When it comes to my cooking abilities, I’m fairly confident that I can whip up something satisfying no matter the circumstance. Give me a random hodgepodge of ingredients, and it’ll look like a mini version of Chopped in my kitchen. In the event that I’m feeding someone who is scared to try new things or has dietary restrictions, I can always come up with a healthy dish that pleases the company. I like expanding my repertoire by trying recipes from other cultures, broadening my horizons by using new spices/blends and superfoods, and giving myself options by testing out substitutions.
One thing I’ve never completely figured out is raw soups. It seems simple enough. It is a savory version of sweeter smoothies I make all the time. Same concept, different flavor profile. I think the problem is that I think too much about it being a soup and end up muddling the flavors. Cooked soups get rich flavor from several things that are not available to me when making it raw. Cooked soups often begin with sweating onion and garlic in oil, followed by a hearty stock and sometimes a bouquet garni, all of which infuse the soup with a mouthwatering aroma.
When it comes to my own recipes, I’m used to winging it. I’m not yet comfortable doing this with raw soups. I’ve made a few raw soup recipes that were very good (like Natalia KW’s savory green smoothie and the celeriac and green apple soup from Raw Food, Real World), but haven’t been able to make anything recipe-worthy on my own until now. Again, I think I’m making it harder than it needs to be. Some things that I think would be useful to me when making raw soups are things like sun-dried tomatoes with their concentrated, tart sweetness, umami flavor in nama shoyu or nooch, and nuts/seeds or avocado to give the soup a creamy consistency (instead of potatoes or beans/legumes which I’d use in creamy hot soups).
When I saw the image and description of the Peters Pot soup from Quintessence on a recent Choosing Raw post, I made a beeline for the kitchen. I was mostly driven by a hankering for some dulse, which might just be my favorite seaweed. The Quintessence soup was an inspirational starting point and my recipe kept evolving as I went along. I kept wishing I had a yellow pepper, but made due with the red pepper I had in the fridge. Yellow and orange peppers are some of my favorite vegetables, but it’s uncommon to find them organic around here. At least I can find organic red ones, right? This lovely soup resulted after just one try! I could eat a whole batch of this soup straight from the blender. Perhaps I’m starting to get the hang of this raw soup thing.
Have you eaten at Quintessence before? It is high on my list of restaurants to eat at next time I’m in New York. Everything I’ve seen from them looks outstanding. If you try out my soup, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below. Enjoy!
Creamy Garden Tomato Soup
makes 6 cups
1 ½ lbs. tomatoes (about 4-5 medium-sized tomatoes)
1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup carrot juice, (4 large carrots, juiced)
1/2 c basil, tightly packed
1/4 c parsley, tightly packed
1 heaping T dill
2 t dulse flakes
1 t raw coconut aminos*
1/8 t turmeric
dash white pepper
hemp seeds, garnish
basil, chiffonade, garnish
diced cucumber and red bell pepper**
other chopped herbs
-Juice the carrots.
-Add the juice with all other ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth.
-Add garnishes if desired.
*If you don’t have coconut aminos or are allergic to coconut, you can use nama shoyu, tamari, or braggs liquid aminos. They are all slightly different in the strength of flavor, so I would start with 1/2 t and increase from there. Also, if you have food sensitivities, note that these substitutes contain wheat and/or soy.
**Sometimes I’m not in the mood for a strictly creamy soup. Diced veggies add texture and a nice crunch. Don’t load the soup with them though! A little bit will do the trick.