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.
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.
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.
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.
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.