Tomato and Basil Soup

It’s getting to be sick season in our apartment, so a lot of soup is being made.  This is a super-easy Tomato and Basil Soup made from herbs from 3rd Ward‘s plot at the DeKalb Market.  We’re doing some harvesting over there and getting the plot ready for winter – if you haven’t stopped by, check it out!  Cool container shops and delicious eats make for a lovely stroll in downtown Brooklyn.

Back to the soup.

Tomato and Basil Soup


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large cans whole tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups basil leaves, washed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • 1 small carrot

To Do:

  1. Set your oven to broil and line 2 cookie sheets with tinfoil and place the tomatoes from the cans on them.  Reserve all of the liquid in the cans.
  2. Simmer the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot on the stove.
  3. Add the onions and sautee until they are browned – feel free to add a bit of water if the onions are sticking to the bottom of the pot.  More decadent?  Add olive oil instead.
  4. Add the garlic to the pot and put heat to low and cover.  You want the mixture to become nice and browned without burning, so add more liquid and adjust the heat if necessary.
  5. Pop the tomatoes under the broiler for about 5 minutes – they should get slightly blistery on top.
  6. While the tomatoes are in the broiler, add the tomato liquid to the pot on the stove and stir.
  7. Take the tomatoes out of the oven (turn off oven), fold the tinfoil in half and just plop the tomatoes and their juices into the pot.  Mash around with a big wooden spoon and add the quinoa, rosemary, carrot and basil.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 minutes.  If it looks too much like pasta sauce, add water or broth.  I just filled one of the tomato cans full of water and used that.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove the carrot and rosemary spring and then carefully (it’s hot!), blend the soup in batches or use an immersion blender.  I wanted a very smooth soup, so I opted for the blender.
  9. Serve in big bowls with breadcrumbs and fresh basil leaves (optional).

You can, of course, omit the step of roasting the tomatoes a bit.  I thought it created an interesting flavor, but bet the soup would be tasty without that step.  The quinoa was added because I had some cooked in the fridge, but also thought it would provide a creaminess that normally some sort of dairy would provide.  Happy to say that it worked beautifully AND with quinoa you have the added bonus of adding a complete protein to your meal!  Add some salad and you’ve got a simple supper.

Ragu is BACK!

With semi-cooler weather coming, we had a ragu for dinner out of garden tomatoes, garden cabbage, diced onions, garlic, homemade veggie stock and a bunch of frozen things I found while cleaning out our freezer (a few veggie sausages, a very sad looking veggie burger and a piece of tempeh bacon – luckily bought just last week).

We basically let that delicious mess simmer for a while and then topped some pasta with it and topped the ragu with grated pecorino.

Garden is GROWING!

Not sure if you can tell, but we’ve got some sprouts!  Above is a line of radishes and the tatsoi is also coming up.  We are very excited and got some good news – our plot is now 4×8!  We’ll be sharing the 4×4 half with a fellow gardener and attempting to do some vertical gardening.  We’ll keep you posted on what happens!