Vegan Chunky Roasted Tomato Soup

Every Saturday I like to make my way down to Eastern Market. This is the biggest farmer’s market in Detroit, and has been an institution in the city since 1891. The history of the place incredibly, and you are able to get the freshest produce, and connect with local businesses from all over Detroit.

Last Saturday I ended up going down a bit late. I showed up around 3:15pm, and most vendors were packing up. I speed walked through the sheds, trying to find some fresh produce I could buy. I stumbled upon a stand that hadn’t packed up yet, and they were trying to get rid of all these tomatoes. The lovely folks running the stand sold me 13 big tomatoes for $4! I couldn’t pass up that deal. With a basket full of tomatoes in tow, I decided I would make some pasta sauce.

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So many beautiful tomatoes! How could I say no?

I started making pasta sauce, and then I tried it, and didn’t want to add anything else to the dish. So my pasta sauce became a chunky tomato soup. It’s so delicious!

The key is roasting the tomatoes before adding them to the pot. I am an umami addict, and roasted tomatoes are a staple when searching for vegan sources of savory goodness.  So without further ado, on to the recipe we go!

The first step is to chop the tomatoes in large chunks. This helps speed up the roasting process.

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Step 1: Cut your tomatoes into large chunks.

After those are cut up, I tossed them with olive oil and salt. The next step is to put them in a single layer on a pan, and throw them in the oven. I set my oven to 425 degrees, and roasted the tomatoes for 40 minutes.

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Step 2: Toss tomatoes with olive oil and salt. Put them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes.

While the tomatoes are roasting, you should start to prep the onions and garlic. For 14 tomatoes, I used three onions and a head of garlic. Chop the onions and garlic, and put them in a bowl for future use.

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Onions and garlic used for the soup.

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Onions and garlic are chopped and ready to go!

Once the tomatoes are looking nice and roasted (you can see the skin start to get wrinkly), pull them out and let them cool for a few minutes.

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Tomatoes looking nice and roasted!

The next step is to blend the tomatoes. I like chunky soup, so I only blended half of them. If you like your tomato soup really smooth, go ahead and blend all of them!

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Food processed half of the tomatoes so I can have some delicious chunks in my soup.

Once you’ve blended the tomatoes, we start cooking in the pot! Put some olive oil in a big pot, and sautee the onions and garlic until they start to look slightly transparent (about 3 minutes).

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Sautee the onions and garlic.

Once those are done cooking, add the tomato chunks and blended tomatoes. Don’t forget to add the liquid that came out when roasting! It has a ton of flavor. Let the mixture simmer for about 40 minutes, until you’re happy with the consistency.

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Soup is simmering!

Once you’re happy with the consistency, the soup is good to go! Add some salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t add any other herbs. I didn’t feel it needed it. The flavor of the tomatoes was too good on its own. Enjoy!!!

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All finished! A beautiful and delicious bowl of chunky roasted tomato soup.

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Recipe – serves 2

Cooking time – 2 hours; active time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion

Directions:

  1. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks.
  2. Toss tomato chunks with 1tbsp of olive oil and salt (sprinkle some on).
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Put tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet (with walls or else the juices will spill).
  5. Put tomatoes into oven. Bake for 40 minutes (or until they look wrinkly and roasted).
  6. Chop garlic and onions. Set aside.
  7. When the tomatoes are done, take out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  8. Blend tomatoes until a smooth consistency is reached. For chunky soup, blend half the tomatoes. For smooth soup, blend all of them.
  9. Sautee the garlic and onions in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until slightly translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  10. Add blended tomatoes, tomato chunks, and liquid left in the baking sheet after roasting.
  11. Simmer mixture for 40 minutes. Stir periodically.

NYC Vegan Food Tour

I recently went to NYC for the weekend to visit some friends. What’s a girl to do with a couple days in the big apple? Eat all the amazing vegan food, obviously!

(Please excuse the terrible photos. I forgot my camera all day and restaurant lighting is dark and terrible).

Restaurant #1 – Yum Yum Too

We arrived late and were STARVING. Luckily, my vegan friend who I was staying with new just the place a few blocks from her apartment (which is in Hell’s Kitchen). I had the mock duck. It was FANTASTIC.

