Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan Mofo # 26 Donna’s Tomato-Rice Soup...

Vegan Mofo # 26 Donna’s Tomato-Rice Soup

The Book - The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
The Author - Donna Klein
The Recipe -Tomato-Rice Soup
Page - 47
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - 45-60 minutes

When it comes to tomato soup, I’ve never been a fan. In fact since I was a child I’ve had a very strong - but not unjustified - aversion to it. Just looking at tomato soup or tomato sauce, particularly watching someone else eat it could be enough to make me gag. You see, when I was three I had a traumatic experience. I was excited to see my aunt who had just returned from Saudi Arabia, it had been raining out and in my excitement I neglected to remove my wet shoes when I entered my Oma’s house. As I excitedly ran through the kitchen, my wet feet slipped on her shiny linoleum floor and I fell, striking the linoleum front teeth first. My front teeth impacted right into my gums, and the blood just came pouring out. I know it hurt, but I don’t remember the pain. I remember my aunt holding me over the kitchen sink, rinsing my mouth out with cold water to try and slow the bleeding. I remember a cold rag being pressed into my mouth to dull the pain and soak up the blood, and I remember being rocked comfortingly in my Oma’s darkened living room. I have absolutely no memory of the dental surgery I went through afterwards, nor do I recall much of the few weeks that followed the incident, but one thing I do remember is tomato soup.

Canned tomato soup was one of the only things I could eat since it didn’t require me to chew, so for two weeks that’s pretty much all I ate. Now I was never that fond of tomato soup to begin with, so you can imagine how I felt after two weeks of being forced to eat it. For years and years after that I couldn’t even bare the thought of eating something that looked like tomato soup. I couldn’t even eat marinara sauce or any other kind of red sauce on spaghetti. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I could finally bring myself to eat tomato sauce or marinara, but I still couldn’t do tomato soup. Over the years I’ve become more open and accepting of saucy tomato dishes but it wasn’t until last month that I actually made and ate my first tomato soup since I was 3! It was a tomato saffron soup, and though I was skeptical, and though I still had awful memories of it, something inside me convinced me to make it. Surprisingly I loved it! It was delicious!

Then one afternoon last week I was flipping through my copy of The Mediterranean vegan Kitchen, browsing the soup section as it was a cold day and I was in the mood for a warming dish, I happened across this tomato rice soup. It reminded me of the tomato-rice soup my Oma makes. A soup which all my relatives seem to enjoy but which I can’t recall ever eating. I remember it always smelled good though, and thinking about those old days growing up my stomach suddenly started grumbling and I decided what the heck? I liked the last one, why not this one?

I bit the bullet and made it, and I was really surprised at how it turned out. I quite liked it although it wasn’t seasoned enough for me. I added much more basil, parsley, oregano, thyme and pepper then she suggests. Also using Aborrio rice is great if you want to cut down your cooking time and if you prefer a softer rice texture but I think next time I would use brown rice, as it yields a firmer texture and my opinion a better taste not to mention better quality nutrition. Also next time I think I would add in a can of tomato paste, I would have liked a stronger more powerful tomato flavor. Maybe it was just my tomatoes, maybe they weren’t ripe enough but I thought the tomato flavor in this soup was rather mild. In the end though this soup didn’t taste exactly as I had imagined it would I did enjoy it and my husband loved it. Served with some crusty Italian bread and a small salad on the side it’s the perfect way to end a cold winter night. I will definitely make this soup again with the above mentioned changes.

I am happy about the fact that I can finally eat tomato soup, although I have a very strong feeling that my acceptance of tomato soup is limited only to tomato soups that I make myself. I can’t imagine ever being able to eat a can of tomato soup, and I doubt I’ll ever feel the desire to eat tomato soup in a restaurant or someone else’s home. To this day I can’t drink tomato juice either, which I suppose isn’t such a bad thing right?


  1. WE LOVE TOMATO SOUP! I am going to try husband could eat a can of tomato soup everyday he loves it that much....even though I have been making a wide variety of homemade soups over the last couple of years he is more satisfied when he opens a can of tomato!...CRAZY! So since he loves tomato soup I will try this, it's much healthier than a canned soup! Let u know how it goes!!! S.T.

  2. This was a really good soup! I thought it was flavorful enough but I know how you love your spices. ;) Either way, if you made this again, I most definitely wouldn't be opposed to it. lol - Matt