Nothing warms the heart and soothes the soul like a steaming bowl of Winter Tomato Soup Recipe on a frosty winter’s day. The sweetness of ripe tomatoes Bursting with the rich, tangy flavor, this hearty soup combines traditional rustic flavors with a modern twist.
Fresh herbs lend an aromatic note, while a hint of roasted garlic adds depth and complexity. Each spoonful of this winter delicacy blends nourishing, simple ingredients that create a symphony of taste and texture. Savor the robustness of this winter favorite, crafted lovingly in your kitchen.
Our Winter Tomato Soup recipe is a testament to the power of simple, honest cooking and is sure to become a staple in your seasonal culinary repertoire. This recipe is more than just a meal—a warm hug in a bowl. Savor the delight of home cooking with us as we dive into the tantalizing world of winter comfort food.
What Is Winter Tomato Soup?
Winter Tomato Soup is a hearty, warming dish typically enjoyed during the year’s colder months. Despite tomatoes being a summer fruit, this soup often relies on canned tomatoes, which provide a rich and concentrated flavor perfect for a comforting winter soup.
The soup starts with a base of sautéed onions and garlic, to which canned tomatoes are added. Some recipes might also include other vegetables, such as carrots or bell peppers, for added depth of flavor. Fresh or dried herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme are often used to infuse the soup with warmth and aroma.
What sets winter tomato soup apart is its comforting, rich texture, often achieved by blending the cooked ingredients until smooth and then stirring in cream or a dairy-free alternative. The soup is served hot, often with crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich, making it a perfect meal for cold winter nights.
History Of Winter Tomato Soup
The exact origin of tomato soup, including its winter variant, is nebulous, as it’s rooted in the broader history of soup making, which dates back thousands of years. Here’s a brief overview:
Tomatoes are native to Central and South America and were not introduced to Europe until the 16th century during the Columbian Exchange. For a long time, tomatoes were feared in Europe due to their relation to the deadly nightshade plant. However, by the 18th century, tomatoes began widely used in cooking in countries like Spain and Italy.
Using tomatoes in a soup likely arose soon after their culinary acceptance. Tomato soup gained popularity in the United States in the late 19th century thanks to the invention of condensed soups by the company now known as Campbell’s. Campbell’s introduced its condensed tomato soup in 1897, and it quickly became a staple in American households due to its affordability, convenience, and long shelf life.
Interesting Facts About Winter Tomato Soup
- Preserving Summer’s Bounty: While we often think of tomato soup as a winter dish, its main ingredient, the tomato, is a summer fruit. Canned tomatoes, often used in winter tomato soup, are a way to preserve the bounty of summer and enjoy it during the colder months.
- Canned vs. Fresh: Many chefs argue that canned tomatoes can provide a deeper, richer flavor in tomato soup than fresh tomatoes, particularly when tomatoes are out of season. This is because canned tomatoes are usually picked and preserved at their ripest.
- Versatility: Winter tomato soup is incredibly versatile. Add various vegetables, proteins, and herbs to adjust the flavor. Some popular additions include carrots, celery, roasted garlic, red pepper flakes, or even a splash of cream for extra richness.
- Pairing Perfection: Tomato soup is commonly paired with a grilled cheese sandwich, especially in the United States. The gooey melted cheese and crispy, buttery bread perfectly complements the tangy, rich soup. This classic combo is a childhood favorite for many and offers comforting nostalgia.
- Nutrition Powerhouse: Despite its simplicity, tomato soup is packed with nutrition. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium, and a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits.
What Makes Winter Tomato Soup Special?
- Comforting and Nourishing: Tomato soup is a quintessential comfort food, especially during the chilly winter. The warm, velvety texture and the rich, tangy flavor make it the perfect remedy for a cold day. Plus, tomatoes are full of vitamins and antioxidants, offering a nourishing meal that makes you feel good inside and out.
- Versatility: Winter tomato soup is incredibly versatile. It can be enjoyed or embellished with various ingredients like cream, garlic, spices, and other vegetables. You can also play with the texture by leaving it chunky or blending until smooth.
- Pairs Well with Others: Tomato soup is known for pairing well with various dishes, but most famously with grilled cheese sandwiches. Combining the tangy, and the crispy, the melty sandwich is a classic comfort food duo that adds to the soup’s specialness.
