I’ve combined some of my favourite flavour combinations, healthy ingredients and easy cooking methods to create a low calorie tomato soup which is incredibly easy to make. It’s versatile, light, healthy and provides a tonne of vitamins and nutrients.
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How healthy is my low-calorie tomato soup?
As always, cooking with plenty of vegetables will boost the number of vitamins, nutrients, fibre and antioxidants in your diet. Soup is a BRILLIANT way to add more. Blending it will provide you with the ability to disguise them with a smooth, creamy texture if you happen to struggle with texture, or live with others who are fussy eaters.
A key player in this recipe in the humble tomato. Tomatoes are renowned for being a brilliant source of vitamin C which is key for supporting your immune system. Vitamin C also assists your body’s ability to absorb other nutrients and vitamins from foods.
Apart from adding gorgeous aroma and fragrance, basil also supplies beneficial plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also a brilliant source of vitamin K which plays a crucial role in blood, bone and heart health.
Finally, I have used a pack of soy vegan meatballs which fills this soup with 28.8g of plant-based protein. Soy protein is a complete protein which means it contains all nine essential amino acids which your body cannot make and needs from food.
How can I adapt this low-calorie tomato soup recipe?
Let me share a few tips and take you through the different elements of this recipe so you feel confident with ways it can be adapted:
- I’ve used white onion, but shallots or red onion will work too. Each will create a subtle yet distinct taste that changes slightly by onion.
- In this recipe, I have used a food processor to blitz the onion, garlic and red pepper to cut down prep time, but mainly to avoid onion tears! Don’t worry if you don’t have a food processor – you can just chop them up as usual.
- 6-10 minutes of simmering should be enough time for the couscous to cook. Feel free to simmer it for up to 15 minutes if you’re in no rush.
- If you like thick soups and stews, then you’ll love scooping this soup up onto your bread. Feel free to make extra stock if you like thinner soup consistencies. You can stir in additional stock near the end until you reach your desired consistency.
- If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can sub in 2 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp garlic puree.
- Again, you can also sprinkle over dried basil at the end rather than fresh.
- It’s not necessary to blend the dish but to create that smooth, light and creamy feeling, you’ll want to. You can use a standard blender or hand blender.
- You can use any type of sweet bell pepper – red, orange or yellow will work.
- This low-calorie tomato soup recipe can taste just as good, if not better, the next day. Time always allows the flavours of a dish to develop more. Therefore, you can make it a day ahead of yourself if you wish.
- The main bulk of the soup is freezer friendly so you can make it ahead of yourself and freeze it if need be.
- Blender jug lids have a hole in the middle of them for easy addition of further ingredients. For this recipe, you’ll want to leave it open to allow hot steam to escape while you blend the soup. To avoid splashes, you can cover it with a tea towel.
- This dish is incredibly versatile. You can serve it as a thick soup with fresh bread as I’ve done. This makes a lovely light lunch. Alternatively, you can skip the couscous and serve it with spaghetti or even rice for a filling evening dinner.
How do you make vegan meatballs?
There are so many benefits to eating plant-based and cutting meat from your diet. Not only are there benefits for your health, but it’s incredibly beneficial to the environment and the welfare of animals.
If you’re needing some inspiration and insightful tips for going vegan, then take a read of this article.
There are all kinds of ways to make you own homemade meatballs. Many recipes use a combination of black beans and legumes instead of meat. These are blitzed and combined with seasoning to create your desired flavour. Alternatively, you can experiment with seitan, soy or tempeh. It’s quite straightforward and this would be a good option if you’re up against food intolerances.
Nowadays, the supermarket shelves boast tonnes of vegan brands which offer vegan meatballs for a more convenient option. They’re often made with soy which means they’re lower in saturated fats compared to the meat equivalent and boast the same amount of protein. In this recipe, I used Birdseye’s Green Cuisine Vegan Meatballs – a few other examples include:
- The Meatless Farm Co
- Linda McCartney
- Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneer range
- Beyond Meat
How to store my low-calorie tomato soup?
This will last in the fridge for up to a week, stored in an air-tight container.
You can also freeze it for up to three months. To freeze, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to freezer containers/bags. If you’re making it to freeze, then I would advise freezing the sauce only (step 3).
View this post on Instagram
I’ve read a lot about people making the decision to ditch meat and go vegan since being in lockdown. They say time at home has given them an opportunity to reflect and have a go at this lifestyle change.
Amid all the panic, illness and economic turmoil, the coronavirus lockdown has had one positive side effect: environmental repair. But it’s not just because fewer cars are on the road and fewer planes are flying – people are also eating less meat. According to research, More than one in four have chosen to reduce their meat intake out of concern for health, environmental or animal rights reasons.
Therefore, I have included this recipe as part of my Instagram IGTV series, Vegan In Lockdown, and dedicate it to all new vegans making the switch to #LifeWithoutMeat – sending love and pozzi vibes to you all, and I hope you enjoy it.
If you enjoy this recipe, you’ll want to check out these too:
- 20 Minute Meatball & Spaghetti Arrabiatta
- 20 Minute Lentil Bolognese
- 15 Minute Tomato & Basil Vegan Ragu
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments once you’ve given my vegan meatball and tomato soup a try. I’m sure you will adore the taste and be delighted by how yummy a Life Without Meat can be.
Low Calorie Tomato Soup with Vegan Meatballs & Fresh Basil
Get in three of your 5-a-day in one serving of this low-calorie tomato soup. The addition of basil, vegan meatballs and giant couscous provides awesome flavour, texture and makes it filling!
- 1 tbsp olive oil ⠀
- 1 white onion⠀
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 red bell peppers⠀
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp mixed herbs⠀
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes⠀
- 500ml stock water (1 veg stock)⠀
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- black pepper ⠀
- 1 tsp free from green pesto ⠀
- 100g giant couscous (or small pasta e.g. conchigliette) ⠀
- 1 bag of vegan meatballs (280g) (I used @birdseyeuk green cuisine)⠀
- 100g spinach⠀
- Fresh basil leaves
- Sourdough slices
- Nutritional Yeast
If you're not using a blender, please see recipe notes for my advice.
- Prepare your onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Then put a pan onto a medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the prepped veg to the pan along with the mixed herbs and chilli flakes. Fry off until the pan ingredients have softened.
- Meanwhile, dissolve 1 vegetable stock in 500ml of boiling water.
- Add the pan ingredients to a blender jug, along with all the stock, 1 can of chopped tomatoes, sea salt and black pepper. Blend on high speed until it's a smooth sauce. While it blends, place a soup pot onto medium heat, then drizzle in a small dash of olive oil and fry off your vegan meatballs for a few minutes. Then stir in the second can of chopped tomatoes, free from green pesto and the smooth sauce from the blender.
- Next, stir in the giant couscous, and spinach. Add more stock at this stage if you fancy a thinner consistency. Then allow it to simmer for 6-8 minutes or until the couscous is cooked. Use this time for a quick tidy and to slice your bread.
- Serve with some fresh basil leaves, fresh bread and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for extra vitamins.
Allergens: soy, wheat, gluten
My advice if you're not using a blender:
If you're not using a standard blender at all, then simply cook the whole thing in a large soup pot from start to finish. Just ensure you prep the onion, garlic and bell pepper smaller/bigger depending on whether you want less or more bite and texture.
If you have a hand blender, you can use it to blitz the soup at step 3.