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Creamy tomato and herb soup

This creamy tomato and herb soup takes less than 25 minutes to prepare and can be served hot or cold. It is bursting with flavor and contains a full serving of vegetables in each bowl.

Delicately flavored tarragon is the herb of choice in this version of the recipe, but chopped basil or even mint would work, too.

While some creamy soups are made with heavy cream or sour cream, this one gets a rich, tangy flavor from a modest amount of reduced-fat sour cream. If you like, you can use low-fat plain yogurt instead.

The soup is best when made with ripe tomatoes, but a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes with their juices can be substituted in a pinch.

Start to finish: 25 minutes Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

4 large ripe tomatoes, diced (about 4 cups)

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and water, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Transfer soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, in batches if necessary (use caution when blending hot liquids). Set a strainer over saucepan. Pour puree through strainer, pressing on solids with a wooden spoon or spatula to extract as much pulp as possible; discard seeds and skin.

Whisk the sour cream and tarragon into soup. Stir over low heat until soup is hot, but not boiling. Season with salt and pepper.

- AP Photo/Larry Crowe