You ease into it. Life’s schedule after the holiday season. You have a sneaking suspicion that the coming months will drag on until the big thaw in late spring. Because that’s how it happens every year. There’s less excitement in the air, and it’s just a bit sad and gray.
That’s the cue for soup season.
Cozy in a bowl. Especially with this baby. It’s become one of my favorites to make in colder weather (and boy is it cold lately!) because it’s a classic tomato base with healthier chickpeas to thicken it and balsamic to give it a kick. Bonus: without the cheesy toast, it’s also vegan! Coconut milk is the creamy base to provide the backbone and a mild flavor profile.
The cheesy-toast-as-a-soup-topper idea is nothing new for the traditional French Onion Soup, but combining the classic grilled cheese with tomato soup in this same manner is a genius idea from the mind of Deb in her new cookbook. Seriously the best thing since sliced bread. Here, I used it to add some tang to the soup with sharp cheese, Dijon mustard, and sourdough bread. It all gets broiled on top of each bowl of soup to bubbly, crispy perfection.
And speaking of sourdough, while I still haven’t gotten my bread recipe quite right, I did share this pizza crust recipe a while back with some of the magic and science behind sourdough. Check it out for some hints as to why sourdough lends a tangy flavor, and why it’s sooo interesting.
And there you have it. A new take on the tomato soup winter survival tactic. I mentioned earlier that this soup is made with coconut milk, but you can swap it for heavy cream, or blend with a bit of water as well to be lower fat (though it will be thinner in consistency). If you’re going to skip the toasty bread component, I highly recommend topping with some crispy, spiced chickpeas so that you can add something special and a texture differential to the bowl.
Now get on this soup stat! xo
Tomato and Chickpea Soup with Broiled Dijon Cheese Toasts
Adapted from Love & Lemons
For the Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, separated in instructions
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
3 sprigs thyme
1 16-oz can drained and rinsed chickpeas, separated in instructions
1 13.5-oz can coconut milk, full fat or light
1 ½ cups water
½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
Red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper
For the Toasts
1 cup shredded sharp white or yellow cheddar cheese
- Heat oil in a medium pot. Add the onion, garlic, and a few pinches salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is becoming translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the paprika and stir into the onions and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds or so until fragrant.
- Add ½ tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar and stir in. Add the tomatoes and sprigs of thyme. Once combined, add half of the can of chickpeas, coconut milk, and water. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Uncover, and turn off the heat. Blend the soup either with an immersion blender or in batches in your blender until it is the consistency you like. Return to the soup pot and add the parmesan cheese, remainder of the chickpeas, the remainder of the balsamic, and a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes (reduce if you are sensitive to heat). Add salt and pepper to taste once the cheese has melted. If you feel like you’d like some more acidity, add another glug of balsamic.
- Transfer soup to oven-safe mugs or bowls. Top each with a slice of sourdough bread smeared with Dijon mustard. Top with the cheddar cheese, dividing evenly among the four (1/4 cup per piece). Sprinkle with additional black and red pepper, if desired.
- Broil, on the top rack of the oven, on high until the bread is toasted and the cheese is all melty. Keep a close eye! Remove from the oven when done, let cool until the mugs are safe to handle, and eat up!