Soup

Make Tomato Soup Tonight, With the Help of Your Pantry

Ready, set, simmer.

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October 22, 2018
Photo by Rocky Luten

We've partnered with Muir Glen to celebrate the season with recipes, tips, and videos that making holiday entertaining easy, elegant, and totally stress-free. Up first: Cozy tomato soup combos that make a perfect in-between-parties bite.

Tomato soup is my desert island food. As in, the single dish I’d bring if I knew I were going to be stranded. I’d take the classic version I make once a week in the winter, which to me is the edible equivalent of sitting near a crackling fire, wrapped in a soft flannel blanket, reading a really addictive mystery novel.

It’s a loose (read: lazy) variation of an Ina Garten recipe, and includes both roasted fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes, along with lots of sautéed alliums, broth, basil, red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of cayenne. If I have one on hand, I usually throw a Parmesan rind in there too. Some weeks, I omit the roasted tomatoes, and double down on the canned. Others, I’ll dabble with different fresh or dried herbs, like oregano. I’ve stirred in everything from Greek yogurt to coconut cream to miso, and I’m proud to report, it’s never gone awry.

There are about as many ways to pull together a bowl of tomato soup as there are spices in your pantry. That’s what makes tomato soup perfect for my hypothetical desert island scenario: It’s endlessly riffable, and consequently, impossible to grow tired of. The moment I arrived on the island, I would get scavenging for new stuff to add (well, after I fired off some smoke signals) like green onions, spicy peppers, and maybe a fist-full of sage.

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The best thing about tomato soup is that you don’t need a recipe to reach cozy, deeply flavorful nirvana. It’s all about instinct and convenience; here are the basics:

  • Sauté the harder-fleshed ingredients together in a cooking fat, before adding the liquid ones.
  • Simmer together for a while with seasonings, until it tastes just right.
  • Add any finishing ingredients, like cream.
  • Serve with garnishes that accent the soup.

Take my souped-up version, inspired by peperonata, for example. I came up with it on a whim recently when I was in the mood for something with serious roasted flavor and depth.

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Top Comment:
“For my tomato soup i saute onion and garlic in plenty of olive oil and then add an entire small can of tomato paste and stir to cook it a bit, then add a 16oz can of original v8 juice which is definitely magic. Then one big can of whole plum tomatoes and one big can worth of water or veg stock. Lots of black pepper. For a more filling slightly creamy soup i add a can of drained cannelini beans. Let simmer, taste for salt, then blitz smooth with my immersion blender. Topped with some crunchy croutons”
— Ttrockwood
Comment

You roughly chop some red peppers, garlic, and onion, and toss it all into a soup pot with a few large glugs of olive oil. Once everything’s nice and jammy, you add a couple cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, plus broth and tomato paste. After you’ve let the flavors meld and the texture thicken, you stir in a touch of red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper, and then blend until smooth.

The only important thing to remember when you're riffing in your own kitchen is that there are no real rules when it comes to tomato soup, except for this one: If we get stranded on the same desert island, you'd better promise to give me a bite.


The perfect tomato soup pairing

What's your favorite way to satisfy a tomato soup craving? Let us know in the comments!

In partnership with Muir Glen—makers of premium, organic tomato products grown in California's Sacramento Valley, aka our go-to canned tomatoes—we're excited to share all the ways we holiday. From make-ahead appetizers to dinner table show-stoppers, you can look forward to party-ready recipes that are even easier (and tastier!) when you bring a few cans of Muir Glen tomatoes into the mix.

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8 Comments

Ttrockwood October 23, 2018
I am generally incapable of making a small amount of soup, i stash extra portions in my freezer. For my tomato soup i saute onion and garlic in plenty of olive oil and then add an entire small can of tomato paste and stir to cook it a bit, then add a 16oz can of original v8 juice which is definitely magic. Then one big can of whole plum tomatoes and one big can worth of water or veg stock. Lots of black pepper. <br />For a more filling slightly creamy soup i add a can of drained cannelini beans. Let simmer, taste for salt, then blitz smooth with my immersion blender. Topped with some crunchy croutons
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. October 23, 2018
Sounds so delicious! I love to stock up on soup in my freezer, too—the hard part is leaving enough in the pot to transfer to storage :)
 
HalfPint October 22, 2018
I like to make Ming Tsai's tomato soup with basil and fresh grated ginger, using canned whole tomatoes. Comes together in 15 minutes and is wonderful with a crusty loaf of bread.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. October 23, 2018
Wow, that sounds so delicious. Will need to try adding fresh grated ginger ASAP!
 
Shelley M. October 22, 2018
That little slosh of wine vinegar at the end makes all the difference.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. October 23, 2018
I was so surprised by how little it took!
 
Panfusine October 22, 2018
I toss in a mix of coarsely crushed cinnamon, cloves, pepper coriander and cumin with arbol chilies while simmering the soup, to confer an Indian flavor, to be paired with pieces of naan or paratha for dipping. growing up , this was a comfort food that my mom used to make sometimes when I had a cold. The liquid used for the soup was barley simmered water, along with some grains of the cooked barley.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. October 23, 2018
Mmm, I'd love to try that—it sounds wonderful.