Summer smells like tomato vines. Truly, when August hits and those green, fuzzy vines are bursting with bounty, I can’t help myself from enjoying a tomato as if it were a fine wine. First, the color… The hues of bright red or heirloom varieties of orange, yellow, striped green, and even purple are a beauty to behold. Then, the smell… I like to press my nose against the place where the vine met the fruit. It’s so crisp and earthy and a world away from the smell of a December tomato. And finally, the sweet, full-bodied flavor that doesn’t need anything to stand in the way of it. It can be eaten like an apple, juice running down your arm, while standing in the warm, yellow sun.
As luck would have it, it seems everywhere I go there are tomatoes. I have family and friends raising them who are only too happy to feed my lycopene-fueled addiction, and when I’ve eaten my way through their supply, the local co-op and farmer’s market are selling them in every shape and color imaginable.
While they are at the season’s peak, I have been enjoying them in every possible form – sandwiches, sauces, salads, salsas, and in Ani Phyo’s Fresh Tomato Chili with Taco Nut Meat from her book Raw Food Essentials. Ani’s chili uses a wide variety of vegetables, and it’s a delight to the eye to pick as many colors as possible. Several colors of tomatoes, several colors of bell peppers, an interesting color of corn, and a menagerie of mushrooms make for an eye catching raw soup. The addition of walnuts spiced with cumin and coriander really sell that chili flavor. While the summer wheezes its last hot breath, the stove can take a break with this cool, fresh chili.
I recently served this soup as a refreshing starter before a meal of vegetable fajitas. It would also make a fun change from ordinary salsa. Aside from chopping time, this comes together quickly, and if one wanted to get the food processor involved, then it would be even quicker.
Makes 4 servings
- 3 cup tomatoes, chop
- 1 cup red bell pepper, chop
- 1/4 cup celery, chop
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, chop
- 1/3 cup mushroom, chop
- 1/3 c corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon garlic, mince
- 1 – 2 teaspoon chili powder, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin, powder
- 3/4 teaspoon oregano, fresh or dry
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, toss to mix well. Place half of your mixture into your food processor or blender and puree. Scoop back into bowl with mixture and toss to mix well.
NUT MEAT TOPPING
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin, powder
- 2 teaspoons coriander, powder
- 1 teaspoon bragg’s or nama shoyu, or 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
Place all ingredients into your food processor, and process into small pieces. To serve, scoop raw Tomato Chili into bowls. Top with Taco Nut Meat. Enjoy.
Tomato Chili will keep for 1-2 days in fridge. Taco Nut Meat will keep for a week or more.