One-Pot Wonders

Tomato Soup With a Whole Head of Garlic

July 12, 2021
48 Ratings
Photo by Carolina Gelen
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

I find myself making this recipe at least once a week. It’s satisfying, comforting, and requires almost no effort to make. You dump a bunch of things in a pan, forget about it for 30 minutes, come back, blend it all up, and voila, dinner is ready!

One ingredient makes all the difference here: a whole head of garlic, roasted until buttery tender. It adds such a nice touch, sweet and creamy, not overpowering, just right. The best way to serve this? With a fried sourdough toast or a melty grilled cheese.

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Borosilicate Glass Baking Dish
- Vitamix One High-Speed Blender
- Staub Ceramic 2-Piece Nesting Oval Baking Dishes Set

Carolina Gelen

What You'll Need
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints (about 650 grams) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 small garlic head, halved crosswise
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 red chile, optional
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, soy cream, or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  1. Heat the oven to 480°F (250°C).
  2. Drizzle some oil into a deep baking dish. Add in the onion, garlic (cut side down), basil and thyme, chile, and tomatoes. Drizzle more olive oil on top, plus a big sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly charred.
  3. Let cool for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme. Add the rest of the ingredients to a blender, along with the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Remove the little plug from the blender lid, then cover the lid with a kitchen towel and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Serve with a piece of buttered toast or a grilled cheese sandwich.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Christine Tetreault
    Christine Tetreault
  • Jessica Stirling
    Jessica Stirling
  • Medora Van Denburgh
    Medora Van Denburgh
  • peachespeaches
Carolina is a resident at Food52. She's also one of the hosts of Choose Your Own Recipe Adventure, our YouTube show where our Food52 readers pick the ingredients and techniques for a brand new recipe. Carolina recently immigrated to the U.S. from Transylvania, a place she spent most of her life. She continues to get inspired by the classic Romanian and Hungarian foods she was raised on, creating approachable, colorful, and fun recipes. For more cooking ideas and candid moments, check out her Instagram @carolinagelen.

73 Reviews

peachespeaches October 28, 2023
Delicious! Thank you! BUT can you please specify a few things:

1) How much is a “bunch” of thyme? Could you estimate in number of sprigs? My grocery stores don’t sell thyme by the bunch and I’d like a more accurate way to measure.

2) How much is a “bunch” of basil? Could you estimate, for example measurement in packed cup(s)? My grocery stores don’t sell basil by the bunch and I’d like a more accurate way to measure.

