A rich & creamy vegan tomato soup is a meal in itself, with gnocchi & delicious roasted aubergine (eggplant) croutons. An easy family dinner that will please everyone.
Do you ever struggle to prepare food that meets everyone’s likes and dislikes? Family meal preparation is an exercise in compromise, at least in this house. Nobody is particularly fussy, but everyone has their favourite ingredients, and those that they don’t like so much. Creating meals that balance everyone’s preferences can be difficult.
Likes and dislikes
For instance, I love soup, and I love gnocchi, but DH doesn’t really like either of them. I’m not sure what his problem is with soup, but gnocchi get a bad rap because they’re so carb-dense that as a diabetic he can only eat a small amount. So he still feels hungry when he’s finished. I’ve played around with ways to cook and serve gnocchi for ages, trying to find a recipe that was acceptable to everyone.
I hoped that this gnocchi and tomato soup would a) be super-delicious, and b) have enough carb-less food in it that wasn’t gnocchi, such that DH would be happy to eat a big bowl of it and leave the table feeling full. I also had to bear in mind that my daughter Kipper, who really isn’t a fussy eater, doesn’t like tomatoes. Everyone’s allowed one food they dislike, right?!
The tomato soup base was pretty straightforward. I added carrots for added fibre and texture, plenty of garlic and fresh basil for flavour, and a good dollop of coconut cream (you could use dairy cream) for a silky finish. We persuaded Kipper that this was really just ketchup in the form of soup, and she nommed it down. WIN!
I find soup quite filling anyway, but to further bolster the meal for DH, I roasted diced aubergines (eggplant) to make crispy and delicious croutons. We piled them on top of the soup and they added a rich flavour as well as looking lovely and helping to fill our tummies.
Of all the ways I’ve served gnocchi, I think this has been the closest to winning universal approval round the family table. DH had plenty to eat, Kipper happily scoffed a bowl of creamy tomato soup, and I got to enjoy soup and gnocchi – two of my favourite foods! A happy compromise indeed.
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Tomato soup with gnocchi and aubergine croutons
- 1 large aubergine
- 6 tbsp olive oil - divided
- 2 medium onions
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 3 medium carrots
- 400 g tin peeled tomatoes (14 oz)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 500 ml hot vegetable stock (2 cups + 3 tbsp)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 50 ml coconut cream (approx. ¼ cup)
- Generous handful torn basil leaves
- 500 g bag potato gnocchi (17.6 oz)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Cut the aubergine into 1cm (0.4 inches) dice, toss with 3 tbsp of the olive oil, and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes until cooked - soft within and crispy at the edges.
- Meanwhile, make the soup. Peel and dice the onions, and peel and crush the garlic cloves. Heat the remaining 3 tbsp oil in a large pan and saute the onions and garlic over a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft.
- Peel and dice the carrots and add to the pan. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, and break them up with a spoon. Add the tomato puree and stock, stir well, reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes.
- Blend the soup until very smooth. Season to taste and stir in the coconut cream. Add the torn basil leaves and keep warm, but do not allow to boil.
- Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the packet. Drain.
- Divide the gnocchi between 4 bowls, and top with soup. Sprinkle over the roasted aubergine croutons, or serve separately and invite diners to help themselves.
If you love soup as much as I do, why not try this lovely smooth parsnip, pear and ginger soup, or creamy courgette and potato soup. If you prefer something chunky how about delicious mushroom soup with freekeh or sweet and sour cabbage and tomato soup with rice.