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Before you say it: we know it’s not exactly soup season in the northern hemisphere, in fact it’s the farthest thing from it in many regions. But it is tomato season, whether you’re growing them in your backyard or picking them up at the local farmers market. When they’re in season, tomatoes of all varieties are more flavorful and just so much better. So while you can make countless salads and sammies using their slices, if you’re the type to hanker for a good soup come late summer or early fall, this recipe is for you.
From Modern Freezer Meals by James Beard nominee Ali Rosen, this “fired-up” tomato soup is designed to enjoy immediately, or freeze for a later date. That means it’s perfect to make now, when tomatoes are at their flavor peak, and enjoy later when they’re out of season.
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“This twist on the classic adds a depth that also lends well to freezing,” she writes, “I find that if typical tomato soups rely too heavily on the freshness of the main ingredient and the herbs that go along with it, freezing can detract from that freshness. But a soup where the tomatoes are heavily cooked and have another layer of flavor can easily be frozen.”
Because you’re working from fresh ingredients on a tray, Rosen also notes that you won’t get as much soup from this recipe as you might be used to. “If you’d like to double (or triple) this recipe, follow the same instructions but make sure to give each sheet pan separate time under the broiler,” she offers as a suggestions, pointing out that “The charring time is key.” Beyond those yummy charred tomatoes, this soup’s ingredient list is like a study in Mediterranean diet essentials: olive oil, onions, garlic, basil, and stock are all the other ingredients you need.
While popping this in the freezer (after it’s cool, that’s key!) can extend how long you can wait before enjoying the soup, you’ll probably still want to it within three months (that said, it may still be good six months out. In any event, making this soup in July or August with peak tomatoes means amazing tomato soup in October or November—which definitely sounds like a win.
- 10 (3–4 pounds) medium tomatoes
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves
- Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped basil
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or water in a pinch)
- Dash salt
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic cloves on it. Drizzle with olive oil to coat and place the pan in the oven.
- Cook for 30 to 40 minutes (the timing will depend on the size of your tomatoes). When the tomatoes are very soft and have started to brown, turn the broiler on and let the vegetables cook until they have blackened a bit, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a large pot or blender with the basil and stock or water. Then, use an immersion blender (or just turn on your blender) until the mixture is smooth. Taste and add a heavy dash of salt (at minimum 1 teaspoon, but then add more salt to your preference).
- If You Are Eating Now: Place or keep the soup in a pot on medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup has reached the desired temperature. Serve hot.
- If You Are Freezing for Later: Place the soup into freezer-safe containers or resealable freezer bags. The best containers are those that can go straight from the fridge to the microwave, since bags can get messy. Make sure to divide the soup enough so that it is in individual servings—the last thing you want is a giant block of 8 servings of soup when you only need a single bowl. Put the soup in the freezer. When you are ready to eat, remove the soup from its packaging. You can microwave it in a bowl for 1 minute at a time, stirring until it reaches the desired heat and consistency. Or you can place it in a pot and heat on medium-high heat, stirring consistently.
Excerpted with permission from Modern Freezer Meals: Healthy Recipes to Cook Now and Freeze for Later by Ali Rosen (Skyhorse Publishing, 2021)