Roasted Tomato Basil and Rice Soup (with or Without the Rice)
3 from 2 votes

Roasted Tomato & Rice Soup

I like to think of this creamy, flavorful tomato basil soup as being a perfect “transition recipe”–a meal that can be carried easily from summer to into fall. Roasting the tomatoes for the soup brings out so much of their natural sweetness and depth of flavor, and the pureed soup that results is quintessentially summery.

At this point, it’s delightful on its own, but when I made the soup last weekend, I wanted to create something that was a little heartier than traditional tomato soup. I stirred in some cooked rice, and it turned out to be a felicitous addition. The result was a bowl that has the creaminess and bright flavor of roasted tomato soup, and the thick texture and stick-to-your-ribs appeal of an autumn stew; a soup that can serve as a meal, in other words.

Roasted Tomato & Rice Soup

Some tomato and rice soup recipes call for cooking the rice directly in the soup. I like the idea of this, and I’ll definitely try it in the future, but for this batch the rice was a game time decision: I had leftover basmati rice in the fridge that was begging to be eaten up.

You can use any leftover cooked grain in this recipe: barley and farro would be incredible, as would cooked quinoa or millet for a less chewy texture.

Roasted Tomato & Rice Soup

One of the nice bonuses of stirring in the cooked grain is not only a little extra nutrition and staying power, but also that the grains will help the soup to thicken up. This is especially true when you enjoy the leftovers (and the batch makes 6 servings, so hopefully there will be at least a few leftover portions for you to savor!). It’s a perfect soup for batch cooking and freezing.

With all of this said, you can create a lighter soup by leaving the rice out altogether, and enjoy the tomato flavors on their own. Here’s the recipe.

Roasted Tomato & Rice Soup

3 from 2 votes

Roasted Tomato Basil and Rice Soup

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Yields: 6 servings


  • 4-5 pounds plum tomatoes halved or quartered (depending on size--I suggest quartering the big ones)
  • 10 plump garlic cloves about 1 head
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt large flake sea salt or kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small yellow or white onions thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar coconut sugar, maple sugar, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, and sucanat are all good choices, as is regular organic cane sugar or brown sugar, optional
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped (or 1 teaspoon dry thyme)
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves plus extra for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white or brown rice or cooked quinoa, barley, farro, or millet, optional


  • Preheat your oven to 400F. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, onto two large, foil- or parchment-lined baking sheets (a shallow casserole dish will also work well). Drizzle them evenly with two tablespoons of olive oil and then use your hands to coat them well. Sprinkle them generously with coarse salt and then a pinch of black pepper. Nestle the garlic cloves in between the tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes for 50 minutes, or until they're browning and juicy. Remove them from the oven and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining half tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium high heat. Add the onions, along with a liberal pinch of salt and a tablespoon of sugar (if using -- the sugar will help them to caramelize and also to mellow the acidity of the tomatoes). Saute for 10-12 minutes, or until the onions are golden, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add the tomatoes, along with all of their roasting juices, to the pot, along with 3 cups of the vegetable broth and thyme. Mash the tomatoes up a bit with the back of a spoon to help release their liquid. Bring the whole mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the soup in batches to a blender, along with the basil, and puree till very smooth, or use an immersion blender to puree it. When it's well pureed, return the soup to the pot. Check it for seasoning and add extra salt and black pepper to taste (I added an extra 1/4 teaspoon salt to the soup). Also check the soup's consistency, and add the remaining cup of broth if needed--I like a thicker soup, but it shouldn't look like marinara sauce. Finally, stir in the rice if using.
  • Divide soup into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a few basil leaves. Serve. Leftover soup will keep for up to five days, and it can be frozen for up to two months.

Steven dubbed this the “perfect fall soup”–he said it was hearty without feeling like a full on winter stew, which is exactly what I was going for.

He thought that toast was mandatory even in spite of the rice addition, which I understand: there’s just something about tomato soup and toast.

Roasted Tomato & Rice Soup

No matter how you serve it–with or without rice, with or without toast, as an appetizer or as a main–you’ll love the combination of sweet roasted tomato and garlic, all highlighted by the peppery basil. I hope you enjoy it.

