Tomato Basil Soup

Why yes; I do realize it's almost 100 degrees outside (and feels like 200 around here because of the humidity. I swear to goodness you can cut the air with a knife and serve it up for lunch.) But inside it's cool and comfy - thank God for air conditioning! I can't imagine living without A/C, and yes, I know I'm contributing to a possible future energy crisis, but right now I can't think about that. I'll think about it tomorrow. Afterall, tomorrow is another day. And yes; that is in fact tomato soup. That I made and we devoured in July. But it was so good. And so healthful, too!

I finally got to use my immersion blender. I'm sure I could have used it a hundred times before, but although I like to use kitchen gadgets (the ones that actually come in handy) I despise washing most of them because they have so many bits and pieces. I figured this one would be a pain to clean, too, but luckily it wasn't. It was, however, one powerful puppy. I liked that.

I added cooked bulgur to my soup so that it would eat more like a meal. Bulgur is my new obsession, but pasta (preferably whole wheat if you want to stay in the healthful column), brown rice or even a big handful of chopped summer squash or zucchini would be great additions and add even more nutrients to this powerful soup.

Without using cream (but adding a sprinkling of parm as I did) you have a bowl of low-fat, low-calorie goodness. In fact, this is one meal I've been eating a lot of to help me become ... less fluffy this summer. I've made creamy tomato soup before, too, and it was fabulous, but it's really a waste of calories if you ask me. I'd choose this soup over that one anytime - it's better for my conscience, my heart and my hips!

Tomato-Basil Soup
Found on Weight Watchers Core Plan Message Board

1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
Crushed garlic (jarred or fresh will work)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs
1 small can tomato paste
32 oz. vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T. Sugar (or Splenda) - optional, but I used sugar because I don't use Splenda
Fresh whole basil leaves, rinsed

1. Sautee garlic and onions in olive oil until onion is really soft.

2. Add remaining ingredients, except basil, and cook over medium-low heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.

3. Add fresh basil. Cool soup and put in blender (or use immersion blender/blending wand) to puree the soup. Add bulgur, rice, pasta etc., top with cheese, croutons, etc. and serve hot.

*This would freeze well, and it keeps in the fridge for several days. It makes many servings so it's good to serve as a soup course to guests, too.