Summer is for gazpacho — that zippy, no-cook soup made with peak-season tomatoes — but when I want tomato soup at any other time of year, I’m going to turn to this fast, pantry-friendly option.
And, yeah, it is almost as easy as cracking open a can of Campbell’s.
Food writer and recipe wiz Kristen Hartke originally tweaked the source recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats, which called for a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix) that could heat as well as puree the soup. Using a regular blender and then heating the soup on the stove top works just as well, and only takes a little more time.
The soup boasts a creamy texture, without any dairy at all. That smoothness is created when the bread and olive oil emulsify in the blender with the other ingredients.
Of course, tomato soup almost demands cheese to go along with it, which is why I wanted to gussy up the soup recipe just a little bit. You could certainly use the bread called for in the soup to make a grilled cheese for dipping. That would be awesome. (If the soup recipe appeals to you as a vegan, and cheese is a no-go, some crusty bread brushed with olive oil and briefly broiled, followed by a quick swipe with a raw garlic clove would be outstanding here.)
Or, you could take a hands-off, carb-light approach and make melted-cheese thins that bake while the soup warms in the pan. Post Food editor Joe Yonan picked up the idea for these “grilled cheese” frichi from Bobby Flay. The cheese piles flatten out and cook into crispy, lacy disks that taste great and look really fancy — fancy enough to make this soup a nice appetizer the next time you have friends over for dinner, but still down-to-earth enough to eat on your couch while tucked under a blanket.
This soup is reason enough to keep a can of tomatoes around, so you’ll always be just one blender button away from a bowl of bliss.
MAKE AHEAD It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
1⁄3cupolive oil (can be extra-virgin)
1⁄2cupchopped onion (from 1/2 medium yellow or white onion)
1slicewhite or whole-wheat bread (crusts removed), torn into 1-inch pieces
28ouncescanned, no-salt-added whole peeled tomatoes, plus their juices
1cupno-salt-added vegetable broth
1teaspoondried herbs, such as a mix of basil and oregano
4ouncesGruyere cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Combine the oil, garlic, onion, bread pieces, the tomatoes and their juices, the broth and dried herbs in a blender; begin to blend on low, then gradually increase to high until pureed and smooth.
Pour into a medium saucepan; cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring a few times.
While the soup is heating, make the “grilled cheese” frichi: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Divide the grated cheese into four equal portions, and pile each on the sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Bake (middle rack) until flat, lightly golden brown all over and crisp at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a metal spatula to carefully transfer them to a plate to cool completely.
Once the soup is heated through, taste, and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Serve warm, and top each portion with a frico.
Soup adapted from a recipe by J. Kenji López-Alt, managing culinary director at SeriousEats.com; cheese frichi adapted from “Bobby Flay Fit: 200 Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle,” by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter, 2017).
Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you make this recipe? Take a photo of your soup and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.
Calories: 390; Total Fat: 28 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 30 mg; Sodium: 380 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 22 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugars: 12 g; Protein: 11 g.