Cate's Heart-Healthy Summer Tomato Soup 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Top Tomato 2014 Aug 20, 2014

The clean-eating simplicity of this recipe caught my eye during Top Tomato 2014 testing. Once the sample came in and the soup was measured against a strong field of finalists this year, it just missed the cut. Good news for this column, as it turns out, because with the substitution of brown rice that's already cooked, this dish can be done in about half the time.

Its creator, Catherine Sutter of Spotsylvania, Va., appreciates its mild flavor but allowed for an optional dash of ground cayenne pepper in her original recipe. I found that sprinkling the sauteing onions and garlic with piment d'espelette, a fruity ground pepper from France's Basque region, and finishing the soup with a bit more provided a welcome yet low-key spark.

The vegetables and rice give the soup a satisfying texture, but the soup is also great when pureed. Using a mixture of red and yellow tomatoes yields a sunny color.

When local tomatoes are not in season, a 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes, with their juices, can be used instead.

Make Ahead: If pureed, the soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Where to Buy: Piment d'espelette is available at Penzeys, La Cuisine in Alexandria and via and other gourmet spice purveyors.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings; makes 7 to 8 cups

  • 2 medium-to-large white onions
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3 jumbo tomatoes (a generous 2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (may substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed oil or canola oil or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons piment d'Espelette (see headnote)
  • 4 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth (may substitute chicken broth)
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen, cooked brown rice
  • 6 to 8 small sprigs flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Flaked sea salt, for serving (optional)


Coarsely chop the onions if you plan to puree the soup; otherwise, finely chop them. Mince the garlic. Cut the tomatoes into large dice (leaving skin and seeds is okay). Finely chop the basil and thyme leaves.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onions and garlic, stirring to coat. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the piment d'espelette. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and evenly spiced, then add the tomatoes and their juices, the broth, the brown rice (no need to defrost), chopped basil and thyme. Increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture comes to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Taste and stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of piment d'espelette. Finely chop the parsley, if using.

At this point, the soup can be served, or use an immersion (stick) blender to puree.

Divide the soup among individual bowls; garnish each with a sprinkling of parsley and a few flakes of salt, if desired. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

From Catherine Sutter of Spotsylvania, Va.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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