Welcome to part I in my tomato soup series! With so many luscious, beautiful tomatoes currently in season, I figured a blog series on different ways to use them in soups would be a lot of fun. In today’s post, I’m going to start with a simple and basic tomato soup recipe. For each post in the series, I’ll share recipes that will get progressively more interesting and adventurous.
That said, the common theme throughout all the recipes will be the use of FRESH organic tomatoes which are picked at peak ripeness and thus have tons of flavor. Right now, during peak season, there is a bounty of choices, with local farms and farmers’ markets selling a multitude of tomato varieties.
Here are the beautiful tomatoes I’m using for today’s basic tomato soup recipe…
Those are heirloom tomatoes from my local vegetable CSA. They have blemishes, scars, uneven folds, and as a result, would not be sold in a supermarket. Which is just stupid because they’re just so juicy and delicious. Isn’t that the point when you buy tomatoes?!!
Beyond appearance also keep in mind that most supermarket tomatoes are picked before they’re ripe and chemically treated to make them last longer. This is good for business but it greatly diminishes their nutrition and flavor. Now if you’re reading this and it’s not currently peak season you can certainly use organic canned tomatoes instead which have a more concentrated flavor. Choose a good-quality organic brand with minimal additives.
But the real purpose of this series is to expand your horizons for using the bounty of fresh in-season tomatoes. What follows is a series of four simple steps that you can alter to whatever ingredients you want to use. After the four steps, you’ll see a short list of different veggies, herbs, and dairy toppings that can you plug into those four steps for different flavors and variations.
Step 1. Roast the tomatoes
Roasting fresh tomatoes will dramatically deepen their flavor. It will caramelize them which brings out a wonderful rich sweetness in the soup. Simply slice your tomatoes in half and place them on a baking or roasting pan/sheet with the sliced side down. Roast at 400 degrees in the oven for about 45 minutes. Use whatever tomatoes you want here. Plum, Roma, beefsteak, heirloom tomatoes, and different types of vine tomatoes are all great to use. Here are the heirloom tomatoes pictured above, after roasting…
You’ll notice I didn’t core the tomatoes ahead of time. No big deal. I scooped the cores out afterward. You’ll also see some garlic cloves in there which make a great addition. If you’re using other veggies in your basic tomato soup you can roast them with the tomatoes too.
Step 2: Saute an onion in olive oil and add tomatoes and chicken broth
Simply dice a sweet onion and saute it in a stockpot for about 5 minutes or until the onion turns translucent. Then add your tomatoes (along with the juices from the baking dish), other veggies from the roasting pan, your chicken broth, and a little tomato paste. Raise the heat to a gentle simmer and cook it all together for about 10 more minutes.
Step 3. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth
You can use a regular blender too but that’s a lot more work, time, and potential for burning yourself (due to splattering). If you don’t have one yet, I’d HIGHLY recommend this basic immersion blender, especially if you make a lot of soups.
Step 4. Add basil, season with salt and pepper, and top with parmesan cheese.
Add the basil and simmer it for only about a minute. Then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in individual bowls and top with as much or as little parmesan cheese as desired. See the basic tomato soup recipe below with specific ingredient amounts and instructions.
This 4-step formula is as simple as you can get! That’s not to say it’s not absolutely delicious. My housemate was stunned by how good it was. But you can certainly use different ingredients and different amounts of broth and/or cream for different consistencies. Here’s a short list…
Veggies: Fennel, celery, red pepper, carrots, leeks, onions, garlic
Herbs: basil, parsley, chives, thyme, oregano, tarragon
Dairy toppings: Goat cheese, feta, parmesan, romano, sour cream, creme fraiche
Make it a creamy tomato soup: Simply add heavy cream or half and half after blending. Add a little at a time, tasting as you go, until your preferred level of creaminess is achieved. There’s no right or wrong here. You can also stir in some sour cream or creme fraiche into individual bowls. For a dairy-free creamy version, use coconut milk.
This basic tomato soup recipe can be altered using different types of tomatoes, veggies, herbs and toppings. Follow the basic formula and you can’t go wrong if you want to make slight changes!
For a creamy tomato soup, add heavy cream after blending. Add as much or as little as you want. Add just a little at a time, tasting as you go.
Serve with a piece or two of toasted sourdough bread with butter, optional
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.