Fresh garden tomatoes shine in this Roasted Tomato Soup recipe. Tomatoes and garlic are slow-roasted to enhance their naturally sweet flavors, then blended with a simple seasoned base and of course lots of fresh basil. It’s a vegetarian family favorite!
Last week I took my oldest son grocery shopping, and we stopped to pick up some fresh tomatoes. I handed him the tomatoes to add to the cart and he caught a whiff of them. “OMG, Mom…these tomatoes”. Surprised, I raised an eyebrow (he isn’t a fresh tomato super-fan by any stretch of the imagination). He continued “These smell so good! Can we buy a whole bunch to make my favorite tomato soup?”.
At the ripe age of 9, Cass continues to subsist on a diet of oatmeal, PBJ, and sunshine, so any inclination towards fresh produce is met with eager enthusiasm on my part. I immediately dumped four pounds of fresh tomatoes into our cart, then spent the remainder of the trip sketching out the recipe in my head.
The next day I set out to make my big kid the roasted tomato soup of his dreams. The result received double high fives from my picky eater, plus rave reviews from his buddy. I felt supremely accomplished, and you will too.
What kind of tomatoes should I use?
To be honest, the varietal doesn’t matter as much as freshness does. The best tomatoes for roasted tomato soup are locally sourced, perfectly ripe, and super juicy. Garden tomatoes are perfect, but so are heirlooms from your local farmer’s market, or roma’s from your co-op. This soup is perfect for those “ugly” tomatoes your farmer is selling for half-price – they might not be perfectly round, but if they’re ripe and juicy, they’re perfect for this recipe!
How to make roasted tomato soup
This roasted tomato soup is our new family classic. It’s the perfect recipe to showcase a bumper crop of tomatoes, and it couldn’t be easier to make. This soup takes some time since you’ll slow roast the tomatoes and garlic to enhance their natural sugars, but the resulting flavor is worth the wait (and most of the investment is hands-off). It’s sweet, without the addition of sugar, and perfectly rich and creamy. Serve it the classic way with grilled cheese or with thick slices of sourdough slathered with good butter.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Quarter four pounds of ripe tomatoes, then spread them across the baking sheet.
- Separate a head of garlic into individual cloves, then sprinkle the cloves throughout the tomatoes. Leave the skin on the garlic so that it roasts without burning.
- Drizzle a quarter-cup of olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast the tomatoes in a 400°F oven for an hour, or until they’re very soft and starting to char around the edges. The garlic will also be very soft with browned skins.
- Remove the garlic cloves from the baking sheet using tongs, then set aside to cool.
- Once you can handle them, pop the cloves out of their papery shells by gently squeezing the tapered end.
- When the tomatoes reach the halfway roasting point, start the soup base.
- Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, heat until it shimmers, then add a diced sweet onion to the oil. Sautee the onion until it’s soft and starting to brown around the edges.
- Season the onion with dried basil and oregano, and sautee until the herbs are fragrant.
- Deglaze the pot with a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar stops bubbling and reduces by half.
- Add a quart of good quality vegetable broth to the pot, along with a bundle of fresh thyme.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the thyme leaves have softened and the broth is infused with flavor.
- Remove the thyme sprig, then add the roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, and a quarter cup of fresh basil to the pot.
- Puree with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.
- Add a quarter cup of heavy cream to the soup for a creamier finish (optional, but divine).
- Taste the soup for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, basil, or cream (if using).
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional fresh basil.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Use the freshest tomatoes you can find for superior flavor. The varietal doesn’t matter as long as they’re ripe and juicy.
- Fresh basil is also essential. It’s naturally sweet and peppery, and perfectly complements the acidity of the tomatoes.
- If you don’t have fresh thyme, add a pinch of dried thyme along with the basil and oregano.
- Don’t rush the roasting process. Roasting the tomatoes and garlic will enhance and reveal their natural sugars, and simply adding sugar doesn’t compare. You want the tomatoes to be very soft, with lightly charred edges. The garlic cloves should be soft, with caramelized papery skins.
- This soup doesn’t simmer long, so it’s important to start with a good quality vegetable stock that’s infused with flavor. Use homemade if you have it. You could also use homemade chicken stock, which will add another layer of richness.
- Adding cream is optional (but recommended!). A little goes a long way, and I added just a quarter cup. I’ve also made this with full-fat coconut milk, which is equally delicious. I use a half-cup of coconut milk.
Storing and freezing
- In the Fridge: store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for 5 days. Because this soup lasts and lasts (and gets better each day), it’s ideal for meal prep.
- In the Freezer: cool the soup in the fridge, then transfer to airtight freezer containers for up to three months. There isn’t enough cream in this recipe for curdling to be an issue, but if you’re concerned, prepare the recipe as expected, omit the cream, and add it in when you reheat. Defrost in the fridge overnight and rewarm over medium heat on the stovetop. It’s a welcome taste of summer in the winter!
Make it your way
- Vegan or Dairy Free: simply skip the cream, or use a half cup of full-fat coconut milk instead
- Paleo or Whole30: use homemade chicken bone broth (for added fat) and full-fat coconut milk instead of cream.
More hearty soup recipes
- Curried Cauliflower Soup
- Creamy Broccoli Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Carrot Apple Soup
- Nourishing Potato Onion Soup
- Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Did you make this roasted tomato soup? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- 4 lb vipe tomatoes, quartered
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated, but skin intact
- 1/4 cup, plus 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 quart vegetable broth, homemade or high quality
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- Heat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the quartered tomatoes on the baking sheet, then sprinkle the garlic cloves throughout the tomatoes.
- Drizzle the tomatoes and garlic with the olive oil. Using your clean hands, rub the oil into the tomatoes and garlic cloves, leaving them evenly distributed throughout the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are very soft and starting to caramelize around the edges.
- When the tomatoes have 30 minutes remaining, start the onions. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and sautee until soft, stirring occasionally, 6-7 minutes. Sprinkle the onions with the dried basil and oregano and sautee until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pot; cook until the vinegar stops bubbling and reduces by half. Add the broth and fresh thyme to the pot, increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10-15 minutes to infuse the broth with flavor. Turn off the burner.
- Remove the roasted garlic cloves from the baking sheet - use tongs, it will be hot! Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes.
- Fish out the thyme bundle, and shake to release any leaves. Add the roasted tomatoes to the broth and onion mixture. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its paper shell and add to the soup mixture.
- Add the heavy cream if using and 1/4 cup fresh basil. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup in the pot until smooth. Add additional broth if needed to reach the desired consistency.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with additional fresh basil. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Use the freshest tomatoes for best flavor.
- If you don't have fresh thyme, add 1/4 tsp dried thyme along with the basil and oregano.
- Don't rush the roasting process. Roasting the tomatoes and garlic will enhance and reveal their natural sugars, and simply adding sugar doesn't compare. You want the tomatoes to be very soft, with lightly charred edges. The garlic cloves should be soft, with caramelized papery skins.
- Adding cream is optional (but recommended!) and a little goes a long way.
- Make it vegan or dairy free: simply skip the cream, or use a half cup of full-fat coconut milk instead
- Make it paleo or Whole30: use homemade chicken bone broth (for added fat) and full-fat coconut milk instead of cream.