Why should you make this tomato soup?
- It’s a great way to get a serving (or two) of vegetables
- It goes really well with grilled cheese.
- It can be a great throw-together-from-the-pantry dish
- If you make it yourself, you can control the flavor, texture, and the nutrition!
- This recipe is really flexible so you can make it how you like it
- Think of how accomplished you’ll feel as you sip that nutritious soup!
Just a heads-up: this is not a particularly quick recipe. It requires time for the onions and tomatoes to cook down, probably 30 minutes at minimum to get a nice flavor. But it does not require a lot of active time. Most of the time you can be doing something else you want to do as long as you’re making sure the kitchen isn’t burning down. Anyway, if you’re still here:
The minimum ingredients you will need are:
- Canned tomatoes
- Chopped onion
- Minced garlic
- Salt (not pictured)
- Cooking oil or butter or margarine – some sort of fat to cook your onions and garlic in
There are some extras you can add to change the flavor or texture to your liking: spices like basil, oregano, chili flakes, chili powder, cumin, pepper, etc.; sugar, broth, milk, or cream. But these aren’t necessary to make a basic soup. I’ll let you know when these would come into the recipe.
Heat a little oil (or your preferred cooking fat) in a pot over low heat. Add your onions and a pinch of salt. The salt helps build the flavor of the soup and helps draw out the water from the onions so they cook to where we want them faster. (Learned that from SORTEDfood)
Cook those onions on low heat for a long time (like 10-20 minutes) until they are nice and golden and soft. Stir occasionally, but not that often. While you’re waiting for them to cook, you can mince your garlic or wash dishes or read a book (just don’t forget about them)
Once your onions are nice and cooked, add your garlic and any herbs or spices you will use. I used a generous sprinkle of dried basil and a bit of oregano here. Let them all cook together for just about a minute. If you cook garlic like this too long it will burn and get bitter.
Add your canned tomatoes and stir to combine everything. Then turn up the heat to high and put a lid on. Let it heat up until it starts simmering (occasional bubbles), then turn it down again and keep the lid on.
At this point, the longer you simmer it, the longer the flavors will meld together. I simmered mine for probably around 20-25 minutes. You can simmer longer if you like (just don’t let it cook so long that all the liquid goes away and it burns), or shorter if you like. The tomatoes are already cooked – they just need to be heated up.
Once it’s simmered, you have options. If you like a chunky tomato soup, just taste it to make sure it doesn’t need more salt, sugar, or spices of your choosing and it’s ready to eat!
If you want a smooth, creamier soup, puree it with an immersion blender or a regular blender (careful, HOT), adding water or broth or cream to get it to the thickness you like (I used water for this one).
Adding milk can be more tricky as the acid from the tomatoes might curdle it. Warm your milk up separately, then add a little tomato soup to the milk, stir it in, then add a little more tomato to the milk. Repeat this until no more tomato will fit in your milk container, then slowly add the milk and tomato mixture back to the pot.
I’ve also read you can add 1/2 tsp baking soda to the tomatoes to neutralize the acid so it won’t curdle the milk, but I haven’t tried that.
Finally, taste! If it’s too sour, you can add a little more salt (believe it or not it helps balance out the sour taste) or some sugar.
Just the instructions (no pictures)
- Chop onion and mince garlic (I used a small onion and 1 large clove garlic)
- Heat a bit of oil/butter/margarine over low heat in a pot
- Add the onions and a pinch of salt and let cook until the onions are very soft and yellow (at least 10 minutes)
- Add the garlic and any spices you are using and cook for 1 more minute
- Add canned tomatoes and stir (I used two 14-oz cans)
- Turn the heat up to high and cover the pot with a lid, but stay there and watch!
- Once it starts to simmer (occasional bubbles), turn the heat down to low again. Keep the lid on.
- Let it simmer for as long as you want, but at least until the tomatoes are heated through (I recommend 20 minutes)
- If you like chunky soup – taste and add more salt, sugar, spices as needed!
- If you like smooth soup, blend until it’s as smooth as you want, adding water, broth, or cream until it is the thickness you want (see note about adding milk above)
- Taste and add more salt, sugar, spices as needed!