- A Bridge Between Seasons: Winter tomato soup is a delicious bridge between seasons. It utilizes the preserved bounty of summer’s tomato harvest, delivering it in a form that’s comforting and suitable for the winter’s cold.
|Olive oil||2 Tbsp|
|Large onion, peeled and diced||1|
|Large clove garlic, peeled and smashed||1|
|Unbleached all-purpose flour||2 Tbsp|
|Homemade or low-sodium chicken stock||2-1/2 cups|
|Chopped tomatoes with their juice||26-oz box|
|Sugar or sugar substitute||1 tsp or 1 packet|
|Dry thyme leaf or fresh thyme||1-1/2 tsp or 1 sprig|
|Tomato paste||2 Tbsp|
|Mild red pepper flakes||A pinch|
|Kosher salt||To taste|
|Fresh black pepper||To taste|
- Tomatoes: Whether using fresh or canned, look for high-quality tomatoes. If using canned, opt for whole peeled tomatoes; they usually have better flavor and less processing than the diced or crushed variety. San Marzano tomatoes are a great choice for their sweet, robust flavor.
- Stock: Quality stock can make a huge difference. If possible, use homemade chicken or vegetable stock. If using store-bought, look for low-sodium options, as this allows you to control the salt content of your soup better.
- Cream: If you’re adding cream for richness, add it at the end of the cooking process and heat it gently to prevent it from curdling. You can also use alternatives like coconut milk for a dairy-free version.
- Onions and Garlic: Both of these add depth to your soup. Sauté them until they’re translucent and starting to caramelize for maximum flavor.
- Sugar: A small amount of sugar can help balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Start with a teaspoon and adjust according to taste.
- Seasoning: Remember to season your soup well. Freshly ground black pepper can add a nice warmth, and salt will help to bring out the flavors. Start with a small amount and adjust to your taste.
- Oil: Use good quality olive oil for sautéing your vegetables. It adds a nice flavor base to your soup.
- Veggies: Feel free to add other veggies like carrots or bell peppers. They can add a different layer of flavor and more body to the soup.
- Acidity: A dash of vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end of cooking can brighten the flavors of the soup and balance the richness.
Can You Vary Winter Tomato Soup With Other Ingredients?
- Proteins: Add some cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp for an extra protein boost. Beans like cannellini or chickpeas can add heartiness and protein for a vegetarian or vegan option.
- Vegetables: Add in some extra veggies for additional flavor and nutrients. Carrots, celery, bell peppers, or zucchini can be sautéed with onions and garlic. You could also add leafy greens, like spinach or kale, towards the end of the cooking process.
- Grains: Add in cooked grains like rice, barley, or quinoa to make your soup more filling.
- Creaminess: If you’re looking for a vegan option, use coconut milk or cashew cream instead of dairy cream for richness.
- Heat: Add a bit of spice with red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or even some fresh chilies.
- Roasted Garlic: Roast a whole head of garlic in the oven, then squeeze the sweet, mellowed cloves into your soup for an extra layer of flavor.
- Sauté chopped onions and minced garlic in olive oil until translucent.
- Add canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, and seasonings (salt, pepper, herbs). Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Blend until smooth using a blender or an immersion blender.
- Return to heat, add cream (if using), and adjust seasonings to taste.
- If desired, garnish with fresh herbs or a swirl of cream. Serve hot with crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy this warm, comforting winter tomato soup on a cold day!
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
Variations And Add-Ons
- Proteins: Add chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu to your soup to make it more substantial. Beans, like cannellini or chickpeas, can add heartiness and protein, especially for vegetarian or vegan versions.
- Vegetables: Extra veggies like roasted bell peppers, carrots, celery, zucchini, or leafy greens like spinach or kale can provide additional flavor and nutrients.
- Grains: Add cooked grains like rice, barley, or quinoa for extra texture and to make the soup more filling.
- Heat: If you like a spicy kick, add red pepper flakes, diced chilies, or hot sauce.
- Fresh Herbs: Freshly chopped herbs like parsley, basil, or dill look beautiful and add a burst of new flavor.
- Nuts and Seeds: For a unique touch, try a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, or slivered almonds.
- Drizzle: A drizzle of high-quality olive oil, cream, or flavored oil, like truffle oil, can elevate your soup to the next level.
- Bacon Bits: Crumbled, cooked bacon adds a smoky, salty touch that pairs wonderfully with tomato soup.
