Spring is finally approaching but we're still in need of some warm comfort food. Tomato soup is such a classic that you can't go wrong! Roasting the ingredients really intensifies the flavour and actually makes it more nutritious — sometimes nature is on our side!
Cooking tomatoes actually makes them more nutritious. This is because the phytochemical lycopene, responsible for the vibrant red colour, is more easily absorbed once cooked. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects — it's particularly beneficial for males because it can significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Plus it's thought to lower your risk of having a stroke and might even protect against osteoporosis. So much nourishment packed into a little humble tomato!
1 kg plum tomatoes
1 large red onion
6 garlic cloves
200g passata (or use tinned tomatoes)
500ml vegetable stock
2-3 handfuls of fresh basil leaves
2 TBSP olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Slice the tomatoes in half and place on a baking tray. Toss in 1 TBSP olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add the garlic cloves (skin on) to the tray and place it in the oven for 40-50 minutes.
Add 1 TBSP olive oil to a pan on a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for ~10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Add the roasted tomatoes to the pan. Peel the garlic cloves and add them in too. The tray might have some run off liquid from the tomatoes which you should add in too.
Add the passata and vegetable stock. Cover over and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add in the basil and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Season with salt & pepper and blend until smooth.
Serve with a sprig of fresh basil and a grating of parmesan.