Fresh Tomato-Basil Soup

Harvest is beginning. In spite of our recent hail, my garden is actually producing some edibles, and the farmers’ markets are overflowing. How to take advantage of all this fresh produce? Tomato-basil soup is a delicious way to use lots of tomatoes and fresh basil.

If you’re familiar with canned tomato soup—this is nothing like that. No modified food starch, only a minuscule amount of sugar… this is the real thing. Don’t worry, you can still serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches. Just make them with a hearty whole wheat bread and a more interesting cheese than American!

Fresh Tomato-Basil Soup

  • 4 large tomatoes, skin removed, and coarsely chopped (it’s OK to use canned tomatoes in the winter)
  • Butter and/or olive oil (I use a combination)
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 C chicken broth (I use Tome’s chicken stock base to make this—or use veggie stock for a vegan version)
  • 1 tsp. sugar or substitute (unless your tomatoes are home-grown sweet)
  • 1 C basil leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Peel the tomatoes (see below) and coarsely chop them. In a pot big enough to hold the finished soup, heat the butter and/or oil and add the onions. Sauté them until the onions are limp. Add the carrots, tomatoes, 1 cup of the broth and sugar. Simmer until the carrots are tender, about 15 – 20 minutes. (It takes about 30 minutes at our 7,000 foot elevation.) Add the basil leaves. Remove from heat.

Dump the soup into a blender and purée, leaving some texture. Return to the pot and add the other half of the chicken broth. Heat, season and serve.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Instead of chicken broth, add 2 C milk or light cream (nonfat half-and-half is fine), along with 2 tsp. chicken stock base. You can use heavier cream… yum, but it sure adds (saturated) fat and calories.

To peel tomatoes: Put enough water in a small pot to completely cover tomatoes (but don’t add the tomatoes yet). Bring water to boil. Turn off heat. Using slotted spoon (I love those Chinese strainers made from brass wire), dip each tomato into the steaming hot water for about 30 seconds. Remove to bowl. The skin should slip right off.

(This works really well for peeling fresh peaches, too.)

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