Similar to fondue, Low-Carb Cheesy Tomato Basil Chowder uses a secret ingredient – a touch of white wine – to help keep the cheese from becoming stringy.
Offhand it’s hard to think of a more comforting wintertime meal than tomato soup. Maybe it’s nothing more than Campbell’s has a great marketing campaign (mmm, mmm good!). Or maybe it’s because as a kid I remember my dad making tomato soup on the regular in the winter (and he’d add to it – of all the odd things – macaroni noodles!). Whatever the reason, tomato soup just feels right to me this time of year.
I like to switch up the flavors in my tomato soups; this one features the freshness of basil, richness and texture from cream cheese, and a slight nuttiness from cheddar. In the past I’ve typically used a bit of flour to make a roux (which is nothing more than flour cooked in fat, typically butter) to thicken my creamy tomato soups, but I wanted to keep this dish free of gluten and grains.
I knew there had to be a way to achieve this while keeping the soup low-carb. And suddenly it hit me! Fondue is classically made with a bit of wine because the acidity helps the cheese from becoming stringy (because other than in string cheese, there is just no place for that, lol!). I tried it here and it worked like a charm. This is a trick I’ll definitely be remembering for next time.
If you’re so inclined, this is an easy dish to keep meatless; just use vegetable stock instead of chicken bone broth. Personally, I like the richness that bone broth brings to this dish, but the vegetarian version is also delicious.
Here are a few of my other tomato soup favorites:
- Creamy Wintertime Tomato Soup
- Creamy Tomato and White Bean Soup from Simply Recipes
- Blushing Strawberry Onion and Tomato Soup, Hot or Chilled
- Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup from Chef de Home
- Indian Spiced Cream of Tomato Soup with Whole Wheat Couscous
What’s your favorite kind of tomato soup?
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup (180 ml) no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups (475 ml) vegetable stock or chicken bone broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 oz (57 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine
- 4 oz (115 g) cheddar cheese, shredded (I like Cabot Tomato Basil Cheddar or Seriously Sharp Cheddar for this)
- Fresh basil leaves, for serving
- Heat the oil in a 3-quart pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds more, stirring constantly.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, salt, and pepper, and bring up to a simmer.
- Whisk in the cream cheese until smooth, and then whisk in the wine, and the shredded cheese a handful at a time until fully incorporated.
- Cool slightly and then carefully puree in a blender.
- Serve with fresh basil leaves on top.