Thursday Recipe Exchange: Tomato Soups

From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

Soooo…anything happening this week I should know about? :-)

It’s been a flurry of activity here. Saw Pitch Perfect and really liked it. I roasted my first turkey of the season, it turned out pretty good, I may post about that later this weekend. A friend had knee surgery so I went and did a bit of gardening for her. It was a beautiful, warm day to be in the garden and she has a fabulous yard. But all good things must come to an end, and the weather is about to turn and be quite chilly. This put me in the mood for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, so I dug around and found two of my favorite tomato soup recipes that I haven’t made in a while, mostly because I’m been making batches of spinach tomato soup. I thought it was time to add some variety. Both of tonight’s recipes are almost as quick as opening up a can of soup, but much more satisfying.

First up is the Hearty Tomato Soup and Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese (recipe here). I use roasted tomatoes when I can for a more complex flavor. The featured recipe of Tomato Bell Pepper Soup was originally part of a menu that included Orange Glazed Salmon, but it’s just as good with a nice sandwich for a quick dinner.

How about you, when the weather turns cold, what do you start to crave? Do you make your own tomato soup and how do you jazz it up? What are your favorite, go-to soups on a cold fall day?

The photo above is JeffreyW making the simplest lunch look delicious.

And finally, tonight’s featured recipe:

Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup:

4 large, ripe tomatoes, halved (or equivalent canned diced tomatoes)
1 red onion, peeled quartered
1 large red bell pepper, halved & seeded
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
grilling basket & saucepan

Toss tomatoes, onions & bell pepper with oil, season with salt & pepper. Place vegetables in grilling basket, cut side down and grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Add vegetables, garlic, chicken broth, vinegar, sugar to blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cream & basil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with bacon when served.

53 replies
  1. 1
    ruemara says:

    I’ve been fighting cold/flu/bronchitis/whatever for nearly 2 weeks plus a massive bp spike and a 2 day nosebleed, so all I want is soup. I’ve been pureeing big can of tomatoes with broth, a tablespoon of garlic and a teaspoon of no salt seasoning along with half a used lemon and a dash of red chili flake. It makes a nice 4 serving meal for breakfast lunch and dinner. This looks delicious, though. Wait. I made the exact same soup tonight because I got my hands on a jar of roasted peppers.

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    Confession time: I don’t care for tomato soup. Not sure why, it just tastes too sweet to me. I make a mean chicken soup though.

  3. 3
    ruemara says:

    FYWP. U R POOPYHEAD. ruemara +1vicodin.

  4. 4
    Wag says:

    My favorite restaurant here in Colorado is Larkspur, in Vail. This morning on their FB page they posted their recipe for tomato soup. I’ve had the soup in the restaurant witht heir yummy grilled chefs sandwiches, and I’m looking forward to trying it with the last of my garden tomatoes this weekend.

    Larkspur Palisade Tomato Soup
    Makes approximately 8-10 ounce servings
    ¾ pound Yellow Onion (small dice)
    ¼ pound Celery (small dice)
    ¼ pound Carrot (small dice)
    4 cloves Garlic
    3 tbs Blended oil
    5 pounds Palisade tomatoes
    1 Bay leaves
    2 sprigs Thyme
    1 pinch Pimente de Espelette
    ½ tbs Black pepper (ground)
    1 tbs Kosher salt
    ¼ cup Polenta
    To Finish
    2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive oil
    1 cup Heavy Cream
    3 tbs Sherry vinegar
    1 tbs Honey
    To taste Basil, chopped
    To taste salt
    To taste Black pepper (ground)
    1 tbs grated Grana Padano or Parmesan

    • Chop garlic with a few T of warm water;
    • In skillet, make a soffrito: sauté garlic, onion, celery, carrot and oil at Medium High until amber color is achieved (at least 15-20min). Remove from skillet;
    • Wash, slice all tomatoes in ½. Place in skillet and heat on high until liquid is boiling. Add spices/aromatics. Simmer for 1h;
    • Whisk in polenta, add soffrito back into the soup, and simmer for 1h;
    • Puree soup in a blender, in small batches, pass through chinois.

    To Finish: Bring soup to simmer, season w/ cream, sherry vinegar, and honey, season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve w/ chopped basil, EVOO, grated Grana Padano.

  5. 5
    Lavocat says:

    1. Take a bunch of ramen and crumble it into a large bowl;
    2. Cook up a batch of Campbell’s tomato soup with lots of milk in it, together with REAL chunks of tomato;
    3. Add minced clams (or whatever) if the mood strikes;
    4. Make sure there is a good bit of garlic in the mix;
    5. Pour the steaming hot soup over the crumbled ramen;
    6. Enjoy.

    This is called Poor Student’s Soup and it really sticks to your bones on a damned cold day, with a minimum of expense.

