Cooler days and school back in session means that the crockpot has returned to it’s semi-permanent position on my kitchen countertop. Hungry for some flavorful, slow-cooked food and eager to have food ready with little effort, I started searching around for some new recipes to try in the crockpot. I spotted a Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup on Pinterest that looked mighty tasty, the only problem of course, all that dairy. Looking through the ingredients, I figured that it wouldn’t be very hard to substitute the dairy for non-dairy counterparts, and while I was at it I decided to reduce the calories from the original version. With all new recipes, it feels like a real crapshoot whether anyone will eat it, let alone enjoy it.
This recipe? Jackpot. Jackpot in the Crockpot.
Creamy and slightly cheesy, the base of this soup tastes a tiny bit like the sauce in Chef Boyardee’s canned pasta, which normally would not make it a ringing endorsement in my book. HOWEVER, the kids totally loved it. And the more I had, the more I loved it too. Slightly rich, hearty, and low in calories, this soup might be one of our new favorite things.
After replacing the dairy ingredients in the original recipe (butter, parmesan, half and half) with non-dairy counter parts (non-dairy butter, Daiya mozzarella, soy cream), I was worried that the resulting soup would not be thick and creamy enough. To make sure that the soup was not too thin, I added ingredients in two batches, pureeing the first half to create a thicker base. The resulting flavor and texture was terrific, helped to thicken up the soup, and allowed me to reduce some of the fat and calorie-laden ingredients (this recipe is about 35% lower in calories than the original). This recipe makes a pretty big batch of soup, which worked out great here because it has been requested for dinner and lunch several times. I’m not sure if it will freeze well, and this time, I won’t even have the chance to try.
Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup
Serving size: 1 c.
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, divided
1-1/2 c. carrots, cut into bite-sized bits, divided
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
1/4 c. onion, cut into big chunks
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. fresh herbs (mix of basil and oregano)
4 c. chicken broth
2 T. non-dairy margarine
1/4 c. flour
1 c. soy cream
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. Daiya mozzerella
Salt and pepper to taste
Add one can tomatoes, half the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, and chicken broth to a crockpot. Cook on low for 5 hours. After 5 hours, use a hand blender to puree the soup until no chunks remain.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook for about 5 minutes. Add cream and stir until the flour mixture breaks up into the liquid and becomes a thick sauce. Add 1 c. of soup from the crockpot, stirring until well-combined. Add another cup of soup from the crockpot if any doughy chunks remain. When everything has been combined and the sauce has thickened, add to the crockpot and stir. Add remaining tomatoes, carrots, cannellini beans, and mozzerella, then stir to combine. Cover and cook for an additional hour.
Estimated calories: 143 cal/serving
Print it: Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup
– If you would like to replace my non-dairy replacements with dairy versions, I’d recommend using butter, shredded part-skim mozzerella, and half and half in the same amounts noted here.