Jaymi's Notes: One of the things I love most about making soups is they tend to be very forgiving. I'm an "ish" cook; not a big fan of precise measurements and like 1-ish cup of this, 2-ish tablespoons of that. This recipe is one of those that allows such wiggle room. I cut the recipe in half-ish and it made about 5 generous servings of hearty, incredibly delicious soup with great texture from the sliced onions and the bulgur.
The part of the recipe I recommend sticking precisely to, however, is the cooking times at each step. Allowing enough time between adding ingredients for those already in the pot to release their full flavor made a big difference: let the onions and garlic get good and golden, let the white wine heat up with the onions and garlic, let the thyme and tomato soak up the flavors before adding the broth and bulgur. It doesn't take much time total for this excellent soup to cook up and it was a real winner here in our house!
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I'm not really a superstitious person, but I hesitate to say that winter is almost over and I have now passed through it without any cold or flu.
If you do find yourself succumbing to some bug, I have the perfect recipe for you. Of course, many people swear by chicken soup, but this tomato and bulgur soup would hit the spot for the vegetarian crowd. Think kid's comfort food. Really, really garlicky kid's comfort food.
Not only that, you can make it with very little effort, so if you are feeling under the weather, it's not a big drain on your energy. Personally, I thought this recipe was crying out for some greens like spinach, or swiss chard, or even the bitterness of rapini.
The addition of some texture would have been nice, but if you are sick, you probably want to leave the recipe as is and have the straight up softness of the soup. Bulgur is a parboiled form of whole wheat with a nutty flavour, and you can get it in any grocery store.
Tomato & Bulgur Soup
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup (125 mL) white wine (make sure it is vegan)
28-oz (796-mL) can tomatoes (whole or diced) with juices
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme
6 cups (1.5L) vegetable broth or water (or mixture)
¾ cup (185 mL) bulgur (preferably medium or fine)
Grated parmesan cheese (optional - omit for vegan version)
Chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1. In large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions soften and turn golden, about 8 minutes.
2. Add wine. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with wooden spoon, 10 minutes.
3. Add broth or water and bulgur. Raise heat to high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until bulgur is tender, 10 to 20 minutes depending on size. Taste; season with salt and pepper if desired.
Serve garnished with cheese and parsley if desired.
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