basil bisque soothes the soul, warms the bones and really hits the spot. Making your own croutons (pumpernickel is what I chose) removes the suspicion of what ingredients are used to make your crunchy bites of deliciousness. Another plus? Your house smells delicious as a result. Now get cracking and write this recipe down and try it tomorrow!

Tomato-Basil Bisque with Pumpernickel Croutons (modified from Chloe’s Kitchen)
Serves: 4

What You Need:
For the Pumpernickel croutons:
4 slices of fresh pumpernickel croutons, cubed
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the soup:
1 can of whole tomatoes (unsalted and its it liquid-READ THE INGREDIENTS)
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (half a lemon)
1 teaspoon dried basil
Sea salt & Black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil for garnish

How You Make It:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl (or even on the baking sheet), toss bread cubes with oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. On a separate baking sheet, spread tomatoes, garlic and onions. Drizzle olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3. Put both baking sheets in the oven. Roast veggies for up to 30 minutes or until tomatoes are lightly browned and caramelized. Bake croutons for 25 minutes, turning with spatula every 10 minutes.

4. Transfer roasted veggies and canned tomatoes to blender. Pulse until a desired consistency is achieved. Transfer soup mixture into a large pot and add broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Mix in brown sugar, basil and lemon juice. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve garnished with croutons and basil. Enjoy!

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