Is There Really A Tomato-Basil Soup Recipe That's Better Than The Others? - Ellen's Tastes Blog at - 320169

Ellen's Tastes

Is there really a Tomato-Basil Soup recipe that's better than the others? 
Jan. 20, 2014 5:38 am 
Updated: Jan. 22, 2014 3:45 am
My inbox and homepage are set-up to deliver new recipes to me each day and (God help me) I read them all. Thus, I was inspired to make a Tomato-Basil soup which called for roasting carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and chickpeas for 30 minutes before adding to the tomato/broth mixture. Well! roasted veggies are always promising, and how could the addition of the chickpeas go wrong?

Well ... nothing went wrong, but nothing went unusually right either. In fact, it turned out to be the most boring soup I've made this season. The only way to perk it up is to top it with cheese and croutons, which makes it seem better than it really is when left to its own devices.

I'm trying to understand why roasting the veggies (and chickpeas) didn't make a bigger difference. There should be a smoky-like flavor to it, and there isn't. Maybe I needed to roast the veggies until they turned brown (contrary to the directions, but I'm thinking I'd have been wiser to let them get almost crispy). 

The chickpeas give the soup a creamy flavor (sort of), but not enough to fully offset the acidic undertone of the tomatoes. In the end, I got a Tomato-Basil soup which tastes pretty much like every other Tomato-Basil soup I've eaten, which prompts the obvious: can one Tomato-Basil soup recipe really be all that much better than another?

The recipe itself was pretty easy:

2-3 tbsp. olive oil
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2" bits
2 celery stalks, cut into 2" bits
2 medium onions, quartered
8 cloves garlic, skin removed
2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8 c. chicken broth (I use Swanson's Organic)
2 large cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes (I used the boxed Pomi diced)
4 stalks fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400°

Toss the first 5 ingredients together to coat the veggies/chickpeas, then place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with ground pepper. Let cook for 30 minutes, stirring now and then.

Meanwhile, combine the chicken broth, tomatoes, and bay leaves and let simmer.

When veggies are done roasting, add to the tomato/broth mix and simmer (with lid on) for 45 minutes. 

Remove bay leaves and rosemary stalks. Add fresh basil.

With an immersion blender, blend until smooth.

Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Isn't the above more or less the same recipe as every other Tomato-Basil soup recipe, except for the addition of chickpeas instead of cream?

Hubby's not enthused about the results and I can't say I am either. On the other hand, it's possible I'm not all that fond of Tomato-Basil soup in the first place. The results are edible, so — in all good faith — I can't toss it out. But I'm tempted to add balsamic vinegar, or white wine, or half a cup of Feta to make it more palatable. In any case, I won't be trying this again unless one of you has a recipe that's really and truly head and shoulders above the rest.
Jan. 20, 2014 5:57 am
I love tomatoes, tomato sauces, and I can even stand ketchup. I can't drink tomato juice or eat tomato soup of any kind. I just can't do it. I've tried; so I guess my answer is there is no tomato-basil soup recipe better than any others. Sorry this one didn't come out as anything special.
Jan. 20, 2014 3:22 pm
This isn't tomato basil soup, but it is one of the best tomato soups I have ever made.
Jan. 22, 2014 3:45 am
Hi, try this --adding torn fresh basil to taste at end. Cheers
Jan. 22, 2014 3:45 am
Mediterranean Tomato Soup 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 cloves Garlic - chopped 1 Large Red Onion - chopped 1 Carrot - sliced 1 stick Celery - chopped 675g/1½lb ripe Tomatoes - peeled and chopped 24fl oz/1½ pints Chicken Stock 1tsp Sugar Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper TO SERVE Fresh Basil - shredded Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for some 5 minutes or so until soft; Add sugar and tomatoes, season to taste, stir well to mix and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes begin to soften and break up a bit; Add the stock, bring to the boil and, reducing heat, simmer gently, uncovered, for some 15 to 18 minutes or so until reduced and thickened a bit; Remove from heat and “Blitz” with a blender until smooth; Ladle into bowls and serve with the option of basil on the side.
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About Me
I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and still have my first (very battered) cookbook. Other than cooking, I adore interior design, writing, and playing bridge. Oh... and tasting new wines (or old favorites).
My favorite things to cook
As I've grown older, my tastes and philosophy have changed. I now use organic ingredients whenever I can, and I prefer using unprocessed ingredients.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Well, my mother (bless her) had 8 people to feed, so she made foods that were easy to prepare. My favorites were her baked ribs with barbecue sauce; english muffins topped with cheese, tomato, and bacon, and then broiled; and spaghetti noodles with tomato soup and cheddar cheese stirred in. I wouldn't make these dishes today, but they're full of fond memories.
My cooking triumphs
Adding orange juice to diced tomato sauce • Adding Cointreau to fresh fruit salads or a chocolate sauce • Adding tequila and bittersweet chocolate to chili • "poaching" salmon in orange juice, sprinkled with Old Bay and tarragon • adding cidar vinegar and soy sauce to vegetable soups • adding fresh mint to steamed red potatoes • knowing how to bail out a botched dish (example: over-steamed broccoli mashed with bleu or swiss cheese isn't nearly as bad as over-steamed broccoli on it's own).
My cooking tragedies
Over-steaming broccoli and most any other veggie... and a lasagna that was so loaded with oregano, no one could eat it.
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