Scaling The Recipe
This recipe calls for a flavorful combination of ingredients to create a delicious tomato-based sauce.
- Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot.
- Add 1 large diced onion and 1 smashed clove of garlic, cooking until they become tender and fragrant. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of unbleached all-purpose flour and stir well. Next, pour 2 and a half cups of homemade or low-sodium chicken stock and a 26-ounce box of chopped tomatoes with their juice.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Cheese: A sprinkle of grated Parmesan, a dollop of ricotta, or a few crumbles of feta or goat cheese can add a creamy, tangy element.
- Cream or Yogurt: A swirl of cream, sour cream, or Greek yogurt on top can add a lovely visual effect and a tangy creaminess. For a vegan option, coconut milk or cashew cream can be used.
- Olive Oil: A drizzle of good-quality olive oil can give your soup a glossy finish and add a touch of richness.
- Croutons: Homemade croutons or toasted, crusty bread can add a satisfying crunch.
- Seeds or Nuts: A sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or crushed toasted almonds can add an unexpected, delightful texture.
- Citrus Zest: A sprinkle of lemon or orange zest can add a bright, fresh note.
- Bacon Bits: If you eat meat, a sprinkle of crispy bacon bits adds a salty, smoky flavor that complements the tomato soup nicely.
Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
Slow Cooker Method
This method is excellent for developing deep flavors over a longer period. Add all your ingredients to the slow cooker, then let it cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
After that, you can use an immersion or a regular blender to puree the soup until it’s as smooth as you’d like. If your recipe calls for cream or dairy, add it towards the end of the cooking process.
Instant Pot Method
This method is perfect when you want a delicious soup in a shorter time. Use the sauté function to cook your onions, garlic, and other ingredients that need sautéing.
Then add the rest of your ingredients, seal the Instant Pot, and set it to pressure cook on high for about 15-20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally, then use a blender to puree the soup. If your recipe calls for cream or dairy, stir it in after you’ve pureed the soup.
Can I Use Store-Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
The store-bought broth is a convenient and time-saving option. It’s always ready to use and easy to keep on hand in your pantry. It’s perfect for when you want to put together a meal quickly.
When shopping for store-bought broth, look for low-sodium versions to control the amount of salt in your soup. Additionally, try to find brands with fewer additives or preservatives to keep your soup as wholesome as possible.
Making your broth allows you to control the ingredients and the flavor. You can tailor it to your taste preferences, and it’s a great way to utilize vegetable scraps or leftover chicken bones.
Homemade broth often has a fresher and more robust flavor than store-bought varieties. However, it does require more time and planning to prepare.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables?
- Meat: Cooked and shredded chicken, beef, or turkey can be added to the soup to increase its protein content and fill it more. Ground meat or sausage can also be browned and added to the soup for a heartier flavor.
- Fish: Certain types of fish or seafood can also work well. Consider adding cooked shrimp, scallops, or flakes of mild white fish. Remember, these should be counted towards the end of the cooking process as they cook quickly.
- Pasta: Small types of pasta like ditalini, macaroni, or orzo can be cooked directly in the soup or cooked separately and added before serving. Pasta will absorb the soup’s liquid and flavor, adding a pleasant textural element.
- Vegetables: A wide range of vegetables can be added to tomato soup. Consider vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, kale, carrots, celery, or sweet potatoes. Roasted vegetables would also add a delicious flavor dimension. If adding leafy greens, do so towards the end of cooking to keep them from becoming too wilted.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making Soup
- Prepare your ingredients ahead of time: Dice the onion, smash the garlic, and have all the other ingredients measured and ready to go. This will help streamline the cooking process.
- Choose quality ingredients: Opt for extra virgin olive oil, good quality butter, fresh onions, and garlic for optimal flavor. Use homemade or low-sodium chicken stock for a richer taste.
- Ensure your ingredients are prepped and measured before you start cooking. This includes dicing the onion, smashing the garlic, and preparing all the other ingredients.
- Keep your workspace organized and clean to make the cooking process more efficient.
- Use sharp knives for safer and easier chopping and dicing.
- Prepare homemade chicken stock in advance for a more flavorful sauce, or opt for high-quality low-sodium chicken stock as a substitute.
Cooking Time Tips
- While sautéing the onions and garlic, cook them until they are softened and fragrant, but be careful not to burn them.
