I have been so hungry for a good tomato basil soup lately. Well, I finally found one. Actually, I found two of them! And I made two different ones today and they both turned out fabulous! Yes, I love tomatoes, especially in soup. I will be set for lunches or dinner for the next few days! Both recipes are completely different in texture and ingredients, yet spectacular in their own way! I have the Barefoot Contessa, a.k.a. Ina Garten, to thank for this first recipe. I didn’t follow her recipe to a T, but enough to get the gist of it, I believe. Wow! It was so fantastic.
She uses 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes in this and that provides a really nice zing to this delicious soup. This recipe also calls for 4 cups of crushed basil leaves. That’s right, 4 CUPS! Since I haven’t started growing my own herbs yet I would have to pay $30-$40 to get enough in the little packets I can purchase at the store. Obviously, I’m in the wrong business. I should be growing and selling herbs on that back acre of our lot! I would be a millionaire in no time! Initially I was planning on using some fresh basil, but I decided to use it for garnish since I was making 2 different Tomato Basil Soup recipes and substituted dry basil instead.
Two Peas and Their Pod have a recipe that’s very similar to Ina’s. They eliminate the thyme and change the amounts of a couple of the ingredients a little bit. They reduced the fresh basil down to 1 cup which seems a lot more manageable than 4 CUPS! After looking at both of the recipes I decided to follow Ina’s recipe but I changed out the fresh herbs (I wouldn’t do that if I had my own herb garden), for dried instead. I changed out the chicken stock to vegetable stock like Two Peas and Their Pod, and because I didn’t have plum tomatoes, I used 2 15-oz. cans of Italian stewed tomatoes. It worked!
This Roasted Tomato Basil Soup is awesome! I think you will find it fantastic, too. This recipe can be made completely vegan quite easily by eliminating the few tablespoons of butter and using all olive oil. Because this recipe does not add half-and-half or cream, it is extremely low calorie, healthy, gluten free, and as I stated earlier, easily vegan or dairy free. I garnished it with parmesan cheese, basil leaves, and croutons, but if you are gluten intolerant, dairy intolerant, or vegan, you can eliminate these garnishes.
Here’s what it looks like.
This is a close up. I’ve garnished it with Parmesan cheese, Texas Toast Caesar croûtons, and fresh basil, but you can eliminate any of these if you need to for your diet.
Ready to eat!
Here’s what I did.
The recipe calls for 3 lbs. of fresh tomatoes to be oven roasted. I was trying to clear out a bunch of tomatoes so my best guess is this is at least 4 pounds.
Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp. of Kosher salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Ina Garten is the one who started me on Kosher salt. I use it or Pink Himalayan sea salt in recipes now.
Stir the olive oil, Kosher salt, and pepper into the tomato halves.
This is what that looks like.
Place the tomatoes plus all the olive oil mixture on a cookie sheet and bake 45 minutes at 400.
About 15 minutes before tomatoes are done heat remaining olive oil in a sauté pan and add the onion and garlic. I used 1 heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic from a jar rather than the cloves of garlic per instructions.
This recipe calls for 2 tbsp. olive oil and 2 tbsp. unsalted butter in this part. If you are vegan or dairy intolerant, just increase the olive oil to 4 tbsp.
Add 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Don’t skimp out on the red pepper and only put a dash in. This really gives the recipe the zip it needs.
Sauté about 10 minutes until onions start turning brown.
You will then add these ingredients. I substituted vegetable broth for the chicken broth in the recipe. I also elected to use 2 tbsp. dry basil instead of 4 cups of the fresh basil. I used 1/2 tsp. dried thyme instead of the fresh called for in the recipe. I also substituted Italian style diced tomatoes for the plum tomatoes in the recipe. I don’t think any of these changes harmed the soup, although obviously fresh basil and thyme would have been optimal.
Since I didn’t have enough basil I elected to use it as a garnish instead.
This is what the onion mixture looked like after it had been sautéing about 10 minutes.
I added the vegetable broth and thyme.
I added the canned tomatoes and about 1 tbsp. basil.
I added all the roasted tomatoes and their juices into the soup pot.
After tasting, I decided to add an additional tablespoon of dried basil.
This is what it looked like after cooking about 40 minutes.
I allowed the soup to cool for at least 30 minutes so it was easier to handle. Then I ladled the soup into my blender in 3 batches. I set it for “grate,” and kept it on between 5-7 seconds for each round.
I emptied the slightly pureed contents into a 3-qt. casserole pan. It is almost full.
I garnished the Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Parmesan cheese, Texas Toast Caesar salad croûtons, and basil leaves.
This view is a little closer.
I wish I could describe how wonderfully tasty this soup was. It was amazing. The crushed red pepper made the difference and, of course, having roasted tomatoes added a wonderful taste, too.
Here’s the recipe with my changes.
ROASTED TOMATO BASIL SOUP
(Recipe adapted from Ina Garten a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa)
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise (I had between 4-5 lbs.)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced (I used 1 heaping tablespoonful of chopped garlic from a jar)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (you can change this to olive oil if you are vegan or dairy intolerant)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice (I used 2 15-oz. cans Italian style stewed tomatoes)
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (I used 2 tbsp. dried basil)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (I used 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1 quart chicken stock or water (I used vegetable broth)
Preheat the oven to 400°. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter (or additional olive oil if omitting butter), and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock (or vegetable stock). Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. (I put the mixture in my blender for 5-7 seconds on grate for each batch. It took 3 batches to do it all). Taste for seasonings. Serve hot. 6-8 servings.
NOTE: Allow the soup to cool about 30 minutes before putting in blender to avoid burning yourself!
Grab yourself a bowl!
Here’s a close up.
This stuff was sooooooo delicious. This is a recipe I will be making a lot in the fall and winter months!
One last close up. Last call, come and get it!
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