Tomato soup and grilled cheese were staples growing up. The moment that can of soup was mixed with milk and I had globs of cheese oozing from the bread as I dipped it, corner by corner, into the soup (which was filled with soggy saltines), I was in heaven. This was always my lunch of choice after a snowy afternoon with my brother spent sliding down our steep backyard on the lids of old garbage cans.
Now, I still crave that "comfort" food, but not out of a can. Below is a homemade tomato soup and a spin on grilled cheese: grilled avocado sandwich. The healthy fats from an avocado are filling, creamy and delightful. Add a thin spread of hummus, and you have even more iron and protein in every bite.
3 tbs. olive oil
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry sherry (or soy milk)
3 cups canned whole tomatoes, with juice
2 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
pepper, to taste
vegan sour cream (or a dollop of greek yogurt), optional
handful of pumpkin seeds, optional
In a pot, pour in the olive oil and saute all vegetables until they begin to "sweat." Add wine, tomatoes, broth and bay leaf. Cover and simmer until veggies are tender (around 10 minutes). In small batches, pour into blender and puree until smooth. Season with pepper. (Add more stock if it's too thick.) Top with vegan sour cream and pumpkin seeds.
Grilled Avocado Sandwich
4 slices bread (whatever you desire: thick greek toast, Ezekial bread, pitas, tortillas)
1 large ripe avocado, sliced thinly
vegan mayo, optional
Spread one side of bread with mustard, mayo and a small amount of hummus. Add a few slices of avocado on bread, and place another slice on top. Heat a skillet over medium with a bit of olive oil and place the sandwich in the skillet (or, if you have a panini press, use it here). Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, pressing down with a spatula and flip, cooking for the same amount of time. Slice and serve with soup!