Good Enough for an Italian Wedding – Tomato Soup & Basil Bread (Vegan)

Posted on March 6, 2012 by


I really can’t tell you how much I love this soup. I took the basic recipe from Delia Smith and modified it until I was happy. I never buy tomato soup anymore, because this recipe is better than anything I could buy in the store, and better than any tomato soups I’ve had in restaurants, and a good deal healthier (Ta, Delia!).

It’s also incredibly cheap. If you make your own bread it costs less than £1.90/$3.00 per serving.

I once lived off this recipe for a week in 2003 because there was a special on tomatoes at the Sainsbury’s down the road…pissed orange. Very odd. Anyway.


Other Uses: The tomato base (steps 1, 2 & 4) can be used to flavour veggie burgers or meatloaf. You can also cook it down and make a fab pasta sauce. The basil puree (step 3) can be used in homemade pesto (just add pine nuts and grated fresh parmesan before pureeing), or as-is to dress a salad of chopped tomatoes and cucumber.


Shopping List (6-8 servings)
— 12 very ripe, sweet tomatoes (ripened on the vine is best)
— 6-7 garlic cloves
— extra virgin olive oil
— large box of basil (about 2 packed cups of plants)
— 1 small tin or tube of tomato paste (the best kind has only one ingredient: tomatoes)
— salt
— 1 medium potato for thin soup, 2 for thicker soup
— olive oil
— balsamic vinegar

(Optional — if you have a bread machine)
— white granulated sugar
— unbleached white bread flour (at least 3 cups)
— dry yeast


1. Wash the tomatoes. Slice in half and arrange in baking trays that have tall sides or casserole dishes, so that the tomatoes’ insides are facing upwards. Set your oven to 325 °F/ 165 °C.

2. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Pick 24 leaves from the basil and set the rest aside. Prepare the tomatoes for baking by topping each half with chopped garlic, then with a drizzle of olive oil, then with a basil leaf. Bake until the tomatoes have shrunk in size and their tops are bubbly and browned, about 1 hour.

3. Whilst the tomatoes are baking, cut off the ends of the basil stems. Pack the basil into a food processor. (Be sure to use all of the basil you have left in the box, except for the very tips of the stems.) Pulse until the basil is pureed, drizzling olive oil into the processor to help. Add salt to taste and a splash of balsamic vinegar and mix well. Store puree in fridge until needed.

4. Let the tomatoes cool to room temperature. Put in a food processor or blender. Add a bit of water to the bottoms of the pans you used to bake the tomatoes, and gently rub with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to remove all the delicious brown bits from the bottom. You might need to soak the pans for a few minutes to make this easier. Add to tomatoes. Blend on low until smooth. Set aside.

5. Peel the potato(es) and cut into thirds. In a small saucepan, combine the tomato paste, the potato(es), and enough water to cover. Simmer until the potato pieces break apart when pierced with a fork. Let everything cool, then pour into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

6. Combine both tomato mixtures in a large pot and simmer gently for about five or ten minutes. Add water if needed to reach desired consistency. Salt to taste.

7. (Optional) To the pan of your bread machine, add (in order): 1 cup water, 1 ½ tsp olive oil, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 ⅛ teaspoons salt, 3 cups bread flour. Make a little trench in the bread flour with your finger, and add to it 1 ⅛ teaspoons dry yeast. Follow the instructions to make your dough and bake the loaf.

8. Brush thick slices of your homemade or store-bought white bread on both sides with the basil puree you made earlier. You may need to thin out the puree with olive oil to cover all the bread. Arrange on an oven-safe cookie rack or grille. Toast in your oven or in a toaster oven until lightly browned. (You want the outsides crisp but the insides soft and warm.)

9. Serve soup hot with a slice of basil bread for dipping. You can pepper it if you like, but I prefer without. The homemade bread will keep for up to three days, and the basil puree will keep up to a week in the fridge (though it will taste less nice as the days go by). The soup will keep for a week in the fridge and possibly forever in the freezer.

All of my recipes are licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

Posted in: Food