When I saw the forecast predicted a chance of rain on Monday, my first thought was of soup. I’ve been craving it ever since summer’s fever finally broke, but have been patiently waiting for just the right moment. This is it! To kick off soup season, I made this big pot of Creamy Balsamic Tomato Soup. It’s ultra rich and velvety, full of summer flavor, but warm and cozy and perfect for fall.
This Creamy Balsamic Tomato Soup starts with sautéing onion and carrot in oil. Carrot is not a typical ingredient, but it adds some sweetness to counterbalance the acidity of the tomato as well as some body to the soup. Tomato paste, dried basil, and garlic are added just as the onions become soft and translucent. Now it’s really becoming fragrant!
The only herb I’ve added to this soup is dried basil. Compared to fresh basil, I prefer dried in soups because the flavor is concentrated, yet sweeter and less pungent. It doesn’t steal the show but adds a mellow herbal note in the background. Right now in my garden, the basil is trying to take over the whole bed. I’ve let it go to seed to attract bees so that my pumpkin blooms are well pollinated and it’s working like magic. Maybe a pumpkin soup recipe coming soon?
To dry fresh basil so that you can use it all year long, just gather a large bouquet, tie the stems with twine, and hang it in a dry place. When it crumbles to the touch, crush it into small pieces, and store it in a spice jar. It’s a really beautiful dried herb to use in soups, pastas, breads, and marinades.
Now it’s time to add the tomatoes! When making homemade tomato soup, the quality of the tomatoes is very important. I love to use Cento canned tomatoes. You can look for the can that says “whole San Marzano peeled tomatoes”, but I just had crushed tomatoes on hand. The soup will be blended in the end, so it all works out.
I also like to use the Cento tomato paste in the metal tube. Look for it in a small box near the canned tomatoes. You can just use a tablespoon or two and then store it in the fridge, unlike the small cans of tomato paste. Very convenient!
After the onions, carrots, garlic, basil, tomatoes, and chicken broth have all simmered together, the soup is blended to make it extra smooth and creamy. I have tried using an immersion blender and found that it had the best texture when I used my high powered stand blender.
The finishing touches for this Creamy Balsamic Tomato Soup are where the magic really happens. After the blended soup is poured back into the cooking pot on low heat, stir in a nice pat of butter, some heavy cream, and a good splash of balsamic vinegar. Add a little more dried basil to garnish, and taste for seasoning. Does it need more salt? More cream? A bit more vinegar? You are the boss of your lovely little kitchen, so you get to make it taste good to you.
Don’t forget to tear some hot crusty bread to go alongside. Tomato soup is made for dipping just as much as it is for the spoon. I hope you make this Creamy Balsamic Tomato Soup on a chilly day and that it warms you through and through. Don’t forget to share it with someone you love.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelylittlekitchen
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- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 28 ounce can good quality tomatoes (whole, peeled is best)
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Better Than Bullion Chicken Base*
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion and carrots in oil until they are soft and translucent. Add tomato paste, garlic, and dried basil and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes (do not drain) along with water and chicken base. Stir, and add granulated sugar and salt. Simmer gently over medium heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Carefully ladle the soup mixture into a blender, making sure to allow air to escape out of the top so it doesn’t explode as it blends. Holding a kitchen towel over the lid, blend until velvety and smooth.
- Pour the soup back into the pot on low heat. Add butter, heavy cream, and balsamic vinegar. Stir until well combined, and then taste for balance of seasonings. Add additional salt, cream, or vinegar to taste. Keep on low until ready to serve.
- Garnish with additional cream, balsamic, and dried basil if desired, and serve with torn pieces of warm, buttery, crusty bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.
*You can substitute the water and chicken base with four cups of chicken or vegetable stock.
- Serving Size: 1 Serving
- Calories: 193
- Sugar: 10g
- Sodium: 1028mg
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 5.8g
- Unsaturated Fat: 6.9g
- Trans Fat: 0.3g
- Carbohydrates: 16g
- Fiber: 3.1g
- Protein: 3.6g
- Cholesterol: 28mg