Vitamix blenders excel at making ultra-smooth purees and soups, but sometimes it’s nice to have a soup with a bit of texture. It turns out that it’s quite easy to make chunky soups with a Vitamix. All you have to do is add a few ingredients at the end and briefly blend them on low speed until you get to the desired texture. This recipe is inspired by the Tortilla Soup recipe that Vitamix demonstrators always make.
Demonstrators like to add a little bit of many different vegetables, which makes for good showmanship, but I don’t think it’s worthwhile at home. Here’s the version that I’ve been making lately:
4 Roma tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 celery stalk
½ tsp Better Than Bouillon
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp paprika
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
medium slice sharp cheddar cheese (~1 cubic inch)
1 cup hot water
handful of cilantro
1 cup cooked black beans
juice of ½ lime
croutons or tortilla chips
Blend the first set of ingredients on high until well-blended and hot (~1 minute). Then add cilantro and blend on speed 4-5 for a few seconds. Finally, add beans and lime juice, and blend on variable speed 1-2 for a few seconds. (I usually heat the beans a bit before adding them so the soup stays hot.) Garnish with a little more cilantro and croutons or tortilla chips.
The recipe is quite flexible, and you could easily substitute in all sorts of other things.
I made these croutons from some Vitamix bread. (I’ve actually started making a sourdough rye bread that I will post a recipe of at some point; now posted.) I used a simple technique described by Mark Bittman in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: just cut the bread into cubes and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes, then shake/stir and bake for another 5-15 minutes.
You could use canned beans, but I like to cook up a large batch in our pressure cooker and then freeze in small containers. If I’m planning ahead I’ll move a container of the beans from the freezer into the fridge a day or two before I’m going to make the soup. Cooking beans yourself makes them tastier and cheaper. I cook them with onion, garlic, and bay leaves to add some extra flavor that you miss out on if you use canned. Most recipes instruct you to sauté the onions and garlic first, but similar to my broccoli soup experiment, I’ve found that you can just toss the onion and garlic into the cooking water with the beans.
One interesting note about the olive oil: I’ve made this with and without it, and the oil helps minimize the amount of foam that forms in the blender. You can always use the bubble removal trick, but I found it not to be necessary when I included oil.