Tomato soup is right up there with some of the most popular soups, not only for winter but all year-round. Its crowd-pleasing qualities mean that it’s a failsafe for nearly any occasion. Need something warming in the dead of winter? A creamy version with cheese toasties is the way to go. What to serve for a summer lunch? Cooling tomato gazpacho is your best bet. After a pantry-based midweek dinner? You get where we’re going with this. Whatever your requirements are, tomato soup can probably meet them.
A note about tomatoes
In an ideal world, we’d use fresh tomatoes to make our soup from scratch. These tomatoes would be perfectly ripe and full of flavour, and on top of that, we’d have the time to roast them lovingly before turning them into soup. In reality, nobody has time for that, and sometimes, tomatoes can be unpredictable and often bang average in terms of flavour and ripeness. Unless you live on a Southern Italian island with consistently plump tomatoes every day of the year, save yourself the stress of thinking you need to use fresh tomatoes to make soup. If you do happen to have ripe tomatoes and time to roast them, go for it, but there’s nothing wrong with tinned tomatoes. We’ve said it before that tinned tomatoes are not only a great substitute for fresh, in most cases, they’re even better quality than what you can pick up at your local grocer. Especially in the middle of winter, when tomatoes aren’t their best, go for whole, peeled tomatoes and move on with your life. If you really feel like you’re missing out, you can roast your tinned tomatoes in the same way you would whole.
As we’ve established above, tomatoes aren’t always the most consistent. If you find your soup is a little bland, adding umami bombs, such as soy or Worcestershire sauce can do a lot to add depth of flavour. An old faithful Parmesan rind also won’t hurt, so you can throw one in once you’ve added your tomatoes – just remember to fish it out before blending if it hasn’t already melted.
How to make tomato soup
The real beauty of a simple tomato soup is that it’s just that – simple. Like any good soup, you need a base of onions and garlic, to which you add tomatoes, allow everything to cook and meld together before blending. However, adding peeled and diced carrots to the base can contribute a bit of sweetness that tomatoes often need, and a pinch or two of smoked paprika will help deepen the flavour overall. If you’re after something a little richer, a cream-based tomato soup is a surefire winner. The simplest way to do this is to add a generous splash of cream just before blending everything. Alternatively, once you’re finished blending, you can add a tablespoon or two of plain yoghurt, for extra richness.
Find our step-by-step for a basic tomato soup below and some of our favourite recipes here: