Given that I already have a tomato soup recipe that I completely adore, I am generally not inclined to try new recipes for it. Why bother? I recently stumbled upon this one while paging through cookbooks and instantly realized there was a very good reason to give it a try – its brilliant simplicity. While roasted tomato basil soup is wonderful, it requires quite a lot of fresh tomatoes, not to mention a very generous amount of fresh basil, which generally limits it to the few months of the year when really good tomatoes and basil are available. The other major drawback as I see it is the roasting of the tomatoes. While it adds a wonderful depth of flavor, the time it requires takes it out of play for weeknight meals. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

This recipe has effectively solved all of my tomato soup problems, which is a very specific and very real genre of first world problem. The ingredient list is very short so I almost always have what I need on hand. Though the recommended time for simmering and such is a tad long for a weeknight meal, you can opt to use a bit less water and then shorten the cooking time. Don’t let these qualities of convenience fool you into thinking the soup is anything less than fabulous though. This soup totally holds up against more involved versions. Since I learned of this recipe, I have made it nearly once a week and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

One last thing for true tomato soup bliss. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen my flash of brilliance bread hack for taking my grilled cheese to the next level. Normally I use my wheat sandwich bread, but this weekend I used the same dough from the rosemary olive oil rolls but baked it into a loaf and then sliced it to use for my grilled cheese. Guys, this is a game changer. The way I did it, I made one loaf in an 8.5 x 4.5-inch pan and then used the leftover dough to make six dinner rolls. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I think you could increase the amount of dough by 50% and then bake in two 10 x 5-inch loaf pans. Let me know if you try it and if so, how you like it!

  • Yield about 6-8 servings


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or start with ½ tsp. for less spice)
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 01

    Add the olive oil to a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and tender, about 10 minutes.

  • 02

    Add the tomatoes with their juices and the water to the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. (If you have less time, shorten the cooking time and add less water.) Add the basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and let cool briefly, about 5 minutes.

  • 03

    Set a fine mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl. Add the contents of the saucepan to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, venting the top to let the heat escape. Pour the soup through the strainer, pressing through to retain all of the liquid but remove the solids. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve warm.