  6. 6

    I don’t have a recipe — I think the basics are pretty much all the same — but I’ll use my stovetop smoker to smoke tomatoes and then puree them to turn them into a smoked tomato soup. Really good.

  7. 7
    John Weiss says:

    Some of you all are having upper respiratory problems. Common this time of year. The answer to it is chicken coconut soup. I don’t have any idea why it’s so efficacious.

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    @Southern Beale: I really really want to do a roasted tomato sauce. I bet that’d be really good with the smoked maters too!

  9. 9
    Carnacki says:

    I want to marry that bowl of soup and grilled cheese. What state is that legal in?

  10. 10
    Roger Moore says:

    I like hearty stews when the weather gets cold. Right now, I’m having chile con carne. The recipe is pretty simple:

    6 oz dried chilies, stemmed and seeded
    1 large onion, diced
    1 chuck roast, cut into 1″ cubes
    Olive oil
    6 cloves garlic
    Oregano, cumin, and salt to taste
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar

    Cover chilies with boiling water and allow to steep. While chilies are steeping, brown onions and cubed chuck roast in the olive oil in a heavy skillet, then transfer to stew pot. Blend rehydrated chilies, garlic, oregano, cumin, and steeping water until smooth. Add blended mixture to meat and onions. Add the red wine vinegar and more water to thin the mixture until runny. Simmer mixture until reduced to a thick stew, at least 2 hours and preferably all day. Salt to taste. Serve with beans and tortillas.

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    @John Weiss: Most likely it has ginger and garlic. That and, well, it’s chicken soup. Jewish moms have been cooking that for sick kids for hundreds of years.

  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That’s probably delicious, but twenty ingredients?? Seems excessive to me. YMMV.

  13. 13
    redshirt says:

    Grilled Cheese rarely is as satisfying as you think/hope it will be. IMO!

  14. 14
    Paddy says:

    This time of year I tend to go ethnic. Lots of Hunter’s Stew from Poland, Irish Stew and Stuffed Cabbage Stoup. I just google around and see what recipe meets what I have in the house and go from there. Oh, and Mexican or Harvest Pork Stew is another great way to use inexpensive materials for tummy filling tasty food.

  15. 15
    Cassidy says:

    I make my homemade chicken noodle soup with chicken and veggie stock (2:1). You can throw anything you like in, but I avoid celery, and then simmer in the crock pot. My key ingredient is cilantro and lemon juice.

  16. 16
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Yutsano: I see you and raise. I think tomato soup is one of the single most vile food-like substances a human being can eat, excluding food that is actively putrefying or still bleeding. There’s something very, very wrong about it. And I’m not a picky eater of a supertaster or anything. It just triggers something. Some traumatic experience or something, I guess.

  17. 17
    andy says:

    Made some soup with kale, kielbasa and taters the other day. Kind of got out of the habit as far a soup making, but now that it’s a little chillier, it makes sense again.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    I love fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce and all kinds of recipes that include tomatoes, but I’ve never liked tomato soup or tomato joice. I guess it’s just too much tomato-ey goodness for me.

    I made this Quick Chicken Corn Chowder for dinner, and it hit the spot on a rainy Los Angeles night. I did make a couple of substitutions based on the grocery store, though — I put in a “Southwest” mix of frozen veggies instead of just corn (it was corn, bell peppers, black beans, and mild chile peppers) and I used smoked chicken sausage instead of cooked chicken breast.

    Also, too, I discovered posole (also known as pozole) a few years ago and have loved it ever since. Chicken, tomatoes and giant corn (aka hominy)? Yes, please! This recipe comes pretty close to the way I make it.

    If it stays rainy this weekend, it may be time to break out the crockpot and make beef stew.

  19. 19
    Roger Moore says:

    If your grilled cheese isn’t satisfying, you’re doing it wrong. IMO, the keys to good grilled cheese:

    1) Use good cheese, but don’t go overboard. The cheese should melt well but not leave such a thick layer that the slices of bread slide around on a lubricating layer of melted cheese.

    2) Use real bread. I like a good sourdough, mostly because that’s what I bake, but any bread that has a good firm crumb will do. It needs to taste like something to help balance the cheese. Also, too, a bread with some coarse holes will help with the lubricating cheese layer thing, because the cheese will sink into the holes in the bread instead of staying in a thick layer.

    3) Butter your bread with real butter.

    4) Grill on moderate heat so the bread gets nicely browned as the cheese is done melting.

    5) Eat promptly after cooking.

  20. 20
    Linnaeus says:


    Lots of Hunter’s Stew from Poland

    Bigos! Love that stuff.

    I make a celery & Stilton soup that’s good anytime of year. Where did I put that recipe…?

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:


    It depends — sometimes only Mom’s Grilled Cheese (white bread and processed cheese slices) will be satisfactory, even if a gourmand would shudder at the idea. (I am also one of those people who eats boxed mac and cheese with a sliced-up hot dog stirred in as comfort food.)

