Tomato Pancetta Soup

I love soup. Some people don't like to eat soup in the Summer––but I love it all year round! I used to always order soup whenever my friends and I got lunch at our local deli, even when they decreased their stock to just a handful of soup options for the warmer months. My absolute favorite type of soup is pasta e fagioli––but I've yet to figure out how to paleo-fy that one. I also love all things tomato and soup is no exception, so, creamy tomato soup was always my second choice at the deli! I prefer my soups to be smooth and creamy––not chunky like chicken noodle soup. My first few weeks of experimentation with a Paleo lifestyle took place in a dorm room in Manhattan. I didn't have any real options for eating my meals out, but I also didn't have much room for different kitchen appliances like a food processor or a blender! Enter my beloved immersion blender. This blender was the greatest thing I ever spent any money on. I immediately used it to make a tasty broccoli soup and then this tomato soup––except then, I used bacon. Both soups were so delicious, I packed them in mason jars and took them to class with me for lunch for the week! One of my best friends from school and I were having lunch together the first day I brought this tomato soup and I had her try some. She took a spoonful, her face changed and she looked like she was tasting a sour warhead candy or something similar. I didn't know what was wrong, I thought the soup was so good, and she clearly didn't like it. I asked her what was wrong with the soup and she said it didn't taste like tomato soup. I told her she was crazy, this was just like the tomato soup I used to get at my deli, but with the added bonus of bacon (though, I actually think the pancetta is better). I sarcastically asked her what kind of tomato soup she was eating, and to my surprise she answered "Campbell's." Oh. Well, that made sense. Campbell's is way too sweet and has so many sneaky ingredients that super stimulate your taste buds. If the tomato soup flavor you're looking for is similar to that of Campbell's, you are most certainly in the wrong place. This is definitely not Campbell's tomato soup, or anything close to it, it's a more authentic, rustic, Italian flavor––which I prefer anyway!

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Tomato Soup with Pancetta

Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 35 min Total Time: 45 min Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

  • ¼lb pancetta, chopped (can substitute prosciutto or bacon)

  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp coconut milk

  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

  • 1 tbsp honey (omit for Whole30)

  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crispy and golden (about 5 minutes). Remove pancetta from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.

  2. Add the vidalia onion and saute until almost caramelized (about 6-7 minutes).

  3. Add the broth, water, crushed tomatoes and their juice, coconut milk, honey, basil, and oregano.

  4. Optionally, use an immersion blender to blend all contents of the pot until smooth. *Skip this if you prefer the chunkier soup.

  5. Add the pancetta back to the pot (I like to keep some separate for garnish) along with the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let simmer for another 15 minutes.

  6. Top with some extra pancetta, serve hot with olive oil crackers on the side, and enjoy!

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