Roasted tomatoes and garlic, sautéed onions, a dash of balsamic vinegar, and a handful of bonito flakes (yes, dehydrated fish flakes!) give this salt free soup so much flavor. Bonito flakes are low in sodium (50 mg per cup) and give the soup a subtle smokey, savory taste without making it taste fishy.
Servings: makes 5 cups
Sodium: 15 mg per cup (using water and without adding any cream)
Time: 30 minutes active, 40 minutes to roast tomatoes
2 pounds tomatoes of your choice, halved (I used Roma tomatoes, about 10 medium sized)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 large onion, sliced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water (or low sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock)
1/2 cup (about 5 grams) bonito flakes
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream, whole milk, or coconut milk
1) Roast the tomatoes - preheat oven to 400°F. Place tomatoes and garlic on a foil or parchment lined roasting pan and drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and black pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes.
2) While the tomatoes are roasting, sauté the onion. Combine sliced onion and 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot and cook on high until the onions start to brown. When they start to brown, add 1/4 cup water and continue to cook until the water evaporates. Do this again with another 1/4 cup of water and let the water evaporate again. Continue to cook the onions until they get brown. This total process takes about 20 minutes.
3) Once the tomatoes and garlic are roasted, add them to the pot with the onions. Add oregano, paprika, sugar, tomato paste, and 2 cups of water and stir to combine. Simmer on low for 10 minutes, covered.
4) Turn off the stove and add 1/2 cup of bonito flakes and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender and serve with fresh basil and crusty cheese bread. If you like your soup creamy, add heavy cream, milk, or coconut milk after blending.
-Modifications: You can also cook the onions a bit longer until they are soft and caramelized. I like this soup with either sautéed onions or caramelized onions or shallots, it just depends on my mood. For a little bit of spice, add cayenne pepper along with the paprika. Fried shallots make a great topping if you don't have any crusty bread on hand.
-I leave the seeds and peel on my tomatoes but you can peel and core them if you'd like.
-Bonito flakes are sold at most Asian markets and also available online. Here's what mine look like:
Here's a website that provides a nice overview of bonito flakes. I know it sounds strange to add dried fish flakes to tomato soup but give it a try! Cutting out salt means getting creative about the ingredients we use and this is truly one of the most flavorful additions you can make to salt free dishes.