    Alton Brown has a really good grilled cheese recipe that requires two (2) cast iron skillets. Really.

  22. 22
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @redshirt: I used to think that too, until I added tomatoes, mayonnaise and jalapenos. And I have a really good bread.

    But then it’s not really grilled cheese anymore, is it? ;-)

  23. 23
    Linnaeus says:


    (I am also one of those people who eats boxed mac and cheese with a sliced-up hot dog stirred in as comfort food.)

    I mix in ground beef cooked with chili powder.

  24. 24
    Wag says:


    Any soup made from scratch is going to have a minimum of five ingredients (onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and a base ingredient like chicken or tomato in this case). Garlic? I think most here would call that a requirement. You can’t count slat and pepper, which go in everything. So now you’re down to 12 ingredients. Thyme? cream? a touch of honey? basil? What’s not to love? Substitute Paprika for the Pimente de Espelette. A little sherry vinegar and you’re pretty much there. Nothing that shouldn’t already be in the kitchen.


    Find and post, please!

  25. 25
    suzanne says:

    You people are all batshit. Tomato soup is one of the most delicious things on the planet. Especially with just a little bit of cayenne to wake you up a little. Of course, I haven’t had bacon in almost twenty years and was never a fan anyway, so I guess my food preferences are strange.

    I love raw red peppers, but am not big on them roasted. Will probably try this anyway.

  26. 26
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Mnemosyne: Mac ‘n cheese made with jalapeno velveeta, topped with diced tomatoes. Ultimate comfort food. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

  27. 27
    agorabum says:

    @John Weiss: Good Tom Kha Kai is the way to go (a Thai coconut chicken soup).
    If the Thai place is doing it right, it should have some spice in it and some oyster mushrooms.

  28. 28
    JGabriel says:


    “We will certainly face many battles in Congress in the coming months that will give us the opportunity to clearly articulate the failures of liberalism and the common sense of conservative alternatives,” Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, said Thursday on Facebook.

    Failure? You mean like Conservative failure to win the election on Tuesday, jackass Sen. DeMint?

    ‘Cuz I heard that kind of failure has consequences.


  29. 29
    Anne Laurie says:


    Grilled Cheese rarely is as satisfying as you think/hope it will be. IMO!

    I think people try to ‘fancy it up’ too much — it’s not the right place for gourmet wholegrain bread & delicate, exotic cheeses. Good quality white (esp. sourdough) bread, cheddar or even ‘pre-cheddar’ (American) for proper meltyness, lots of butter (not olive oil or butter-substitutes). It’ll never quite taste like you remember from gradeschool, because your tastebuds are no longer that fresh & unspoiled, but plain bread & strong cheese, plus much butter, FTW!

    ETA: Durr, Roger Moore beat me to it!

  30. 30
    Roger Moore says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    Grilled cheese works well with lots of kind of cheese. I’ve had good grilled cheese made with Cheddar (real West Country Farmhouse Cheddar is fantastic), Swiss, Pepper Jack, and Gouda. I’m also rather partial to Basque Shepard’s Cheese. I think the common trend is that they’re all strongly flavored cheeses. A mild cheese just doesn’t do the trick.

  31. 31
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yes, that’s what got me started on grilled cheese as an adult. (Didn’t eat it at all as a kid because processed cheese, that’s why. Still can’t face canned tuna or salmon, either.)

    These days I use a couple of slices on my No Knead Bread with Dijon and either shredded or sliced old cheddar inside, butter outside, and a single cast iron pan. It still tastes awesome even if it isn’t pressed.

    I still have a soft spot for Campbell’s soup (made with half milk, half water and lots of dill weed and black pepper), but if you want to make your own, make up some of this tomato sauce with onion and butter, puree it once it’s done, and whisk in cream or white sauce. Plus lots of dill weed and pepper.

  32. 32
    freelancer says:

    Mmmm. Grilled cheese.

  33. 33
    Comrade Mary says:

    @freelancer: Mmmm. Grilled cheese.

    (Probably safe for work. Probably.)

  34. 34
    👽 Martin says:

    @Anne Laurie: I agree. Cheddar and a nice mustard (most people don’t do that, but try it) on a good stiff bread, with a bit of mayo as well. A good bit of butter on the outside cooked in a nice heavy cast iron skillet.

  35. 35
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Comrade Mary: Thank you. That was a wonderful read.

  36. 36
    freelancer says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Man, fuck that guy. He never said she was anti-grilled cheese, just that she has never made him one in 2 and a half years. Make your own fucking grilled cheese? Would you starve if this woman didn’t wait on you hand and foot?

  37. 37
    Comrade Mary says:


    Make your own fucking grilled cheese?

    I would pay to see that.