- When adding the flour, cook it for a minute or two to eliminate any raw taste.
- Allow the sauce to simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken.
- Stir the sauce occasionally during the cooking process to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Taste the sauce before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed.
The nutritional values of the recipe can vary based on portion sizes and specific ingredient brands used. Generally, the dish will provide a good source of healthy fats from olive oil and butter, along with carbohydrates from onions and tomatoes. It may also contain some protein from chicken stock.
What Are The Total Calories In The Recipe?
The total calorie count of a winter tomato soup recipe can vary greatly based on the ingredients used, their quantities, and the serving size. On average, a basic tomato soup recipe might contain about 100-150 calories per serving (around 1 cup).
However, factors such as adding cream, meat, or cheese, using oil or butter for sautéing, and the type of stock used can increase this number. For example, a creamier tomato soup might contain around 200-300 calories per serving.
Dietary Restrictions For The Recipe
- Vegetarian/Vegan: A basic tomato soup recipe is usually vegetarian, but you’ll want to ensure you use a vegetable broth rather than a chicken or beef broth. For a vegan version, avoid adding cream or any dairy-based garnishes. You could use coconut milk or cashew cream as a dairy-free alternative.
- Gluten-Free: Tomato soup is often gluten-free, as it doesn’t typically include wheat-based ingredients. However, if you’re adding any thickeners, croutons, or serving with bread, ensure they are gluten-free. Also, check your broth to ensure it contains no hidden gluten.
- Dairy-Free: As with vegan modifications, you can substitute the dairy cream with a plant-based alternative or omit it.
Health Benefits Of The Recipe
- Rich in Vitamins: Tomatoes contain vitamins C and K, folate, and potassium. These nutrients support immune function, bone health, and heart health.
- High in Antioxidants: Tomatoes are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, which is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
- Hydration: The high water content of tomatoes and broth can help keep you hydrated.
- Low in Calories and Fat: Tomato soup can be low in calories and fat, making it a good choice for those looking to manage their weight.
- Fiber: If you include additional vegetables or legumes in your tomato soup, it can also be a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and keeps you feeling full longer.
- Eye Health: Tomatoes contain beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for eye health.
- Bone Health: The Vitamin K and calcium present in tomatoes can contribute to maintaining good bone health.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Use Low-Sodium or No-Sodium Broth: Many store-bought broths and stocks can be high in sodium. Look for low-sodium or no-sodium versions to control the amount of salt in your soup.
- Limit Added Salt: Be mindful of the amount of salt you add during cooking. You can always add more at the end if needed, but it’s difficult to remove excess salt once it’s in the dish.
- Choose No-Salt-Added Canned Tomatoes: Opt for a no-salt-added version if your recipe calls for canned tomatoes. Canned goods can often contain a lot of sodium.
- Boost Flavor with Herbs and Spices: To compensate for less salt, use fresh herbs, spices, garlic, onions, and other flavor-rich ingredients. Acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice can also help bring out flavors without adding sodium.
- Avoid Processed Foods: Many processed foods, like certain types of sausage or cheese, can be high in sodium. Stick with fresh, whole foods as much as possible.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sugar?
- Use Fresh or No-Sugar-Added Canned Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes naturally have less sugar than some canned versions. Look for a variety without added sugar if you’re using canned tomatoes.
- Check Your Broth: Some store-bought broths might have added sugars. Check the label to ensure you’re choosing a sugar-free option.
- Limit Sweet Vegetables: Certain vegetables, like carrots and onions, have a higher sugar content. While they can add a lovely depth of flavor, you should limit them if you’re concerned about sugar content.
- Add More Spices: To enhance flavor without sugar, add more herbs and spices to your soup. Basil, oregano, garlic, and black pepper all add flavor without contributing sugar.
How To Serve Soup At Its Best?
- Temperature: Serve the soup hot, as the temperature is a key factor in releasing the soup’s aromas, an essential part of our taste perception. If you’ve prepared the soup beforehand, reheat it before serving.
- Accompaniments: Pair your tomato soup with a side that complements its flavor. A piece of crusty bread, a grilled cheese sandwich, or a fresh salad can all be great choices.
- Serving Utensils: Use a spoon for serving soup. It’s also nice to provide a soup spoon that is wide and somewhat shallow for your guests.
