Roasted Tomato Basil Soup Made with Fresh Tomatoes

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup |

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

The best thing about August is the Howard County Fair.  It’s a tradition for for our family, and because we always seem to choose to go on the hottest day of summer, I have 10 years of memories of wondering around the livestock buildings and the 4H exhibits sweating through my tank top while the boys pester us to move on to the midway for the  rides, carnival games, and junk food – elephant ears, cotton candy, and fried  Oreos.

There’s something timeless about a county fair. The rides never seem to change – funny how technology hasn’t moved us past the Tilt-a-Whirl or the ferris wheel – and the people don’t change much either. I remember meeting Martin O’Malley – Maryland’s governor for eight years – when he was the still the mayor of Baltimore, out in front of the 4-H Farm and Garden building, shaking hands with passersby as part of his first campaign for governor. I can easily imagine politicians 60 years ago doing exactly the same thing – walking around glad-handing in a landscape of men of in fedoras and ladies in narrow, Jackie-O style shifts.

What I love most about the fair are the competitions, for the prettiest zucchini, the most even stitches, the fattest heifer, the most striking photograph.  I can’t pretend to understand what the judges are looking for when they’re comparing one ear of corn to another one, but I love the spirit of the thing. I love  the ribbons – “Best in Show” – and I love the thought of the child heading out the barn every day to feed the calf that will become a prizewinner.

The second best thing about August is fresh tomatoes, This weekend I found myself with more than 8 pounds of  Romas and heirlooms – some from our garden and some from our CSA. Eight pounds of any of other vegetable would be enough to open a farm stand, but tomatoes cook down so easily that I knew they’d make a reasonable sized pot of tomato basil soup.

This recipe is labor intensive and takes about an hour and a half to make, but it’s worth the effort. The flavor is incredible – even more so because it relies completely on the flavor of fresh tomatoes and herbs rather than heavy cream or milk. To make this a vegan recipe, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

If you still can’t get enough of tomatoes, try making an Arctic Char BLT or this summery Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Mint. Pinch My Salt has collected 20 tomato recipes in her”Summer Fest” post, and Southern Living also has a list for tomato inspiration.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Garden fresh tomato soup for a crowd.
Serves: 16
  • 8 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 medium white onions, cut into eighths
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves (more for garnish)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Remove any seeds. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible. Set the reserved liquid aside.
  3. Spread the tomatoes, onions, and garlic cloves onto two large cookie sheets. Drizzle with the half cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, until caramelized.
  4. Place the roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion into a large stock pot and add the reserved tomato juice and the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
  5. Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return to low heat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


    • says

      Hey, Suzanne. Great question! Normally I would remove the skins from the tomatoes before adding them to a soup, but in this case it’s not necessary because the entire soup is pureed before serving. I used a standard blender for this, and there were no remnants of the skins. I love leaving the skins on because it’s so much easier, and also leaving them on means there’s more nutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene in the finished product. Hooray for antioxidants!

  1. Cathy says

    Can I freeze this soup after making it? Would love to have smaller batches in the freezer to reheat over the winter. It’s Oct 2 and I just picked a few pounds of tomatoes from our garden – heirloom, roma, beefsteak, and baby grape tomatoes. If yes, do you have suggestions for freezing it properly?

    • says

      Hey, Cathy! Glad you asked – You can definitely freeze this soup – it should keep for about 3 months. I use 1-gallon freezer bags, but quart-sized freezer bags should work too. I like to let the soup cool, add it to the bag, and then lay the bags flat on a shelf in the freezer. That way I end up with easily stackable portions that don’t take up a lot of room in the freezer. Hope this helps.

  2. says

    The minute I saw the tomato basil soup I knew we were destined for each other. It sounds wonderful and being Italian anything with basil in it has GOT to be good. I just found your blog and I am so happy I did. I signed on to get regular updates and you certainly are an inspiration. Your photos make me want to jump into the screen and dig in. May I ask what camera and lens you use? My camera has a fixed lens — Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5. There are so many choices out there I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been learning all the settings on my camera but I feel I need to find a camera that will get those close tight shots. I’m looking forward to getting my regular updates. Have a wonderful Sunday.

    • says

      That Marisa Franca! It’s nice to meet you. I used an old Nikon D80 with either a 22 mm wide angle lens or a 50 mm lens. I’ve had the camera for 10 years and am actually looking to upgrade to a full frame, possibly a Canon. Good luck with your blog!


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