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A simple bowl of tomato soup is the best kind of homemade comfort food! This quick 30-minute recipe uses no cream, and makes a thick, creamy tomato soup with fresh tomatoes, onion, torn bread crumbs and thyme. Serve with toasted bread or grilled cheese for dunking!
Does it even need to be said? Rich and savory fresh tomato soup is at the top of the list of comfort foods, a favorite for both kids and adults right up there with homemade chicken noodle soup, creamy white bean soup or a hearty homemade beef stew.
When my kids were home from school on a sick day, I loved to join them on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket with bowls of warm soup.
Letting the all the noise in your life go quiet sometimes is obviously good for the soul. And you know what else is? Making homemade roasted tomato soup!
To re-create the creamy texture of my childhood canned tomato soup without using dairy, I used a little chef trick: Torn pieces of fresh bread. They create a beautifully thick, rich texture when blended with the roasted tomatoes. There’s no need to add milk or make a flour-and butter-based roux.
The tomato soup base is made with roasted tomatoes and all of their pan juices, which really concentrates their sweet flavor. You only need to add a small amount of additional water or stock when pureeing the soup.
Ingredients for the soup:
- Best types of tomatoes for roasted tomato soup (or in a fresh tomato basil soup): It’s best to use small, sweet tomatoes in this recipe (rather than a larger beefsteak type). I prefer the Campari tomato, which is a sweet, greenhouse-grown variety that’s available year-round in grocery stores. You can also use an equal amount of plum tomatoes, cluster-grown vine tomatoes or round cherry tomatoes. Make sure they are ripe and red!
- Onion: Yellow or white onion is perfect. The natural sugars in onions get more intense when roasted, which adds a layer of flavor to the soup.
- Garlic: One or two plump peeled cloves, or enough to make 1 tablespoon of grated or pressed garlic.
- Olive oil: This soup doesn’t contain milk, cream or butter, so go ahead and splurge on a good extra-virgin olive oil.
- Bread: Choose bread that has a sturdy texture (not sandwich bread), such as a crusty Italian or country-style bread. You’ll need one or two slices with the crust removed, or enough to make 1 cup of crumbled bread. A crusty gluten-free bread will also work.
- Salt, black pepper and sugar: This is a very simple soup, and these seasonings bring all the flavors together. A small amount of sugar (just 1/2 teaspoon) intensifies and brings out the natural sweetness of the onions and tomatoes.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme sprigs are great, but dried pantry herbs such as thyme, oregano or basil are good too.
How to make tomato soup with fresh tomatoes:
- Slice the tomatoes in half, then put them in a 9×13 baking dish or pan just large enough to hold them in one layer. *If you use a pan that’s too large, the pan juices will evaporate more quickly in the oven. You actually want that liquid to make the soup.
- Add the sliced onion, grated garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme and toss together.
- Roast at 425 degrees about 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and golden.
- Transfer the roasted tomatoes and onions with all the pan juices to a high-powered blender or food processor and puree until smooth and creamy.
Serving roasted tomato soup:
- The absolute classic way to serve tomato soup is with toasted bread or slices of grilled cheese to dunk into the bowl.
- Make this quick soup recipe a more substantial meal by adding canned chickpeas or cannellini beans.
Storing homemade tomato soup
- Freezer: Homemade tomato soup may be frozen up to 1 month. Use an airtight, leakproof container. Defrost the soup overnight in the refrigerator or transfer the frozen soup to a saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat.
- Refrigerator: Transfer the cooled soup to an airtight container and store up to 5 days. Warm up the soup in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave on medium-low power (stirring at 2 minute intervals).
How to season tomato soup
Here are some ideas for adding on to the basic recipe for roasted tomato soup:
- Add 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper or jarred roasted red pepper to the tomatoes and roast.
- Make it spicy with a pinch of cayenne or crushed red chili flakes.
- Stir in fresh basil leaves or pesto sauce for a classic basil and tomato combo.
- Grate Parmesan or mozzarella cheese over the hot soup.
- Stir in about 1/2 cup heavy cream (if you’re fine with dairy) or coconut cream.
More comforting soup recipes:
- Tuscan Tomato Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)
- Chickpea Soup with Pasta (Pasta Fagioli)
- Classic Italian Minestrone Vegetable Soup
- Stracciatella Soup with Kale and Potatoes
Homemade Roasted Tomato Soup with Fresh Tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
- ½ large onion, sliced
- 2 pounds (1 kg) small vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 slices fresh country-style bread, crust removed and the bread torn into small pieces (to make about 1 packed cup)
- ½-1 cup (250-500 ml) vegetable broth
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Heat the oven to 425 (212 C) degrees. Put the tomatoes in a large baking dish or a pan that will hold the tomatoes snugly.
- Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, salt, sugar and black pepper to the tomatoes.
- Toss everything together until evenly coated with oil. Top with the thyme sprigs, or sprinkle the dried thyme over the tomatoes, if you're using it instead.
- Roast the tomatoes 20-25 minutes. The tomatoes and onion should be soft and golden and the pan juices bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool 10 or 15 minutes.
- Transfer the tomatoes and all their liquid to a blender or food processor. Add the torn bread. Pour in just enough broth or water to barely cover the tomatoes and bread. The amount will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are after roasting.
- Remove the thyme sprigs. Puree until completely smooth or until the soup has the consistency you like (if your blender is more than ¾ full of the mixture, puree it in batches to avoid an overflow). Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve warm in bowls, with some toasted bread slices drizzled with olive oil on the side.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The soup keeps refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.
- Defrost the soup overnight in the refrigerator or transfer the frozen soup to a saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat. Stir in a bit more water or broth when reheating if it has thickened too much.
- Use a pan that holds the tomatoes snugly, otherwise the pan juices will evaporate more quickly in the oven. You actually want that liquid for the soup.