I can’t stress enough how much I love soup. However, the soup of all soups to me, is a creamy, rich tomato soup with lots of toasty bread for dipping. When Chet and I got married, our main course was tomato bisque with mini grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Other than marrying Chet, that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. We’ve all had memories of staying home sick (or “sick”…sorry mom) from school and curling up on the couch with a blanket and a bowl of tomato soup. It’s healing, it’s delicious, it gives you a reason to eat grilled cheese sandwiches and it’s something everybody loves.
Every family has their own homemade tomato soup recipe. Whether it’s passed down from your mom, your grandma, your mother-in-law or your great aunt Cindy, everyone has a recipe that they call their own and swear by being the best. I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong. I’ve had “the best tomato soup of my life” probably six times in my life. I don’t think this means I’m dramatic, I think it means that tomato soup can be damn good in so many different ways. This particular recipe, with a few unexpected ingredients, has become my tomato soup recipe that I will pass down to my kids, share with my friends and never stop raving about.
Why do I love it so much? The two ingredients that make this particular tomato soup recipe so amazing are balsamic vinegar and crème fraîche. Forget the heavy cream, put down the red peppers and leave the butter in the fridge where it belongs. The tang and light creamy flavor that these two magical ingredients brings, leaves no room for the traditional additives.
Don’t believe me? Then you better start cooking.
One of the best things about soup is that it welcomes a large hunk of bread as a ‘side’ dish. Anytime I go out to dinner and they offer free bread and olive oil on the table, it’s an instant 5 star restaurant in my book. I love bread. I don’t eat it everyday, but when someone pulls out a baguette, I know I’m in for a good night. As much as I wanted to pair this soup with a cheesy, melty grilled cheese sandwich, I wanted to make something a little lighter and a little easier. Crunchy crostini topped with an incredible blend of herbs and spices, makes this dish hard to stop eating.
Do I dunk the bread in the soup or do I just eat the bread and the soup separate? Do I even toast the bread or do I just have bread and herb dipping oil as an appetizer before my soup? Do I eat the whole baguette or make only the right portion size? These questions will haunt you as you mix savory spices with clean, fresh herbs to adorn your soft baguette. It’s a perfect pair that shouldn’t be messed with.
What to Bring to the Store
In order to reduce your waste, mainly produced by packaging, I recommend you bring the following reusable items with you to the store:
- reusable produce bags for your tomatoes, basil and carrot (no need to bag your onion or garlic)
- reusable spice bags or jars for your herb oil dried herbs of choice
As always, bring your reusable grocery bags!
This recipe gets a 4 out of 5 on the waste meter scale! The waste meter is designed to help gauge how wasteful a recipe is during the process of making it. I do my best to make recipes that call for mainly bulk items or produce. Here’s what goes in your recycle bin from this delicious meal:
- crème fraîche tub
- vegetable or chicken stock carton
- paper baguette bag (try to find one without any plastic on it)
As for all of your vegetable scraps, compost them! The only item that goes in your trash are any produce stickers that came on your veggies (don’t compost the veggies with them)! Overall, no real garbage was produced in the making of this crazy awesome recipe.
- 10 tomatoes (I used roma)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch of basil
- 2 1/2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp creme fraiche
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 baguette (pick your favorite flavor)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp dried herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme)
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Rinse tomatoes and cut off the ends. Slice in half (short side) and place on a baking sheet with a rim. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and a few dashes of salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add in the diced garlic, onion and carrot. Let them cook for 5-7 minutes until they soften. While those are cooking, dice up the basil stalks, then add them in, cooking for 1 more minute.
- Add the tomatoes, plus any juices, to the pot along with the stock. Stir and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. (MOVE ONTO CROSTINI)
- In your blender, puree the mixture until completely smooth. Pour back into the pot and warm on low heat. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and creme fraiche, adjust seasoning to taste. Rip basil leaves and add on top to garnish.
- While your tomato mixture is simmering, set your oven to low broil and place a rack on the highest level. Slice baguette into 1/2"-3/4" rounds and place on a baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk all oil ingredients together (olive oil, garlic, herbs, chili flakes and salt). Lightly brush herb oil over baguette rounds. Broil for 2-3 minutes (monitor carefully so they don't burn). Set aside to serve with soup.
- This recipe makes four 3/4 cup servings. I recommend doubling or tripling it if you're cooking for more people!