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Lowfat Roma Tomato Basil Soup


My initial joy in discovering an online recipe for Nordstrom Café’s fabulous Roma Tomato Basil soup was quickly quashed — it calls for TWO cups of heavy cream (adding more than 170 grams of fat and 1,600 calories)!

Edited version: My first attempt at a healthier soup involved substituting fat-free half-and-half for the cream. This resulted in an odd sweetness ; not terrible, but certainly not Nordstrom-worthy. I tried it again with a can of fat-free evaporated milk. Voila! Pure tomato perfection.

Roma Tomato Basil Soup. (adapted from Recipezaar)

2 T. olive oil
5 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T. dry basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 (14.5-oz.) cans peeled roma tomatoes (regular diced tomatoes work fine)
1 quart (4 c.) chicken or vegetable broth
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated skim milk
Chopped fresh basil for garnish (highly recommended)

Heat olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan. Add carrots, onion, garlic and basil and cook on medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.* Add tomatoes and broth and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Puree soup in blender or food processor, in batches, until smooth; return to saucepan. (An immersion blender would likely also work well here. It’s on my list**.) Stir in evaporated milk and heat (on low) just until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with basil and serve. Makes 15 to 20 servings.

*NOTE: After blowing the lid off my blender and spraying hot, red (stains everything!) mess everywhere, I discovered an easier, faster method: after sautéing the vegetables, add half the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft. Allow to cool slightly, then puree mixture in batches with the tomatoes and remaining broth – enough to fill the blender about half full each time. Return entire mixture to stove and simmer for 10-15 minutes before adding evaporated milk.

**Update (March 2011): Finally acquired an immersion blender and tried it with this soup. HIGHLY recommend.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/02 2:22 PM

    It was shocking to me to discover the number of calories for this soup in its original form so I’m so glad that you have been experimenting. As soon as the temperature drops below 100 I will make!

    Love the layout of your blog.

  2. Jennifer permalink*
    10/02 3:49 PM

    @Kim — I know! I felt like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode where she discovers the fat-free frozen yogurt is anything but… Now to figure out a healthier version of the Nordstrom parmesan toasts. :-)

  3. Catherine permalink
    10/02 5:28 PM

    An immersion blender is key!!!

    • Jennifer permalink*
      10/22 12:20 PM

      That’s why I’m glad Christmas is coming up!

  4. Beth permalink
    10/05 6:25 PM

    I have been eying (which looks weird, but is correct, along with eyeing!) this recipe in my box for years–I’ll give your version a try…maybe tomorrow! Thanks! (It is below 100 here–in fact it was about 40 when we woke up this morning. Burr…)

    • Jennifer permalink*
      10/22 12:21 PM

      Let me know when you do. I’d love suggestions for improving it.

  5. Cindy permalink
    08/14 11:40 AM

    What is the nutrition list on this recipe please

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