Preserve the taste of summer with this Easy Garden Fresh Tomato Basil Soup. Come January, you’ll be thanking yourself!
If I had to choose a single comfort food to live on for the rest of my life, it would be tomato soup and grilled cheese. Some people go for Creamy Mac and Cheese or Chicken and Noodles, but on my weariest days, nothing soothes my soul like a humble bowl of fresh tomato soup.
Summer may seem like a strange time of year to be talking about hot soup, but with garden fresh tomatoes in season, those plump, ruby beauties are appearing everywhere. So, whether you are looking for dinner ideas, or whether you are thinking about freezing tomato soup, I figure there’s no better time to stock up on fresh tomato soup than right now.
Tomato Soup From Scratch
I’ve been looking for an easy tomato soup recipe made with fresh tomatoes for awhile. A long time ago I made a roasted tomato soup that was heavenly, but it was also time consuming and used canned tomatoes. I wanted a recipe that called for fresh tomatoes and could be made in about 30 minutes.
Luckily, this recipe fits the bill. Common pantry staples and about 40 minutes of your time is all it takes to make a giant vat of this stuff.
How to Make Fresh Tomato Basil Soup
- Saute some onions in a stock pot until they’re nice and soft and sweet.
- Add garlic, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Enjoy the smells.
- Stir in a whole bunch of chopped tomatoes and simmer.
- Pour in some chicken broth.
- Season to taste.
- Blend to your desired consistency (smooth or chunky.)
- Top with fresh basil, cream, croutons, or a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
I was surprised how little seasoning this recipe needed. It tastes quite good without any added salt, pepper, or basil, but I gave it a small dose of all three for good measure.
For minimal effort, you’ll be rewarded with sweet, flavorful soup that tastes like summer in a bowl.
Variations of Tomato Basil Soup
The great thing about making your own soup at home is you get to customize the flavor.
- Creamy Tomato Basil Soup Recipe: While this soup recipe is pretty creamy all on its own, you can absolutely stir in some cream or half and half at the end.
- Spicy Tomato Soup: Saute some jalapeno peppers with the onions, or stir in a little cayenne pepper.
- Smoky Tomato Soup: Stir in some smoked paprika or the sauce from a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo.
- Vegetarian Tomato Soup: Replace the chicken broth with vegetarian broth and use canned coconut milk for the swirl of cream.
Do I Need to Peel Tomatoes for Soup?
For a perfectly smooth soup, you will need to peel and seed the tomatoes. Here’s a great tutorial on how to peel tomatoes.
But, if you like your soup to have just a bit more texture, or you’re more low-maintenance (like me), then this recipe is perfect as is. And by perfect, I mean it coats the outside of a grilled cheese sandwich like a champ.
How to Blend Hot Soup
I tried to use my pitcher blender to blend this soup and had a boiling hot tomato VOLCANO erupt all over my kitchen. Seriously, it’s a good thing no one walked in on me, because I probably would’ve been arrested for murder. It was a tomato bloodbath in there.
Let this be a lesson to you. Hot liquids should never be blended in a sealed blender. To safely puree hot soup, remove the center cap from the lid, fill the blender half full, then replace the lid and cover the center hole with a towel. The towel allows some of the heat to escape so it doesn’t collect in the blender and cause the pressure filled explosion mentioned above.
An even better option? Invest in an immersion blender. It allows you to puree the entire soup at once and not worry about transferring, splattering, or ruining your favorite shirt.
Freezing Tomato Soup
Truthfully, I’m terrified of canning things, but I do a good bit of freezing, and that’s exactly what I did for this recipe.
There’s no real trick to freezing, but here’s what I do.
- Allow the soup to cool.
- Then, place a quart size freezer bag in a 2 cup measuring cup. The cup helps it to stand open and cuts back on mess while you pour it in the bags.
- Fill each bag about 2/3 full, squeeze out as much air as possible, and seal them up.
- Freeze the bags flat on a baking tray for easier storage then stack them up for easy access. Make sure to label them so you don’t wonder what that odd colored bag of liquid in your freezer is (trust me, it’s happened before).
This recipe makes enough for our family of four to eat dinner one night and freeze for another meal later.
What to Serve With Tomato Soup
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups chopped sweet onions (About 2 large onions)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 cups (about 4 lbs.) chopped tomatoes *see note
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- Heavy cream, half and half, or coconut milk, if desired
- In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until they've started to soften. Add the balsamic, sugar, and garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the chicken broth and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Simmer another five minutes then taste. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Stir in basil.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into the consistency of your choosing. You can make it totally smooth or leave some chunks. I personally like a few chunks. You can also blend this in your blender, but be sure to remove the inner cap, cover with a towel, and only fill the blender 1/2 full.
- To serve, spoon the soup into bowls and top with sliced fresh basil. Swirl with half and half or heavy cream, if desired. Top with Parmesan cheese and croutons, or serve with a side of grilled cheese.
Types of tomatoes: This soup works great with any fresh, in season tomatoes. I've used all combinations of beefsteaks, romas, and heirlooms.
To Peel or Not to Peel: This is personal preference. If you decide to peel, you can follow this easy tutorial for peeling tomatoes. If you don't mind a little texture to the soup, leave the peels on.
To freeze: Allow the soup to cool then ladle it into freezer safe containers or quart size freezer bags. Freeze bags laying flat on a sheet pan, then stack and store as needed. Thaw soup in the fridge overnight then reheat on the stove top. Soup should always be frozen before cream is added.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 48mg Sodium: 170mg Carbohydrates: 10g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g Protein: 14g