- Portion Size: Don’t overfill the bowls. It’s better to offer a refill than to serve too much at once. A good rule of thumb is to fill the bowl about two-thirds of the way.
- Timing: If you’re serving multiple courses, remember that a hearty soup like tomato soup can be quite filling, so adjust the rest of your meal portions accordingly
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A classic companion to tomato soup. The crunchy, buttery bread and melted cheese pair perfectly with the tangy, velvety soup. For a gourmet twist, try using different types of cheese or adding slices of avocado or tomato.
- Crusty Bread: A simple piece of fresh, crusty bread like baguette or sourdough is perfect for dipping in tomato soup. It’s a delightful and satisfying combination.
- Green Salad: A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette can contrast the warm, rich soup. Consider a simple mix of greens, or add elements like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and olives for extra flavor.
- Roasted Vegetables: Seasonal roasted vegetables make a delicious and healthy side dish. Try combinations of root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, or beets in winter.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
- Refrigeration: After allowing the soup to cool, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Eating for about 4-5 days should remain fresh and safe.
- Freezing: Tomato soup also freezes well for longer storage. Let it cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Try to fill the containers as much as possible to minimize the amount of air, which can lead to freezer burn. Properly stored, it should maintain its best quality for about 2-3 months but will remain safe beyond that time.
- Reheating: When you’re ready to eat the soup, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator if it’s been frozen. Heat the soup over medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally, until it’s hot. If it seems too thick, add some water or broth to thin it out.
Can I Make Soup In Advance?
After cooking, allow the soup to cool a bit before refrigerating. Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it should stay fresh for 4-5 days.
You can freeze the soup if you’re making it significantly in advance. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer to freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. It should maintain its quality in the freezer for about 2-3 months.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Pasta Sauce: Thicken up your soup by simmering it down, and use it as a pasta sauce. Add some cooked meat or vegetables for a complete meal.
- Baked Dishes: Use the soup as a base for other dishes, like a casserole or lasagna. It could work well as the tomato layer in an eggplant parmigiana or a vegetable bake.
- Stew Base: Add some protein like beans, lentils, cooked meat, and additional vegetables to turn it into a hearty stew.
- Shakshuka: Simmer the soup until it thickens slightly, make small wells in the soup, and crack eggs into them. Cover and cook until the eggs are done to your liking.
- Risotto: Use the soup instead of some of the broth when making risotto for a tomato-infused version.
- Bread Dip: If all else fails, warm up the soup and serve it as a dip with a nice, crusty piece of bread.
Special Tools/Equipment Needed
- Cutting Board and Knife: Your recipe includes chopping tomatoes and other vegetables or herbs.
- Large Pot or Dutch Oven: You’ll need a large enough pot to hold all the ingredients and give them room to simmer.
- Immersion Blender or Regular Blender: This is for blending the soup until it’s smooth.
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula: Useful for stirring the soup as it cooks.
- Ladle: For serving the soup.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: If your recipe includes specific amounts of ingredients, you’ll want to count them accurately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Canned Tomatoes For Winter Tomato Soup?
Yes, canned tomatoes can work perfectly fine in tomato soup. They’re a great option when fresh tomatoes aren’t in season or if you’re looking for a shortcut. Choose high-quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor, preferably whole peeled tomatoes.
What Can I Do If My Tomato Soup Is Too Acidic?
If your soup is too acidic, add a pinch of baking soda. Stir it in and taste; the baking soda can help neutralize the acidity. You could also add a small amount of sugar or a splash of dairy (like cream or milk) to balance the acidity.
How Can I Make A Creamier Tomato Soup?
Add a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half at the end of cooking to make a creamier tomato soup. Be sure to add the dairy after the soup has been blended, and don’t let the soup boil after the dairy has been added, as it might cause the soup to curdle.
Is Winter Tomato Soup Healthy?
Winter tomato soup can be a healthy dish, depending on how it’s prepared. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and the soup can be low in fat and calories. However, if you add a lot of creams or serve them with a generous amount of cheese or buttery bread, the calorie count can quickly increase.
Can I Make This Soup If I Don’t Have A Blender?
Yes, while a blender gives the soup a smooth, creamy texture, you can still make it without it. The soup will have a chunkier texture, but some people prefer this. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes and other vegetables to create a more rustic, chunky soup.
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