On that note, I’m wrapping up a busy week of school and celebration of Food52 Vegan! Thank you for all of the support you’ve given the book; it means a lot to me. I look forward to seeing you all over the weekend for a new weekend reading.


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  1. Hi Gena ~ About to finish making this soup (have been wanting to make this since I came across it a while back). I know you’re most likely not going to answer my Q before I need you to, but that’s ok. I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but just want to confirm. You don’t mention also adding the roasted garlic cloves when adding the roasted tomatoes and their juices to the pot with caramelized onions … I can’t imagine we are to discard them. But yah, please do tell me they ARE to be included because THAT is exactly what I’m going to do (lol). Just makes sense … and can’t imagine that them being nestled among the tomatoes, while roasting, would impart enough flavor … just thought I’d ask since it wasn’t mentioned. Thanks and I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful. 🙂

    • Dana,

      Actually, I find that roasting whole garlic cloves with veggies does impart a ton of flavor, in and of itself! But if you have cloves that are still plump and squeezable after the roasting process, go ahead and add them for sure.


    • All is good. It was just as wonderul as I hoped it would be (probably even more). AND, my girlfriend who detests tomatoes (raw) was a bit leary to try it, actually LOVED it just as much as me. Thanks so much for the recipe. This will for sure be a staple soup for us, for fall and throughout the winter. Yum yum! 🙂

  2. Just made this with leftover sliced tomatoes and onions that I from a bbq today… PERFECT recipe! Even worked fine with sliced tomatoes instead of halved/quartered. And without the rice, super easy to make paleo!

  3. This recipe is beautiful and sweet and everything I want in a soup. I am always making brothy or creamy soups, eating them like that the first night, then stirring cooked grains in the next night to thicken them up and create a new texture.

    Tomato soup is something I associate with my childhood … even though when I was growing up it came out of a can! I love to make my own now, and this recipe is going on the top of my list. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  4. Ok, I made this soup on Sunday. It was delicious! The roasted tomatoes add such a decadent sweetness. Even my meat loving boyfriend thought it was fantastic and filling. The rice is the perfect addition! I will definitely be making again!

  5. This sounds like a very good soup. And tomatoes are about to leave the markets, I’ll grab a bunch up to make a big batch of this to have some freezer soup for the winter =)

  6. I love adding rice or other grains to my soup! I made a batch of tortilla soup recently that just looked so sad and water I ended up throwing in a bunch of quinoa and it got the texture to practically perfect, plus added that extra bit of heartiness. Definitely going to give this one a try!

    • Love this! I love a hearty texture, and for me, grains change soup from a side dish into a meal. Tortilla soup with quinoa sounds lovely, and like a cool alternative to my usual (which is loading it up with tortilla strips!). Hope you’re well, friend.

  7. I love rice in soup!! It definitely contributes to that “full” feeling, which I’m really looking for as the weather gets colder. It’s so funny how our tastes change from summer to fall!

  8. What a lovely looking soup – I could almost lick the screen! I like whole grains in soups – I think the contrast works well. Good luck with the book!!!

  9. This is literally the most delicious thing I’ve seen all week. I’m weak in the knees for tomato soup … it’s been a huge favorite since I was a kid! I bet a piece of sprouted grain toast would just be delicious, love the options you give here!! CONGRATS ON THE BOOK RELEASE TOO!!!!

  10. Hi Gena–wow, this looks fabulous and is my kind of tomato soup! I may have to trade my remainingi Urban Farmhouse “slugs” in for some tomatoes to roast. 🙂 And any recipe process deserving of the adjective “felicitous” has my vote. 🙂 I have added uncooked rice to tomato soup creations over the years and it will work just fine that way, too. Ditto for the other grains. It’s all good!! Thank you!! xo

    • Good to know about the rice cooking method, Maria. That’s the nice thing about cooking soups — it’s such a forgiving process!
      I hope you enjoy the recipe — I remember your saying that you roasted veggies with white balsamic sometimes, and I bet that would work very well here. xo