Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tomato Fennel Soup

When we went to Great Sage a couple of weeks ago one of the soup specials that day was tomato fennel. No one at the table ordered it but it sounds like something that would be good when I wanted a light soup. With the cold and rainy weather today I decided a nice hot soup would be good.

I wanted to make a soup with a clean flavor so I didn’t muddy the flavor with a lot of herbs and spices. This soup is easy to put together and tastes good too.

Fennel contains an interesting phytonutrient called anethole. It is theorized that anethole is what shuts down the intercellular signaling system called tumor necrosis factor mediated signaling. This prevents activation of NF-kappaB and keeps the immune system operating effectively. A properly functioning immune system is a good thing for everyone. I for one am happy that both my husband and I enjoy fennel.

This soup recipe is light and clean. If you wanted a soup with a more fatty mouth feel you could add a ¼ to ½ cup of raw cashews and puree that with a little of soup and stir it in to the pot. You could also do the same thing with silken tofu. Sometimes I like to make tofu sour cream and serve that on top of clean soups like this one.

Tomato Fennel Soup
Makes 4 hearty servings


1 large fennel bulb, finely diced (about 4 cups)- save a few fronds for garnish
1 large red onion, peeled and finely diced (about 2 cups)
½ cup water to sauté vegetables
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced (allow to stand 10 minutes so the allicin can develop)
1 teaspoon canola oil
45 ounces tomato sauce, no salt added
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, for garnish - optional


Water sauté the fennel and onion until soft. Now add the garlic and canola oil and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the tomato sauce and fennel seeds and simmer on low for a minimum of 30 minutes so the flavors have time to blend.

You can now chill the soup for tomorrow (the flavor will be better). Or you can serve it today.

To serve, garnish with a bit of the reserved fennel frond and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar if using. This soup is best served hot.

Nutritional Information (assumes 4 bowls and doesn't include optional ingredients):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 196.18
Calories From Fat (5%) - 9.68

Total Fat - 1.1g
Saturated Fat - 0.11g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 86.08mg
Potassium - 1573.15mg
Total Carbohydrates - 41.84g
Fiber - 9.22g
Sugar - 13.55g
Protein - 6.4g


This was my favorite item at dinner tonight. All four bowls disappeared so it must have been pretty good. One bowl of this soup contains over 1480 IU of Vitamin A, another 3 grams of selenium and over 50mcg of folate.

I am always surprised that my elderly parents eat my vegan food and don’t complain. Other than weekends and national holidays when I always make dinner they eat the SAD diet. I started having them over for dinner on weekends so that they could see that healthy food tasted good and expected them to begin to modify their behavior. As you may expect this quickly turned to I was making dinner on the weekend and they were continuing to eat unhealthy food for all the other meals in the week. After two years of this I have finally given up trying to show them that modifying their behavior can be healthy and tasty. Now I am happy to know that they are at least eating two healthy meals a week.


  1. Tomato soup is my favorite. I love fennel too.

  2. Rose,

    Tomato soup is my favorite too. I thought about making a vegan grilled cheese to go with the soup but decided that would have been a little too cliche (though tasty).


  3. ooh that gave me an idea of what I might make tomorrow...yum!

  4. YUMMY! This sounds amazing and I'm loving the nutrient info.

  5. Rose,

    Can't wait to see what you make tomorrow.


    Thanks for letting me know you like the nutrient into.


  6. I love tomato soup. THanks for another version.. yummy!
    Debra @ Vegan Family Style

  7. Debra,

    I think tomato soup is universally appealing. Do you have any favorite twists on tomato soup?



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