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Roasted Tomato Soup

December 13, 2011

There was a time when I turned my nose up at tomato soup.  To me it was no more than watered down tomato sauce disguised as soup–not the least bit appealing. I felt the same about tomato juice. V8? I’ll pass.  I don’t recall when the turning point was, when I decided that a good bowl of tomato soup deserved not only my attention but also my appreciation.  These days my soup hall of fame proudly includes this erstwhile non-favorite.

I went "mini" crazy in this post. These are French baguette-sized grilled cheese sandwiches. Sliced in half, I used them like croutons when I served the soup in a regular-sized bowl.

Let me preface by saying that I am no authority on tomato soup.  I realize that there are several ways to prepare it.  I have seen recipes that use canned tomatoes,  fresh tomatoes, some use celery and/or carrots, the methods seem endless.  I really should experiment more but I have been stuck (in a good way) using the same preparation for years.  It is a simple recipe and I am certain an online recipe guided me during my first effort but my motivation to give tomato soup a chance was centered on another idea that, at the time, I had only recently embraced:  Roasted tomatoes.

After learning that roasting store-bought Roma tomatoes* coaxes the sweetness out of these otherwise bland, supermarket perennials, I couldn’t find enough uses for them.  Using them in soup was a natural next step since by winter, when soup cravings are at their peak, sweet homegrown tomatoes are long gone, having eloped with summer.  Of course I exaggerate–farmers markets and better supermarkets will always have good tomatoes–but this is a good, cost-effective option when neither is accessible.  A little time in the oven gives the Roma variety a sweet makeover, they go from bland to brimming with flavor.

This translates well in the soup.  All at once you have the taste of fresh tomatoes, neither too sweet nor too acidic.  And with the help of a few other ingredients you have comfort in a bowl.  It is now a wintertime staple and of course a simple grilled cheese sandwich is a mandatory accompaniment.

But I will still pass on the V8.**


*   Obviously, the tomatoes I used in my pictures are not Romas but I used them all for the soup and I had to substitute another variety.

** No offense to the V8 company and I also realize that their juice contains other vegetables than simply tomatoes.  But to me, the prominent flavor is tomato–I just still haven’t acquired the taste.

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 2 1/2 pounds Roma Tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise and cored
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups prepared stock (vegetable or chicken; I use the latter)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 /4 cup fat-free half and half (you can use regular cream but I prefer this since it doesn’t overpower the tomato flavor)
  • olive oil for roasting and for sautéing
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • balsamic vinegar, just a couple of teaspoons or so (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes in just enough olive oil to coat, along with a bit of salt and pepper.  You can add a tiny amount of balsamic vinegar to aid in the caramelization process but it is optional.  If I’m not using the tomatoes for soup, I always add a bit more.  Lay on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are caramelized.
  2. In a medium-sized soup pot, sauté the onions in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat.  You will see some caramelization at this point.
  3. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf (leave in only until fragrant; a few minutes), butter, and the chicken stock.
  4. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 2o minutes until the liquid has reduced by about 1/3.
  5. Add the chopped basil and purée with an immersion blender.  Alternatively, you can transfer the mixture in batches and purée in a blender or food processor.
  6. Add half and half, stir and serve.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Maggie @ kitchie coo permalink
    December 13, 2011 9:25 AM

    Oh wow, I bet the roasting adds a lot of depth to this soup. I too am a tomato soup convert and love me a good bowl of tomato soup on a cold winter day. I will definitely be trying this recipe out. It looks simple and delicious!

  2. December 13, 2011 9:29 AM

    Me too! Growing up, tomato soup meant there was a tinny taste left over from a can, and it often accompanied the also undesirable grilled cheese. It was sacrilege to my friends, but I hated it. But I have also grown to appreciate the real deal, and this soup looks perfect. I could use a bowl for lunch today!! Can I come over for leftovers?

    • December 14, 2011 7:35 PM

      Liren, I know exactly the taste you refer to. It was awful, wasn’t it? You can come over anytime! 🙂

  3. December 13, 2011 9:34 AM

    This looks perfect for the cold, wintery weathery that we’re having right now!

  4. December 13, 2011 9:45 AM

    Gorgeous! Roasting the tomatoes brings out such a wonderful, sweet flavor, and look at that gooey cheese between crispy brad slices! Perfect, and giving me major cravings at work!

  5. December 13, 2011 9:55 AM

    I have the same feelings about tomato soup and V8. My immense dislike of V8 kept me from drinking Bloody Marys for years, only to discover 2 years ago that I love them…admittedly extra spicy, and heavy on the garlic.

