Tomato basil soup uses fresh tomatoes, basil, and heavy cream for a rich, creamy robust flavor. It is for your tomato lovers, tomato haters, and everything inbetween – a soup for everyone.
I first made this tomato basil soup years ago. My garden was overflowing with tomatoes and I needed to use them. Making tomato basil soup took a leap of faith because tomatoes are not a favorite vegetable. Don’t get me wrong; I love tomatoes as long as they are in salsa, sauces, or ketchup. But not soup or fresh. My mom (Ellen – the other half of Like Mother Like Daughter) loves tomato soup – it might even be her favorite soup. She also loves fresh tomatoes and will pick them right off the vine to eat.
Now you might wonder why I would grow lots of tomatoes if I didn’t like them. For a variety of reasons; one to create this tomato basil soup. Other favorite creations with fresh tomatoes are this fresh salsa, home canned tomato sauce (to be used for pizza, lasagna, spaghetti), and roasted tomatoes. So many numerous and delicious uses for tomatoes but let’s get back to this tomato basil soup.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR TOMATO BASIL SOUP
fresh tomatoes or canned whole tomatoes
heavy cream (**see notes below)
Toppings: fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, croutons
HOW TO MAKE TOMATO BASIL SOUP
Tomato basil soup is fairly easy to make. It can be done in one pot or you can use a slow cooker if desired to finish the reduction. You don’t need any special equipment or you can make things easier by using a juicer or a blender to puree the tomatoes. Don’t have either of those; after peeling just cut the tomatoes small, smash with your hands or a potato masher or the bottom of a cup. I used a strainer after the tomatoes were smashed to remove the seeds.
First, peel the tomatoes and juice – your choice of method* (see notes in recipe) . Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan or pot, saute the minced garlic, and add the tomato juice, chicken broth, sugar, pepper, and salt (to taste). I recommend tasting the salt flavor before adding salt depending on if you are using a low sodium chicken broth or not.
From here you can continue to simmer on the stovetop, to reduce the liquid by about one-fourth to half, or you can move to a slow cooker with the lid off for the same purpose. The tomato basil soup starts very thin because of all the liquid; by simmering and stirring occasionally you will reduce the amount of liquid for a creamy soup texture. How much reduction is a personal perference to the thickness of the soup. The more reduction equals less servings.
Once the soup is reduced to your liking, add the heavy cream** and basil. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes to warm throughout. At the point you can serve or continue to simmer to intensify the basil flavor. If you are using the slow cooker, return the lid and let simmer for 30 minutes. We like to serve with fresh basil, grated Parmesan cheese and Italian herb croutons.
**sometimes you might not have heavy cream on hand but still would like to make tomato basil soup or another soup that uses cream. I have found myself just substituting whole milk. But there might be times when I don’t have milk on hand either. Some other ideas is 2% milk with melted butter, softened cream cheese, or Greek yogurt; recognize these sustitutions add the fat content but could impact the flavor and texture. You can find more suggestions at The 10 Best Substitutes for Heavy Cream. Also use only with baking or soup; they will not work for whipping cream.
Enjoy every flavorful drop.
Tomato Basil Soup
Tomato Basil Soup
- 3 TBS minced garlic
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 6 large tomatoes* (juiced, seeds and peel removed)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 TBS white sugar
- 1 tsp pepper
- 6 TBS dried basil
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt (optional - to taste)
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese shredded or grated
- 6 sprigs fresh basil
- 1 cup croutons
Tomato Basil Soup
- In a saucepan, warm the olive oil and then saute minced garlic for 1 minute
- Add juiced tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, pepper, and salt (if using). Simmer until reduced by one-fourth to half. Stirring regularly.
- Stir in heavy cream and basil, heat for about 5 minutes
- Serve warm with toppings if desired
Post was orginally published August 8, 2011 – updated for clarification and photos