This Tomato Basil soup is all about flavor and substance. Fresh vegetables, an apple and a small amount of Orzo pasta give this soup a lot of flavor and a thicker consistency that makes it deliciouse and satisfying. If you’re a fan of heavy cream you may add a small amount at the end, but this soup does not really need any extra fat and calories to taste good. For the vegetarian version vegetable stock may be used instead of the chicken stock.
If you like your food on the healthier side you’re really going to love this recipe. It is wholesome and so very fresh and tasty. Sometimes I enjoy rich and indulgent foods and have no problem using ghee, butter, or whipped cream in my recipes for exceptional results. On the other hand, sometimes I like to come up with delicious recipes that are also light. I have used fresh tomatoes in this soup but if the convenience of canned tomatoes appeals to you, I would recommend using whole tomatoes that you can crush into pieces before adding them to the soup.
Tomato Basil Soup is served in our house year round because everyone loves it so much. I like making it because of all the fresh ingredients that are used in this recipe. As wonderful as tomatoes are, cooking them actually further enhances some of their well known benefits. I core an unpeeled apple and use a blender or food processor to make apple puree; I have also used apple sauce instead in the past. I use my food processor to roughly chop the fresh unpeeled tomatoes. If you prefer to peel the tomatoes, place them in a bowl and cover them with boiling hot water for couple of minutes, then easily peel away the skin.
This Tomato Basil Soup makes a great lunch. It is also a quick weeknight meal when paired with a grilled cheese sandwich. I also really like it with a green salad and maybe a slice of garlic bread. I use dried basil leaves instead of fresh basil in this soup because it has a more intense flavor. To make this soup even more special I serve it with a spoonful of pesto sauce! Yes, it is awesome and it adds a terrific basil flavor to this soup. I usually have some homemade pesto sauce in my freezer, but a really good quality store bought pesto works fine too.
I let the soup simmer for half an hour then using a hand held immersion blender I blend some of the soup and leave some of it chunky for a thicker texture. If you don’t own an immersion blender just cool the soup for 10 minutes or so and then use a few on/off pulse action in a food processor or your blender to blend the soup, but leave some of it chunky. Orzo pasta and butter are stirred into the soup and cooked uncovered until the pasta is tender.
Serve this scrumptious Tomato Basil Soup with a spoonful of Pesto Sauce and a slice of toasted crusty bread. Some of the best sides for this soup are grilled cheese sandwiches, garlic bread, and salad. Enjoy!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 TBSP crushed dried basil leaves
- 1 large apple with skin, cored and pureed (or 1 cup apple sauce)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced small
- 4 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped small (or four 14-ounce cans of whole tomatoes with juice)
- 4 cups chicken stock (may substitute with vegetable stock)
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 TBSP butter
- ¼ cup uncooked Orzo pasta (it looks like rice grains and is sold next to regular pasta)
- Some pesto sauce on the side
- Roughly chop the tomatoes in a food processor and set it aside (If using canned whole tomatoes instead, process them with on/off pulse with their juice).
- Remove the core and seeds of a red pepper, small dice it and set aside.
- Core the unpeeled apple and use a food processor or blender to puree it. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium low heat and sauté diced onions until translucent.
- Add the minced garlic, black pepper and crushed basil leaves, sauté for another 2-3 minutes over low heat until aromatic.
- Add the pureed apple and diced red peppers. Stir and cook over medium low heat until thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, sugar and chicken stock and stir. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir a few times during this time.
- Turn off the heat and use a hand-held immersion blender to puree some of the soup, leave some chunky pieces for texture. (This step may be done in a food processor or a blender instead. Just cool the soup for 10 minutes and then process with pulse action leaving some chunky texture in the soup).
- Add the Orzo pasta and 2 TBSP butter, stir to melt the butter and bring the soup to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer without covering for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender and the soup has thickened. Stir a few times during this time. For a thicker consistency simply let the soup cook uncovered for a few more minutes.
- Serve this delicious Tomato Basil Soup with a spoonful of pesto sauce and slices of toasted crusty bread. Some other delicious sides are grilled cheese sandwiches orgarlic bread.