    • December 14, 2011 7:36 PM

      Deanna, glad I’m not alone. However, I still need to work on the Bloody Marys–haven’t acquired a taste for them yet. 🙂

  6. candicepeak permalink
    December 13, 2011 10:13 AM


  7. December 13, 2011 11:09 AM

    I hate tomato juice, but I love tomato soup. Crazy! This looks like an awesome meal!

  8. December 13, 2011 11:24 AM

    Love the idea of roasting the tomatoes. I don’t have tomato soup often, but I do like it 🙂

  9. December 13, 2011 11:59 AM

    Roasting the tomatoes turns an ordinary soup into something transcendent. Thanks for sharing!

  10. December 13, 2011 1:08 PM

    I’ve been looking for a good tomato soup….and I think you’ve shared a winner! Your grilled cheese looks very enticing, too…mmmmmmmm.

  11. December 13, 2011 1:35 PM

    The soup looks terrific but the mini-grilled cheese sandies look criminally good! Thanks for another technique for tomato soup!

  12. December 13, 2011 5:37 PM

    What a beautiful soup recipe…love that the tomatoes are roasted! Just wonderful 🙂

  13. December 13, 2011 5:39 PM

    My husband loves this type of tomatoey soup. Thanks!

  14. December 13, 2011 5:49 PM

    The soup looks delish and the sandwiches look amazing!!!

  15. December 13, 2011 7:27 PM

    Roasted tomato soup sounds like a wonderful way to warm up this winter, haven’t had a good tomato soup in such a long time!

  16. December 13, 2011 9:27 PM

    I have always loved tomato soup. Probably due to a special place in my heart reserved for anything tomato-themed. Love the mix of spices in this dish too. Thanks for sharing…

  17. December 14, 2011 5:08 AM

    Your soup looks delicious! And dunking the mini grilled cheese sandwiches sounds like the ideal lunch to me. Yummy!

  18. December 14, 2011 9:19 AM

    This looks so warm and comforting and flavourful… I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of tomato soup normally (probably because my first few experiences with it involved the canned version, which is really quite terrible). On the other hand, I do love me some roasted tomatoes, so maybe it’s time I give it a second chance.
    And besides, how bad can something be when it’s got grilled cheese on the side? Mmmmm… melty, gooey cheese.

  19. December 14, 2011 9:54 AM

    Jean, the dishware you serve this in absolutely compliments the colors and homey feel of this inspiring soup. Everything about your photography hypnotizes me!

    • December 14, 2011 7:38 PM

      Viviane, what a very sweet thing to say–I should be taking style pointers from you! Thank you for making my day! 🙂

  20. December 14, 2011 10:00 AM

    Oh my goodness, felt the same way about tomato soup! My parents still made me gulp it down and I had a strong aversion to for years. Now that I make my own I love it lol. Those grilled cheese looks amazing!! Love that idea for the croutons! mmmm i should make some soup soon. It’s my husband and daughter’s favorite.

  21. December 14, 2011 12:27 PM

    Oh I love love love Tomato Soup so much ! I always want it all through the year, but this cold months, it’s such a comfort! Love your photos of the yummy bread, too. I can just smell the delish aromas!

  22. December 14, 2011 9:45 PM

    I love this! I am looking into making a red pepper soup for one of my cooking classes but you’re making me re-think this. Your pictures are so mouth-watering! Yum!

  23. December 15, 2011 6:41 AM

    Happy I found your food blog. Can’t wait to explore more of your recipes.
    As a soup lover, I enjoy all kinds of soup, but especially dairy-free so to prepare thick, rich, and tasty soups, I too roast vegetables, puree them and add spices.
    Here is one of my creations called “Spice Swirl Soup” taking many vegetables into the process.
    Come visit Prep2eat, my food blog for many recipes to inspire home cooks: and direct link to my “Spice Swirl Soup”

    Happy Cooking,
    The Souper

  24. December 15, 2011 6:55 AM

    Hi Jean,
    I love tomato soup. I remember my grandma making some all summer long with tomatoes from her harden. It tasted amazing!
    I bet yours does too! And those mini cheese sandwiches, oh, I’d love a couple!

    p.s. I hate V8 but i love the Lakewood juices. Give them a try if you haven’t.

  25. December 15, 2011 9:12 AM

    I’m glad we’re all recovering from our bad memories of canned tomato soup 🙂 Roasting the tomatoes lends a sweet, depth of flavor you don’t get otherwise. I just used the last of the roasted tomatoes (from our garden that I had frozen) in beef stew and chili this past week, so I’ll be roasting some Romas soon!

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