Michael and I are in Boston this week on our annual New England eating and drinking de-stress trip. Before we left, I made this rice and tomato soup with a few pantry ingredients and stray veggies floating around in our fridge. It's super cozy and comforting, and it requires no effort at all. Best of all, it makes lots of leftovers and tastes even better the next day. You can customize it too--use whatever veggies you have on hand.
Here's what you'll need for this rice and tomato soup.
- Red bell pepper ($1.42). This is what I already had on hand, but any color bell pepper would work. If you're not a pepper fan (or don't have any), try some other type of vegetable--carrots would be great too, for example.
- Sweet onion ($1.00). I keep a bag of sweet onions on hand, so that's what I used. White or yellow onions would work too.
- Garlic ($0.46)
- Short-grain white rice ($3.63). I used arborio rice, which gave this soup a really great texture. Use whatever you have or prefer.
- Canned diced tomatoes ($0.64)
- Chicken broth ($1.33). Use vegetable broth for vegan/vegetarian.
- Frozen or canned peas ($0.84)
- Typical fridge and pantry ingredients and spices:
- Olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- Sweet smoked paprika. This is also known as Spanish paprika. It's not spicy and has a sweet, smokey flavor. If you don't have smoked paprika, you can use regular, but it won't have the same depth of flavor.
- Dried oregano
- Bay leaves
- Ground cayenne (optional). If you don't like spicy stuff, you can leave this out.
- Saffron (optional). Saffron can be quite expensive, so if you want to leave this out, you can. Turmeric may be a good substitute, but we haven't tried it. Trader Joe's has reasonably priced saffron. You can also find it on Amazon. A little goes a really long way!
Excluding the typical pantry and fridge ingredients, the ingredients for this rice and tomato soup cost around $9.32, or about $1.55 per serving.
Here's how you make it.
Add olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Then add diced onions and red peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until fragrant and softening.
Next, add more olive oil to the pot, followed by garlic and rice. Toast the rice for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to change color.
Add chicken (or vegetable) broth, water, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, sweet smoked paprika, dried oregano, ground cayenne (optional), and bay leaves. Then let the soup simmer until the rice is nearly al dente, about 15 minutes.
Once the rice is almost done, add peas and saffron (optional). The best way to add the saffron is to put it in the palm of your hand and break it up with your finger, then rub it between your hands and into the pot (like you're warming your hands).
Let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes or so, until the rice is al dente and the flavors have come together. Taste the soup and add more salt or black pepper if necessary, then enjoy!