Healthy Tomato Rice Soup

This seriously tasty and healthy tomato rice soup is a lunchtime or supper winner that needs no fancy accompaniments to make it filling.  The generous serving of whole grain rice added during the cooking process means it really is a meal in itself.  Enjoy it at any time of the year and vary the spicy heat according to your taste.  It works fantastically well if you have a glut of summer tomatoes to use up or serve as a fiery pick-me-up on a cold winter’s day. 

Tomato Rice Soup Ingredients

The main flavor ingredients in my tomato rice soup recipe – tomatoes, garlic and chilli – are not dissimilar to a traditional arrabbiata sauce that the Italians use to flavour pasta.  The word arrabbiata translates as ‘angry’ in Italian.  I wonder if the Italians would be angry with me for using rice rather than pasta in my version of this soup?

I use fresh tomatoes if I have them available to me because they smell so sweet and are a good way to utilise a surplus of the homegrown variety.  If you are using fresh then the skins and seeds will need to be removed.  See my notes below on how to do this.  Good quality tinned tomatoes will serve up an equally good version of this soup too.  It’s important to buy the best you can afford as the cheaper versions tend to be quite watery.

Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C to help support a healthy immune system and potassium which is beneficial in helping to control blood pressure and prevent heart disease.  They are also a good source of fibre.   Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant known to be beneficial for skin health and protection against sunburn.

Garlic, chilli, onion and carrot are all worthy of a mention since they all contribute to the nutrient count and anti-oxidant benefits to our health that eating them can provide.  Supporting good immune system health, anti-inflammatory properties (from the capsaicin in chilies), supporting our digestive health, helping to improve eye health as well as helping to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer are just some of their known benefits.

I used to feed this tomato rice soup dish to my children all the time when they were little – minus the chilli when they were really small.  The recipe calls for the vegetables to be blended once cooked.  This forms the base for the soup before the wholegrain basmati rice is then added and cooked in the flavoured soup.  Adding the rice creates a denser, less soupy consistency similar to a stew.  A stoup if you will! 

Tomato Rice Soup Recipe Variations

What if I want to reduce the amount of carbohydrates?

To reduce the amount of carbohydrates in this soup and create a delicious spicy tomato soup, you could simply leave out the rice. As soon as the vegetables have been cooked and it’s been blended.  Simply ladle into warmed bowls and serve with a garnish of basil leaves, a sprinkling of parmesan and a good grind of freshly milled black pepper. 

More Delicious Soup Recipes

For more hearty and wholesome soup ideas that are sure to ward off the cold chill of winter, why not try my delicious Thai-spiced Parsnip Soup or my Easy 30-Minute Butter Bean Soup?

Tomato Rice Soup Recipe

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Tomato Rice Soup

Course Soup
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Large heavy-based pan with lid

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies deseeded and chopped
  • 1 medium onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes or passata 400g or same quantity of fresh tomatoes (peeled and deseeded)
  • 750 ml to 1 litre of vegetable stock depending on the consistency you prefer
  • 150 g Wholegrain basmati rice rinsed in cold water and drained
  • Handful of fresh basil to garnish optional
  • Parmesan shavings to serve

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan
  • Add the onions and allow to cook gently over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic, chilli, carrot and celery. Stir briefly and allow to cook gently for a further 5 minutes. Check the pan from time to time to make sure that the vegetables are not sticking to the pan or burning.
  • Stir in the paprika and allow to cook for a minute to allow the flavours to infuse with the vegetables.
  • Add the sugar, red wine vinegar, tomato puree, stock and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes.
  • Add the rinsed rice, allow to return to the boil then partially cover the pan with a lid, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through but not mushy (check the cooking instructions on the rice packet as timings may vary for a more accurate timescale).
  • Add more stock liquid or water from a boiled kettle if you find the soup too thick.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan, basil leaves and a good grind of black pepper.

Ingredient Substitutes

What can I use instead of wholegrain basmati rice?

You could use white basmati rice if you are not keen on the nutty flavour of the wholegrain basmati.  Rinse and drain in the same way as for the wholegrain rice and cook in the same way.  You may need to reduce the cooking time as white rice usually cooks quicker than brown or wholegrain.

Another great substitution for wholegrain rice is tiny pasta shells.  They are widely available in supermarkets in the same place you find dried pasta or in the baby food section.   No need to rise the pasta and again it can be added when I have stated for the wholegrain rice to be added but it’s worth checking the cooking instructions on the packet as pasta (especially small pieces) tend to cook a lot quicker than wholegrain rice.

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