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Rad Prik Tamarind with Mock Duck – Yum Yum Too

Restaurant #2 – La Palapa Cocina Mexicana

We spent the night drinking, and it was time for boozy brunch. Chosen by another friend, we made our to The Village to take advantage of their amazing brunch special. The food was alright, but we got a meal, side of fruit, tea, and a margarita for $20! A steal in the city.

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Molletes without Cheese – La Palapa Cocina Mexicana

Restaurant #3 – Meske Ethiopian Restaurant

It was now time for first dinner. I had reservations at another place at 10pm, so first dinner took place around 6pm. I hadn’t had Ethiopian food in a while, so I started to crave the spongy bread. We ventured out to Meske, in Hell’s Kitchen. I shared a vegetarian plate with my vegan friend, it was alright. Ethiopian never quite hits the spot like Asian food does.

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Vegetarian Plate – Meske Ethiopian Restaurant

Restaurant #4 – Ivan Ramen

This was the restaurant I was waiting for! Ivan (head chef at Ivan Ramen), had a Chef’s Table episode about him. Apparently he moved to Japan, became the best ramen shop in the country, and then moved to the States because he “experienced Japan.” What a badass. You don’t need reservations weeks in advance, just make them a few days ahead of time. This guy is the king of umami! Such good vegan ramen! He put roasted tomatoes in it! Amazing! *slurp slurp*

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Vegetarian Ramen – Ivan Ramen

 

Restaurant #5 – Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen

We went out in Brooklyn after the ramen, and it was now time for brunch again. I got my friends up and made them go to Blank Slate because I saw some pretty photos on instagram (yes, yes I am the worst I’m sorry). Too bad it was actually pretty good! I was hella basic and had avocado toast, but I’ll be damned if that wasn’t the best avocado test I’ve ever had. I also got a chai latte. It was delicious.

 

Restaurant #6 – Blank Slate Tea

Okay, so this isn’t really a restaurant. It’s a tea shop, directly adjacent to Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen. I had an earl grey lavender latte. It was very pretty, and the shop was all pink. Perfect pick me up before some more exploring!

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Earl Grey Latte with Lavender – Blank Slate Tea

Restaurant #7 – Kazunori: The Original Hand Roll Bar

Last stop of the weekend! We grabbed a few hand rolls before heading back to my friend’s apartment to watch the Super Bowl. Even though I don’t eat fish, the cucumber hand rolls were a perfect light snack before I gorged myself on vegan nachos and guac.

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Cucumber Hand Roll – Kazunori

‘Twas a good weekend filled with wonderful friends and amazing food. Thankfully we did so much walking, I only gained a pound or two! Shout out to the best hosts, who look so happy to see me!DSC_0603.jpg

-Nina

Detroit’s Best Vegan Food – 2018

I’ve been living in Detroit for over a year now, and I have been thoroughly impressed by the vegan food scene. There is an extensive list of restaurants that are fully vegan, or have solid vegan options available. Here are my top 10 favorites in 2018.

1. Detroit Vegan Soul

Address: 8029 Agnes St, Detroit, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $15-$25

This has to be the top restaurant on anyone’s vegan list. With two locations, either in Detroit’s historic West Village or in the Grandmont / Rosedale neighborhood, you have two opportunities to enjoy all the amazing vegan food this place has to offer. You can get some new takes on classics like vegan mac ‘n cheese, ‘catfish’ tofu, smothered tempeh, and seitan pepper steak. I came here for dinner with a friend, and left 25 pound heavier. It’s that good.

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Full spread from Detroit Vegan Soul. It includes catfish tofu, hush puppies, mac ‘n cheese, and potato salad!

2. Takoi

Address: 2520 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $40-$60

Takoi is a Thai-inspired Asian-fusion restaurant in Corktown, Detroit. Its menu changes constantly, creating new experiences every time you go there. Although not specifically vegan, the menu is clearly marked with vegan options and options that could be made vegan. I’ve never had a problem eating here.

Along with amazing food, Takoi also has some amazing cocktails. Make a night of this restaurant. They don’t take reservations, so you may be stuck waiting a while (especially on Friday and Saturday nights). Have no fear, they have a room specifically designed for waiting diners, full with a bar and DJ booth.

It’s not a cheap place to eat, but it’s an experience and well worth the money.

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One of the options at Takoi was this spicy mushroom dumpling soup. It was beautifully plated, and so so so delicious.

