Growing up, I wasn’t a big fan of tomato soup. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was more that I never really tried it. As I got older, I tried a few tomato basil soups at restaurants, but honestly, most of the time it just tasted like they had given me a bowl of spaghetti sauce. (I’m looking at you, Noodles & Company.)
And then, about a year ago, I found this Easy Roasted Tomato Basil Soup from Layla at Gimme Delicious. Everything changed. I had tried a few recipes before, but Layla had found the secret.
Do you want to hear the secret?
The roasted tomatoes are amazing and essential and you can’t make the soup without them. But they’re not the secret.
Roasting the garlic makes it sweet and beautiful and really makes the whole thing… but most every recipe I tried roasted the garlic with the tomatoes.
No, the secret–are you ready?–is sautéing the onions. I had tried other recipes that roasted the onions with the tomatoes and garlic, but the best way to get the onions to shine is to sauté them. Caramelize them a bit, while the tomatoes and the garlic are roasting.
(I’ve been told I’m a little bit dramatic. Does it show?)
This recipe is SO EASY. Seriously, it’s impossible to screw up. It tastes AMAZING. Plus, it freezes well. When we make it, we make a big batch and then freeze the leftovers for nights when we’d rather not cook.
Start with about 3 lbs of tomatoes. It doesn’t matter what kind, but just a little overripe is perfect. I asked the lady selling tomatoes at the farmer’s market for the “ugly”, just-a-little-too-soft ones.
Next, half those tomatoes and set them out on a baking tray, with 5-6 cloves of unpeeled garlic. (Yes, unpeeled. Roast it in the peel and then peel it before it goes in the soup.) I added a red bell pepper, seeded and quartered, after the first picture below was taken.
Toss it all in a tablespoon of olive oil, then salt and pepper the whole thing. Roast it at 400 for about 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes start to char and the garlic starts to soften. (Note: the size of your tomatoes and garlic will affect your cooking time. Cherry tomatoes cook much faster, so be sure to keep an eye on them.)
Meanwhile, chop a sweet onion, and saute it in 2 teaspoons of butter. Once the tomatoes and garlic come out, add the tomatoes and peeled garlic to the onions, along with 1/2 cup basil, stock or water and bouillon, and tomato pesto. Simmer together for about 20 minutes.
Toss the whole thing in the blender. If you have an immersion blender, perfect! This is what it was made for! Blend that sucker up! If not, a regular blender works just fine. Pro tips: Work in batches so you don’t overwhelm your blender. Also, the soup will be hot and producing steam, so unless you want the lid to shoot off and cover your chest and cupboards with scalding liquid in front of your in laws, who you were trying to impress with your cooking prowess, make sure you use the plastic piece on top to vent.
And you’re done! It’s ready to serve! This stuff is delicious, I’m telling you. We served it last night with homemade garlic butter croutons (YUM. Recipe to come.), but we also frequently serve this soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Mmmmm…
On straining: I’ve made this recipe both ways–with straining and without–and I have to say I prefer the texture without straining. If you do choose to strain it, you’ll want to thicken it somehow, like simmering a few more minutes with some heavy cream.
On bouillon: I’m not talking about the little cubes of chicken bouillon. You’re missing out on flavor there, not to mention the added sodium and salt. No, I’m talking about Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base. It comes in a little jar at Costco, and it lasts FOREVER. I’ve made this recipe with stock and with that bouillon, and I honestly can’t tell the difference. That stuff is saving me cash. (Not a sponsored post, I just like it.)
I’m excited to see you give this recipe a shot! Post a pic and tag it #mrsmabeycooks.
- 3 lbs tomatoes
- 1 T olive oil
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 sweet yellow onion, medium
- 2 t butter
- 5 c chicken stock OR 5 c water PLUS 1.5 T Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
- 1/2 c fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 T tomato pesto
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Half tomatoes and spread them out on a greased baking tray. Seed and quarter red pepper, add to baking tray. Add unpeeled garlic cloves. Coat tomatoes, red pepper, and garlic cloves in 1 T olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Roast tomatoes, pepper, and garlic for 30-40 minutes, or until tomatoes start to char and garlic starts to soften. Meanwhile, peel and chop onion, and saute in 2 t butter in 5 qt dutch oven or stock pot.
- Peel the garlic. Add roasted tomatoes, pepper, and peeled garlic to the pot, along with 1/2 c fresh basil leaves, chicken stock or water + bouillon and tomato pesto. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until flavors have melded.
- Blend in batches, allowing blender to vent steam, then return to pot.
- Salt and pepper to taste, then serve.