  38. 38
    karen says:

    I want to cook barley with the soup, I bought pearl barley, I guess medium. Could I cook that in my microwave rice steamer like I cook my rice? It seems like it takes a long time for barley to cook… and if not barley, can I cook rice in the soup or do I have to cook the rice separately ….?

  39. 39
    karen marie says:

    @Yutsano: I agree with you, when it comes to canned tomato soup, like Campbell’s, but this recipe would be fan-f*cking-tastic. The more cream you put in this recipe, the “sweeter” your soup will be, but just a dash to add some richness is just the ticket. I love grilled tomatoes, onions and red bell peppers. I am going to remember this recipe.

  40. 40
    Linnaeus says:


    Find and post, please!

    Trying to…I moved recently, so stuff is kind of in a state of disorder.

  41. 41
    Origuy says:

    Best grilled cheese I ever had was in college. There was a co-op in Urbana that sold this buttery Amish baby Swiss. Put that on brown bread and it was fantastic. Of course, that may have been relative to some of the other stuff I was eating.

  42. 42
    karen marie says:

    @redshirt: Au contraire, mon petit! Great grilled cheese is so easy! Yesterday I had grilled Vermont cheddar and Black Forest ham on regular white bread – bread, cheese, ham, cheese, ham, cheese, bread, cooked in butter on a low heat, covered, so the middle cheese gets melty too.

    If that’s too pedestrian, might I recommend Sao Jorge and presunto on a rustic bread?

    Try applying a mixture of mustard and softened butter to your bread to grill that fragrance right in.

    Munster is an excellent cheese for grilling. Perfect with some lovely tomato, salt and pepper.

  43. 43
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    Hmmm. I made some tomato soup muffins a few times in a muffin making phase. End up tasting a little like spice cake. Now where did I put that mastering muffins cookbook?

  44. 44
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    My mom used to make grilled cheese sandwiches with mayo so I think they’re better this way, but not with tomato soup. Hold the mayo.

  45. 45
    Yutsano says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Hold the mayo

    I knew I liked you for a reason.

    Tonight’s dinner: bacon and egg sammy. Yes I’m slightly slumming it.

  46. 46
    Kremer says:

    That pic looks really delicious, except for the green stuff.

    Please don’t put anything on my plate (“garnish”) that I wouldn’t normally eat anyway. I don’t *care* how artistic it looks. :P

  47. 47
    andy says:

    @Wag: I got to be a big believer in Berbere- I use it anywhere I would have used paprika, or in red sauces. Also good on steaks/chops.

  48. 48
    grins says:

    This “Post-Turkey Day Posole” is both timely, and a long time favorite (I found it in the November 2003 issue of Cooking Light ;-) ).

    Since I can only find tomato puree in quart cans and the recipe calls for 1/2 cup, I usually substitute tomato sauce.

    hey, btw, what do folks used for canned crushed or diced tomatoes? I’ve tried the Cento brand previously recommended here, and I’ve used this one: 6-in-1 ground tomatos with heavy puree.

    I find both are quite sweet, which really doesn’t work for dishes I want to be savory.

  49. 49
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    I really like the tomato soup recipe in The Moosewood Cookbook. It’s really easy to make and delicious.

    My favorite cold weather soup is the recipe on the back of the Lars Own yellow peas bag, except I use a smoked ham shank instead of pork ribs.

  50. 50
    Carnacki says:

    @suzanne: Oh Suzanne, you so had me until you dissed bacon.

  51. 51

    @redshirt: Use thick slices off of a good sourdough boule loaf (something like this), good butter, and really old cheddar.

  52. 52

    Don’t have a recipe really because I cook things like this by the seat of my pants, but a really awesome tomato soup can be gotten by sauteing onions, celery, and carrots, pureeing them with canned tomatos and chipotles in adobo, returning to the pot with vegetable stock and simmering for a while. Finish with some heavy cream.

  53. 53
    J R in WV says:

    I like a potato, chile and broccoli soup that our neighbor best friend makes (and I do to now!).

    Caramelize chopped onion, add celery and carrots and a minced roasted jalapeno, garlic at the very end for just a minute, and with additional butter to help the garlic not brown but spread the flavor of roasted garlic.

    Then add broth, sliced potatoes, some wine, let it cook 45 minutes or so, then whip or mash some potatoes with a fork, taste and make it spicy with smoked paprika or some kind of hot sauce, add broccoli chopped into small enough pieces that one of them will fit on your spoon with some thick soup. Add shredded cheese once the broccoli is in.

    You can do a salad or sandwiches, but just the thick soup if pretty sweet. Some use a can of chopped green chilis, I keep fresh jalapenos on hand now instead of bells, so that’s what I use… just stick it with a wood handled fork and roast it over the stove tap (if it’s a gas stove) or under the broiler if it isn’t. Then scrape off the burnt skin and mince it into the pot.

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