Fall has officially begun. The weather is decidedly cooler, the rain has started to descend, and the incredible need to make soup is upon us.
The only way this tomato soup could get easier, is if you grabbed a can of Campbell’s and popped the top. But then you wouldn’t have the amazing flavour… so let’s put that can down, and grab your soup pot. You’re making soup tonight!
Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Soup
Serve 4 (hearty portions)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (a couple turns of the pot)
- 2 med/large onions, diced (I used one white and one red, but that’s only because that is what I had on hand)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can San Marzano diced tomatoes
- 8 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped (I used mostly Roma’s but a variety would be nice – some vine-ripened, some yellow? The tomato world is your oyster here. Also, I didn’t skin mine, but if you want to be nit-picky then by all means….)
- 4 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped – plus some for garnish
- 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 6 cups vegetable stock – approx. 1 1/2 cartons
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Extra-aged white cheddar, grated, for garnish
Grab your largest soup pot. I have a 12-quart one that works perfectly. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add in onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic, and saute for another 3 minutes, or until all you can smell is garlic and onions.
Stir in the canned and fresh tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Add in the vegetable stock, basil and chick peas, and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Add in the balsamic vinegar. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so.
Use an immersion blender or regular stand-up blender to blend the soup into the consistency of your choosing. The chick peas will act as a natural thickener. (I kept mine “rustic”, ie. I didn’t sieve it, but if you feel the need to do that, then by all means). Place the blended soup back into a smaller soup pot (you’ll have to do this if you’re using a stand-up blender, as you’ll want to blend the soup in smaller batches, remembering this is HOT liquid and you only want to fill the blender half full). Bring the soup back to a simmer, taste for seasoning and add as much salt and pepper as you need to suit your palate. (I used quite a bit of salt to get the right flavour, so don’t be afraid here).
To serve; ladle soup into bowls, top with a chiffonade of basil, a bit of grated cheese, and a drizzling of extra-virgin olive oil.
Add a few garlic toast points to the side, or your favourite grilled cheese, and you’ve got yourself the quintessential comfort meal.
Ally Taylor is a food writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Through her All in Moderation blog, she aims to promote a healthy gourmet lifestyle for the 9-5’er. Learn more about Ally or follow her on Twitter @allinmod or Instagram @ally_in_moderation