This is something I came up with about 10 years ago. It’s disgustingly easy to make, dirt cheap, vibrant in flavor, filling, entirely real, salt-free, and completely microwaveable. Also diet-smart: eating this every day for lunch, along with a veggie burger or a half-cup of beans for protein, helped me lose 20 pounds in a couple of months. And I’m not naturally good at that.
This vegetable soup has no salt, but it has lots of flavor and lots of vegetables–not a coincidence. The flavor of the vegetables melds with the dill and pepper and garlic, and there’s no salt to drown it out. So instead of being insipid, it, like many homemade soups, gets better the next day. And it takes maybe 15 minutes from start to finish for about 2 quarts of soup, fully cooked.
The trick to getting the most flavor from the vegetables without salt? Wilt the “aromatics” (onion, celery, and carrots) together first, with a little olive oil and nothing else for a few minutes, and then add the liquids and herbs. The order really makes a difference: your aromatics will release a lot more flavor this way than if you added them raw to the liquid ingredients and cooked it all together from the start (see, sometimes the French are right). The small amount of olive oil also helps draw out and trap the flavors (some flavors are fat-soluble) without adding a lot of calories.
High-speed Tomato Vegetable Soup
- 3 big carrots, peeled and chopped bite-size
- 3 stalks celery in bite-size pieces
- 1 big onion, diced
- drizzle (1-2 T) olive oil
- 1 28-oz can or 2 15-oz cans salt-free tomatoes in their own juice (e.g., Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods)
- 1 big clove garlic, grated or minced
- 2-3 T fresh chopped dill or 1 T dried dill
- 12 or so whole black peppercorns
1. In 2.5 qt pyrex bowl (or the like), mix onions, carrots, and celery. Drizzle olive oil over and stir lightly to mix. Put the lid over (I use a Corelle dinner plate, how chic) and microwave 5 min. on HIGH.
2. Pour the tomatoes and juice over the wilted vegetables, and break up the tomatoes to bite-size pieces as best possible. Add water to within an inch of the top, stir.
3. Add garlic, dill, and peppercorns, cover and microwave 5 min. to heat through.
4. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight to meld and sweeten the flavors.