A couple of my co-workers have been talking about a local restaurant and a wonderful tomato basil soup they serve on occasion. While I haven’t tried it yet, I did get ‘tomato soup on the brain’ and set out to make our own at home. I wanted it to be cream-free and meatless so I needed a method that would impart tremendous tomato flavor without tasting like a can of stewed tomatoes.
I took my inspiration from a recipe in Delicious Soups by Belinda Williams where the tomatoes, garlic and onion are oven roasted before being put in the soup pot. This method really makes a big difference in the flavor. Even though garden fresh tomatoes will have to wait until summer, I was happy to find these Roma Tomatoes at a reasonable price in our local grocery store. I started with 18 tomatoes or about 3.5 pounds. Any nice ripe tomato will do such as Roma or plum.
Slice the red onion into quarters, slice the tomatoes in half, add 6 cloves of garlic and toss the whole thing in 1/3 cup of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and roast in a moderate (350 degree) oven. Slow roasting brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Toss 1/4 cup of fresh basil, 6 tablespoons tomato paste, the roasted onions and roasted tomatoes in a good blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the blender and discard the skins.
Blend until the mixture is almost smooth. I think this would be perfect to toss with pasta, spread on a pizza crust, or just eat with a spoon. Add a little Merlot and I think I have another recipe!
Pour the puree into a soup pot and add 3- 4 cups of vegetable stock, depending on desired consistency. Season with a little granulated sugar, crushed red pepper, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and heat just until hot – do not boil.
Serve garnished with fresh basil, ground black pepper and a little grated Parmesan. A big hunk of an oven fresh baguette doesn’t hurt either!
- 3 1/2 - 4 pounds fresh ripe Roma or Plum tomatoes
- 2 large red onions, quartered
- 6 whole garlic cloves, skin on
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- fresh ground pepper
- sea salt
- fresh basil, julienned (sliced in thin ribbons)
- grated Parmesan
- extra drizzle of olive oil for serving
- sliced baguette for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Core the tomatoes and slice in half. Add the tomatoes, quartered red onion, and whole garlic cloves to a large bowl. Drizzle with 1/3 cup of olive oil, toss to coat. Spread the mixture on a large baking sheet with the tomatoes cut side up. Sprinkle the vegetables with sea salt and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelized.
- In the carafe of a blender add 1/4 cup basil leaves, crushed red pepper, sugar, and tomato paste.
- When the tomatoes are roasted add them to the blender along with the roasted onion. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the blender discarding the skin. Pour any pan juices into a large soup pot and set aside.
- Blend the tomato and onion mixture until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the puree into the soup pot and add 3 cups of vegetable stock. Add up to another cup of vegetable stock or until you reach the desired consistency.
- Stir in the fresh thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Heat on medium until hot - do not boil.
- Serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, basil and grated Parmesan if desired.
Inspired by a recipe in Delicious Soups by Belinda Williams.
Well there you have it … another meatless Monday meal that doesn’t make you feel like somethings missing! Why meatless? As we get older it’s harder to keep those cholesterol numbers down so as much as as we can, we try to eat healthy, get a little exercise and behave! Happy Monday! Hope you have a wonderful week. Thanks so much for stopping by!