Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Sometimes you need a few slurps of a comfort food worthy hot soup. Sometimes you need to find something to do with five pounds of tomatoes that have ripened all at once! For years upon years growing up, I was convinced that tomatoes were yucky because tomato soup (from a can) was always so funky. This was of course the peak of my ketchup eating years and I was completely aware that it too was made from tomatoes. Regardless, knowing how to make your own tomato soup will definitely up your grilled cheese game! If my mom had served me this tomato soup, I probably would have been much better at eating my veggies as a kid!
Recently, my parent-in-laws bought a new house that came with quite the surprise come moving day: the garden plot was overrun with what seemed like hundreds of volunteer tomato cherry plants! Naturally foodie me rushed over at the first available moment to help alleviate the ‘problem’ …LOL!
Over the past two weekends between their volunteer tomato plants and the ones I have been lovingly caring for this summer, I was able to successfully harvest (at least) three pounds of tomatoes from their garden and a single tomato from mine.
Roasted Tomato Soup is a great way to use the abundance of tomatoes many of us have when everything in the garden seems to ripen all at once! I was able to use all of the cherry tomatoes from my in-laws garden plus a quart of my homemade chicken stock and the single tomato from my garden along with some basil and onions that I also grew! I also added about two pounds of meatier tomatoes from the farmers market to help thicken the end texture of the soup. In my opinion, you can really use any tomatoes you want.
As always, the first step is gathering all of your ingredients.
Once everything has been washed and cleaned, the tomatoes need to be cut to similar size pieces. For me, that meant halving the cherry tomatoes and dicing the roma and heirloom tomatoes. I am using about two thirds cherry tomatoes. The remaining third is the combination of roma and heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market.
The onions need to be cut also, but into bigger pieces to avoid burning in the oven. I am using half of a white onion leftover from another day of cooking along with three tiny onions that I pulled fresh from my garden.
Next, distribute the onions and tomatoes evenly between two baking sheets (cookie sheets with edges on all sides to prevent liquid spillage). Once distributed, add about a tablespoon of olive oil along with about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt to each pan. I’d be willing to bet your little one would love to help with this since it means getting their hands dirty!
Mix thoroughly, then put both baking sheets in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.
If your stock is frozen (like mine) you will probably want to get it thawing–I used a 6 qt dutch oven on low heat with a lid while the tomato combo was roasting.
Since the tomato combo will get to roast up for the next 45 minutes, this is a great time to start on any dishes you have already created! You get the double benefit of continuing to be productive in your kitchen, plus you have the awesome opportunity to enjoy all of the great smells as they create themselves!
Really, your kitchen will smell absolutely amazing while the tomatoes roast away and you will want to stick around just because it smells so good! You can tell the tomato combo is ready to pull from the oven when both the tomatoes and onions have softened drastically, begun to shrunk, and have taken on just a bit of color. The combo should slide away from the baking sheet very easily!
This next part is super easy! Add all of the tomato and onion combo to the warmed chicken stock! Make sure to get as much of the juice from the baking pans into the soup mix for the maximum flavor!
You have two options of how you blend this together. You can use an immersion (or stick) blender like me, or use a full size counter top blender. Both devices will get you the the same result–a lovely tomatoey puree. Personally I choose to blend with my immersion blender because it lessens the chance of me spilling hot liquids all over my kitchen and myself. I can be a bit klutzy in the kitchen at times!
Once the roasted combo has been blended (mostly) smooth, You will want to add your basil and blend again. I used one really big handful of fresh leaves from my garden; if using store bought basil, I would estimate you need the four ounce package most stores carry and remove the stems.
I recommended you let the soup rest for at least five minutes once the basil has been incorporated into the mix. The whole combo is a bit chunky now (sorry for lack of a more appealing word) and what I like to do is let the basil infuse itself into the soup. I would liken this to letting a bag of tea infuse the flavor into the water–same concept.
Once the basil is infused and your soup has an even better flavor, we can strain everything so it will be come a much smoother version of its current tasty self! (Note: if the texture of the basil and tomato seeds/skins do not bother you, this is an optional step.) I use a fine mesh strainer and a flexible silicone spatula, but a food mill if you have one would be perfect for this step! Basically I stir with and use the spatula to move whatever is at the bottom of the mesh strainer, and after a few minutes you end up with all of the yummy soup separated from the bits that keep the unstrained soup from having that perfectly smooth velvety mouthfeel we generally expect from a tomato soup. I put the strained bits into my compost bin.
I always add just a bit of half and half to this recipe. It really adds that extra something and keeps the tomato from being too bright and acidic. You don’t need much at all to accomplish this–about half of a cup will be plenty! Of course, heavy whipping cream can be a more indulgent addition, or 2% milk can add the flavor while keeping it on the lighter end! And if you are intolerant to dairy, you can omit it completely and still have a yummy soup!
And lastly, as with all of my favorite soup recipes, they freeze well! Today’s batch made about two and a half quarts total. I am freezing two quarts (each bag is about two servings) and keeping a 2-cup pyrex bowl for lunch!
Happy soup making!
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- 4-5 Pounds of Ripe Tomatoes, rough chop
- 1 Medium Onion, rough chop
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste if needed
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Quart of Chicken Stock
- 1 cup/big handful of fresh basil (or 4 oz store package with stems removed)
- 1/2 cup of Half and Half (optional)
- Gather and wash all of your ingredients
- Dice tomatoes to relatively even sizes
- Chop onions to even sizes (but bigger pieces than tomatoes to prevent burning)
- Distribute tomatoes and onions onto 2 baking sheets, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt, and mix well
- Roast combo in oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees
- Add tomato onion combo to warmed chicken stock
- Blend well (immersion or traditional blender both work)
- Add basil and blend again, let sit for minimum five minutes to allow basil to infuse flavor into warm soup
- Strain chunks away (fine mesh strainer + silicon spatula OR use a food mill)
- Add half and half (optional)
- Enjoy now, or freeze and enjoy later!
- I think any type of tomatoes will work in this recipe, so use what is available and in season!
- Straining the chunks of basil leaves and tomato skin and seeds out is optional. I prefer a really smooth tomato soup.
- Also optional-the half and half. You can make your soup richer by using sour cream or heavy whipping cream, or lighter by using 2% milk or no dairy at all.
- I do not need dairy alternatives so I do not typically keep them at my house regularly, so I have never tried any alternative options in place of dairy. I imagine some could work, but a vanilla flavored almond milk would probably be a bad place to start!