This subtly spiced Oven-Roasted Tomato Soup recipe is at its most delicious made in summertime when tomatoes are at their best. To further intensify the flavor of the soup, it is a good idea to take the time to roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet together with red onions, garlic and thyme before cooking the tomatoes further with some stock. That way, you get all the ingredients cooked down and caramelized before you simmer them with your stock and then purée them.
As far as the stock is concerned, either go vegetarian and use a vegetable stock or use chicken stock here. If you can, use a homemade one or chose a good quality storebought stock. If you use homemade, you might have to add a bit more salt in the end as homemade stocks tend to be less salty than the ones you buy ready made.
It is also worth noting that adding roasted red onions will add a very nice touch of sweetness here while the chili flakes add a bit of brightness and punch. If you do not want to add garlic to your soup and/or out of red onions, you can go with a bunch of shallots instead.
Personally, I think the soup tastes just like summer in a bowl. Although at this time of year some of use would rather not consider soup to be a summer food but rather eye salads and foods that are generally consumed cold, I believe that no matter the season, soups always makes us feel good - and this soup in particular celebrates the glorious tastes of summer - fresh sweet tomatoes and red onions, glorious fresh herbs from the garden to add color and even more flavor and oven-roasted, slightly spicy chickpeas to add a crunchy texture. Bliss.
Oven-Roasted Tomato Soup
Ingredients for the Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
- 10 to 12 ripe plum (or use regular) tomatoes, washed, cored and halved widthways – if you use regular tomatoes, they will excude more liquid while roasting, making the soup a bit less concentrated
- 2 red onions, peeled, sliced NOTE: keep the red onion skins*
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed NOTE: if you chose to skip the garlic, substitute a few shallots for the garlic and red onions OR just omit the garlic altogether
- salt, freshly ground black pepper and some chili flakes (optional)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 tbsp olive oil (suitable for cooking)
For the Soup
- 1 liter (or less) chicken or vegetable stock (depending on the tomatoes and how thin or thick you like your soup), preferably homemade - as a general rule, the roasted veg should be covered with stock before you continue with the recipe and boil the soup
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh basil leaves
- warm oven-roasted chickpeas
- For the oven-roasted tomatoes, preheat your oven to 220°C (450°F) degrees.
- In a large bowl toss together the prepared tomatoes, red onions, garlic, chili flakes (if using) and olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Then arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (roasting tray), arrange the thyme sprigs amongst the veggies and bake until most tomatoes and onions are wrinkled and brown in spots, about 35 to 40 minutes. NOTE: it does not matter if the baking sheet is crowded.
- Lift the baking sheet from your oven, rest on a cooling rack and remove the thyme sprigs.
- Carefully transfer the cooked vegetables including all the pan juices to a large dutch oven or heavy pot.
- Add stock (homemade if you have some) and bring to a rapid boil. Then turn down the heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until slightly reduced and the tomatoes are really soft, about 25 minutes.
- Purée until smooth – I like to use an immersion blender here - (use caution when blending hot liquids).
- Season with salt and pepper and if necessary thin with additional stock.
- To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls.
- Top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves (different colored ones are nice) and some warm oven-roasted chickpeas (recipe follows).
- 1 or 2 cans of chickpeas
- olive oil (suitable for cooking)
- fine sea salt
- after 30 minutes of roasting, add some sweet or hot smoked Spanish paprika to taste, mix well and roast for a further 5 to 10 minutes (optional)
- Pre-heat your oven to 225°C (400° F) with the rack positioned in the middle.
- Drain the chickpeas from the can, rinse in a colander and pat the chickpeas dry or place the chickpeas in your salad spinner, lined with a kitchen towel, then spin and remove any white outer layers as chickpeas will take on more color in the oven without them. OR leave the chickpeas to air-dry on the towel for a few minutes, just to make sure they are totally dry.
- Transfer the chickpeas to a baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and toss well to combine.
- Bake the chickpeas, shaking the pan once or twice, for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are dry to the touch
- If you would like to dress the chickpeas, you want to be careful with delicate spices. If it is a spice that needs toasting like Spanish smoked paprika, chili or curry powder, cumin, coriander or turmeric, make sure to add it towards the end (for the last 5 to 10 minutes). If it is something that you would sprinkle on your food straight from a jar like za‘atar or dukkah or fresh herbs from the garden (like rosmary or thyme) or freshly grated zest from an orange or lemon, mix that with the chickpeas once they have emerged from the oven but are still warm. That will help it stick.
- Let the chickpeas cool on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a container with the top ajar and keep them at room temperature, that way, they will retain their cripsyness throughout the day. NOTE: if you have leftover chickpeas, you can snack on them by the handful, or scatter them on salads or roasted vegetables or creamy dips, or mix them into pasta at the last minute.
This velvety soup makes for a simple and elegant meal. Enjoy as is, make ahead, freeze some or chill it and serve it cold – and if you feel up to it, make some Oven-Roasted Chickpeas to serve and top and alongside.