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Basil and Tomato Soup

Tomato soup with basil1

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Tomato soup with basil

What could be more satisfying than a late summer soup made from the vegetables out of your own garden or the one’s you hand selected at the farm market.

Basil and Tomato Soup

Yield 6-8 servings

Here’s a basil and tomato soup which you can serve hot or cold. I like to serve it cold for lunch on warm late summer days. I add a few slices of warm, buttered French bread and finish the meal with some early apple slices.

For this soup I like ‘Genovese Basil’ which is extremely tender, very fragrant, and has extra-large leaves and the ‘Celebrity’ tomato which is exceptionally flavorful. The ‘Celebrity’ is supposed to be a mid-season tomato, but I can tell you I am still picking a half dozen at a time in September.

Ask your tomato grower at the farm market which tomato she recommends. There are dozens to choose from right now.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bunches fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups vegetable broth or water
  • ½ cup cream or milk


  1. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add oil. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, honey, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth. Bring ingredients to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and purée in a blender. Return to saucepan and add cream. Heat but do not boil. Serve hot or cold.
  3. You can one-fourth cup diced sun-dried tomatoes to enhance the flavor of blander tomato varieties.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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