3. Korea Palace

Address: 34744 Dequindre Rd, Sterling Heights, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $15-$20

Okay, so this restaurant is hardly vegan. It’s super legit Korean food, and everything on the menu has some sort of fish in it. However, get the tofu bi-bim-bap (and make sure to say “No egg!”), and your world will change. Located in the Sterling Heights/Madison Heights area, it’s right in the center of all the amazing Asian restaurants.

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Some tofu bi bim bap from the most authentic Korean restaurant I have ever been to. Who would’ve thought you could find this in Detroit?

4. Que Huong

Address: 30820 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $10-$20

Okay, also pretty far off from a vegan restaurant. This little whole in the wall pho restaurant makes some amazingly authentic Vietnamese food. Madison Heights has a ton of Vietnamese immigrants (so it obviously has the best food). Just ask for some vegan pho, and you’ll be presented with a delicious, steaming bowl of noodles for like $8.

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Vegan pho from Que Huong. This has become a weekly meal for me at this point. So cheap, so good.

5. Russell Street Deli

Address: 2465 Russell St, Detroit, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $10-$20

It took me a while to make it to this restaurant. Located by the historic Eastern Market (which you should all absolutely go to!), I never thought that a deli would have anything remotely vegan. Boy was I wrong. They make a delicious TLT (tofu, lettuce, and tomato!). I think there’s other vegan options there, but I was waaaayyy to into my tofu.

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I never thought I would find vegan sandwiches at a historic deli. Luckily, they went out of their way to make this amazing TLT (tofu, lettuce, and tomato).

6. Ima

Address: 2015 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $20-$40

This is an absolute must on anyone’s restaurant list, even if they’re not vegan. The chef made a completely vegetarian friendly menu. The menu features Japanese udon bowls, curries, and other small Asian inspired plates. It’s a small restaurant, so get there early or be prepared to wait. It’s on the pricier side, but worth every penny. Also located in historic Corktown, Detroit (I swear, this is where all the good food is).

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Ima is a vegan heaven. This mushroom udon dish is no joke.

7. Urban Ramen

Address: 4206 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $15-$25

Urban ramen has a small but mighty menu. Located in Midtown, this restaurant has its roots in LA. The second ever location is right here in Detroit, and it is absolutely fantastic. They have three ramen options, and one is vegan! You’ll have some amazing food for only around $15. Be careful, this place is new and tiny tiny tiny. For a group of four, we had to wait around 45 minutes on a Friday night.

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The vegan ramen option at Urban Ramen is so good! And it’s one of their three menu items.

8. Greenspace Cafe

Address: 215 W Nine Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $15-$30

Greenspace is a vegan paradise. They’ve got all the tofu, tempeh, and seitan you would ever want. Their food is very wholesome (tons of fresh veggies, classic vegan proteins). You know exactly what you’re eating, and the freshness is just… well, refreshing. They also make a mean vegan brunch (for when you reallyyyyy need that french toast). No vegan brunch is complete without some vegan cocktails, which they have plenty of.

If you want a sit down experience, definitely go to the location in Ferndale. The decor is beautiful, and nothing beats sitting outside on a beautiful summer day. If you’re in a rush, stop by Greenspace Cafe To Go in Royal Oak. They have a smaller menu, with offerings perfect for when you’re in a rush.

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A bowl from Greenspace to go. Full of tempeh, noodles, and kale!

9. Ale Mary’s

Address: 316 S Main St, Royal Oak, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $10-$25

Ale Mary’s hasn’t always been vegan-friendly. However, they recently released an entire vegan menu! If you want bar food, definitely go here. They have tons of dishes made with “impossible meats.” My personal favorite is their buffalo cauliflower. They also have a bunch of vegan milkshakes available, with the option of getting them spiked with rum. Could it get any better?

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Some nomz from the Oktoberfest menu at Ale Mary’s. We had the buffalo cauliflower and some beer brats!

10. Detroit Institute of Bagels

Address: 1236 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI
Expected Cost / Person: $5-$15

This place is mostly not-vegan, but they have some hidden gems. DIB (Detroit Institute of Bagels) has the absolute best bagels in town, and it’s located in none other than the famous foodie neighborhood of Corktown. They specialize in bagel sandwiches, and my favorite item is the “Lost Elmo” on an everything bagel. They smother the bagel in hummus, and add avocado, cucumber, pepper, and arugula. SO GOOD.

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The Lost Elmo at DIB. Non-vegans, get this too.