Medora V. October 29, 2023
Reminds me of my grandmother's recipes, which included phrases like "a handful of flour" and "a piece of butter the size of an egg." Whose hand? What size egg? I think she had a measuring cup, but I don't remember ever seeing her use it--and everything always came out wonderfully. to the rescue. They determined that the average bunch of thyme is about an ounce, or about 44 sprigs. But if I head out to Grandma's garden for a bunch of thyme, I'm neither weighing or counting. It's just what feels right in my hand. After going on seven decades of cooking, I've come to believe that measuring is overrated.
Danielle October 7, 2023
Made this recipe exactly as instructed with coconut milk (I was a little heavy handed with the milk) - it was phenomenal. And it’s even better next day. The whole family liked this one, including the tomato-hating kid.
luxy September 25, 2023
I loved making and eating this recipe. I left out the chili peppers and used a whole can of coconut milk, instead of 1/2 a cup. I will be making this soup all the time!
TAYLOR W. September 25, 2023
This was delicious and super easy! I'll second the other reviewers that the immersion blender just doesn't get it to the right consistency. I started with it but gave up and used my Ninja in the end.
cdesousa5 September 25, 2023
I happen to like my immersion blender better than my food processor. You can get the herbs much more blended into the soup than in a blender or food processor. However you do need to use it for more than just a few seconds.
cdesousa5 September 24, 2023
This recipe is a great base to add more ingredients to make the flavor more complex. For example: roasted red pepper, oregano, a little sugar to cut the acid, etc. I took one star off because I am surprised nobody talks about all the seeds that are in the soup from the cherry tomatoes. After I blend everything together except the cream I sieve the liquid to remove all the seeds. With a double recipe I had nearly 1/3 cups of seeds! Also nothing is mentioned about putting on stove to heat but not to boil because of the cream. Even without sieving out the seeds this would be luke warm if you did not heat it up before serving. As I said before I love this recipe as a base and will use it for making with my fresh tomatoes and freeze some (before adding the cream) to have after tomato season has ended on a cold winter day.
Danielle October 7, 2023
I blended in a Vitamix and didn’t have this problem
michellelhoughton September 21, 2023
OH. MY. GOSH. Not only does my kitchen smell like a restaurant, but this just seriously made me swoon while smiling with glee at an amazing way to use some of the bounty of tomatoes in the garden! Thank you! I love the coconut milk - what a deliciously and subtle complexity.
michellelhoughton September 21, 2023
I should add: I thinned some Greek Yogurt to swirl on top, along with another recipe from a french website for radish top pesto. Highly, HIGHLY recommend!
Lauren September 19, 2023
Made this for lunch while I worked from home - so easy and delicious. Doubled the recipe so we could enjoy a grilled cheese and creamy tomato soup dinner on this fall day.
WWLady September 18, 2023
Absolutely delicious!! So flavourful! I hate it when people review a recipe and they've made a lot of changes, so I must confess, I didn't have any vegetable stock, only chicken stock, and I doubled the recipe AND it was beyond fantastic! The best tomato soup I've ever had!
Ambrrk September 18, 2023
Has anyone has good results freezing this? I have a ton of tomatoes to use up now. Hope the cream doesn't turn weird in the freezer...
JV September 18, 2023
I haven’t tried freezing, but if you’re worried you can easily leave out the cream and add it after defrosting - it’s added at the end, doesn’t get cooked in.
Ambrrk September 19, 2023
Thanks, great idea
michellelhoughton September 21, 2023
I doubled it and froze the second half! It froze beautifully in ziploc bags. Can't tell you how it thaws, yet, though! :-)
Dorota D. February 9, 2023
Don't think any longer just make this recipe ! it's a keeper for me .
pamela T. January 10, 2023
I too loved this recipe but it was a little too sweet for me so I added a bit of curry. Loved it!
Bernadette January 3, 2023
This soup is absolutely delicious! From the aroma while the ingredients roast in the oven to the first taste, this recipe is perfection! Thank you for such a nutritious and yummy recipe. I cannot imagine using another tomato soup recipe now that I've found this one.
reywints November 29, 2022
This recipe has become one of my all-time favorites! It's become the only tomato soup my family will eat!
adparnell October 26, 2022
This soup has become a staple in our house. It is nourishing, comforting, delicious and customizable. Can't recommend it enough!
nercon5 September 27, 2022
Gosh this was delicious. I did it all in my dutch oven and just used the stick blender in the pot. This will seem like a glib comparison, but for all my ladies from tx (hey y’all!) it reminded me of a sophisticated version of la mad’s tomato bisque
Christine T. September 2, 2022
Ermygawd! This is the best tomato soup I have ever had…and the easiest. I followed the recipe exactly, the red chili is the finishing chef’s kiss.
Deborah January 18, 2022
This soup was fantastic, even without any fresh herbs. I used extra broth and greek yogurt, dried basil and no chili. My ingredients were limited. But it's delicious. I urge you to roast extra garlic to spread on a baguette.
cmhgmantsch January 11, 2022
Delicious and so easy!!!
Sadieray August 2, 2021
I am looking at a photo with this recipe that has pesto and maybe cream on top? Can someone clarify as I see no reference to a topping in the recipe. Thanks!
Medora V. August 3, 2021
Apparently the pesto comes up in the Instagram video.
Jessica S. April 20, 2021
Wonderful! I make it weekly!