Mexican Tomato Soup & Jalapeno Grilled Cheese
I made this for my besties when they came down for our annual Birthday Girls Weekend. This was the PERFECT fall lunch. Scratch that - the perfect LUNCH. Period. Its warm, comforting, light, and spicy. I have dreams about making this again. I was inspired by a tomato soup I had from my favorite vegan café in San Antonio, Miss Chickpea's Cafétal. I didn't even know such a thing existed. To me, tomato soup is kind of...played out. But THIS was different. Y'all know how I feel about Mexican food. I was shook.
In my research, I relied on Simple Vegan Blog and the veggie king, Jamie Oliver. This is my adaptation of these already stellar recipes. I highly recommend clicking the links to see the original recipes.
Tomatoes harness critical micronutrients, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals to support many functions of the liver, such as lycopene. Lycopene is used by the liver to shield itself from cell damage, plus lycopene helps the liver detox red blood cells safely, smoothly, and efficiently.
The fruit acids in tomatoes help keep the gallbladder healthy, helping rid sludge from the gallbladder and even reduce gallstone size. Even poorly grown tomatoes have a high mineral content. These minerals often get to the deep, inner core of the liver, helping prevent disease where it commonly starts for people.
Tomatoes grow at night, under the moonlight, and the liver also responds to moonlight. When it’s a full moon, the liver tends to work harder at cleaning, filtering, and processing in the wee hours of the morning. When organic or heirloom tomatoes are in the diet, the full moon energy that they collected during their growing cycle works with the liver’s ability to cleanse.
If you’re avoiding tomatoes due to trendy nightshade hatred that constantly recirculates over and over again, you’re missing out on keeping your liver healthy and preventing disease (I'm looking at you, Tom Brady).
Mexican Tomato Soup
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 gloves of garlic, chopped
2 - 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
1 - 12 oz. jar of roasted red bell peppers
I cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp of Mexican Oregano
1 tsp coconut sugar
Heat a deep sauce pot over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add the diced tomatoes, red bell peppers, almond milk, cilantro, red pepper flakes, Mexican oregano, and coconut sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
You can go two routes here: if you have an immersion blender, use that to blend the soup in the pot. BE CAREFUL of splatter. This is the recommended option.
The second route is to pour the soup into a blender in batches to blend. Make sure you vent the top a bit, so you don't have a boiling hot lava tomato soup explosion. Again, BE CAREFUL.
Serve immediately with extra cilantro, pepper flakes, lime juice, or green onions. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Jalapeno Grilled Cheese
I cup of raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour in boiling water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic
3/4 cup of almond milk, unsweetened and unflavored
3/4 tsp salt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapenos
Gluten free vegan bread of choice. I like this brand.
1 tbsp. of olive oil
Combine the cashews, vinegar, garlic, almond milk, salt, and lemon juice in a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy.
Pour cheese base into a small saucepan over medium low heat. Allow to heat up but keep a constant eye on it, because it can clump and burn really quickly. As it begins to get hot, stir regularly (every 1-2 minutes) with a spatula. The sauce will continue to thicken the longer you cook it. After about 10 minutes, add the chopped pickled jalapenos and continue to stir regularly for another 10-15 minutes.
When the mixture becomes stiff (not smooth like like queso), remove from heat and transfer to a small dish lined with parchment paper. Allow to cool at room temperature before covering and placing in the fridge.
Now, when I made this the first time we couldn't wait. We let it cool for about 20 minutes before spreading it on some gluten free vegan bread and toasting it up in the pan. The second time I made this, I made the cheese the day before. Either way works, although if you're short on time I would make the cheese in advance.
To make the sandwiches, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil to the pan. While the pan is heating up, spread a THICC layer of jalapeno cheese on one slice of bread, top it with the second slice, and place gently in the pan. Cook 3 - 5 minutes until its golden brown, and flip to the other side to cook for another 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cut at a diagonal because you're not a monster, and serve immediately. Enjoy and stay warm, friends!
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