I grew up in a very small touristy town and one of my first jobs was as a coffee-girl at a quaint and traditional restaurant called The Golden Apple. I would greet each table with a basket of freshly made sticky buns and tea biscuits, I’d stop by the table again after the waitress had served the main course with a selection of relishes that people could dollop on their entrees and then I’d come by again after the meal to serve coffee. Sounds very old-school huh?
It was actually a great job and I learned a lot about manners, traditions and how to make a killer bloody Caesar from Spindle the friendly bartender (yes I was 13 at the time!)
Aside from the baskets full of sticky buns that I regularly tucked into my favourite food on the menu was a divine homemade tomato macaroni soup. Occasionally they would have some left over after my shift and Bert and Mo the chefs would let me haul containers of it home to share with my family. Oh the tomato noodley goodness.
These cooler days have got me hankering for a warm soup and Tomato Macaroni sounds just about perfect. The real beauty of this soup is that it’s so easy to make – you roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic in the oven and then pop them in the blender with a few extras and voila it’s done!
I made mine with regular macaroni noodles but you could use rice noodles to make it gluten-free and be sure to keep the noodles separate from the soup until you are ready to serve so that they don’t get too mushy.
This one’s for all the former Coffee-Girls who schlepped the mustard-pickle relish, quick-dipped the silver before every shift and wore white nurses dresses with apple-printed aprons over top. Those were the days.
Vegan Creamy Tomato Macaroni Soup (adapted from Vegan Lunch Box, Jennifer McCann)
Approx 25 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like your soup)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups of water (start with 1 cup and add more if necessary to thin soup)
1 28oz can organic diced tomatoes with juices (I like Eden Organics)
1 pkg regular or rice macaroni noodles
Additional Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400.
Put cut tomatoes, onion and garlic into a large bowl and toss with olive oil and sea salt.
Arrange on 2 baking sheets placing tomatoes cut side down.
Place in the oven and roast for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Working in batches – puree tomatoes, onion, garlic, water, fresh basil and red pepper flakes in a blender. (If you don’t have a high-powered blender you might want to strain the soup after blending to remove seeds and skins of the tomatoes). Pour the blended soup into a large pot and add the can of diced tomatoes and juice. If you like a really smooth soup you could puree the can of diced tomatoes too before you add them. Heat gently on low/medium heat.
Cook your macaroni noodles according to package directions and drain. Put a big scoop of noodles in the bottom of a bowl and ladle a generous serving of soup over top. Add salt and pepper to taste. Yum!