Creamy Tomato and White Bean Soup

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Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

You just couldn’t resist that last crate of tomatoes at the farm stand, could you? They called to you, pick me, pick me, pick me! Well, now what?

I love the simplicity of this late-summer soup. Tomatoes, onions, white beans, a little cheese, and basil. That’s all, folks.

Creamy Tomato and Bean SoupThis is a soup that spans the seasons from late summer to early fall. Add a grilled cheese sandwich and everyone will be full and happy.

You will also want to freeze a few portions for the cool, rainy and snowy days to come, when you don’t feel like cooking and fresh tomatoes are long gone.

You can use plum (Roma) tomatoes or any ripe tomatoes that you have on hand. Beans add body and flavor to the finished soup, so no cream is required.

If you don’t have cherry tomatoes for the garnish, just set aside one of the smaller tomatoes intended for your soup and use that instead. The garnish brightens the soup with a flash of fresh sweetness and an herby spike of basil.

Creamy Tomato and White Bean Soup Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds plum (Roma) tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

For the garnish:

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 12 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Special Equipment:

Method

1 Cook the onion and garlic: Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until softened.

Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

2 Add the tomatoes and beans: Add the tomatoes, rosemary, beans, water, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are very soft. Remove the rosemary sprig. Stir in the Parmesan.

Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

3 Puree the soup: In 2- to 3-cup batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth, or use an immersion blender. (Warning! The soup is hot! To puree hot liquid in a blender, only fill it 1/3 full. Cover the lid with a folded dishtowel and hold it down with your hand. Start on low speed, and increase the speed gradually.)

Transfer the soup to a pot and taste. Add salt and pepper, if you like. Reheat over low heat until hot.

4 Make the garnish: In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the basil.

Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

5 Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls, and top each bowl with the fresh tomato garnish.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of two cookbooks (Food for Friends and The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

Showing 4 of 14 Comments

  • Rachel

    This recipe was just in time as tomato season draws to a close in the midwest. The flavor is good but the soup was very watery. I will cut the water added down to three cups next time. My fresh basil is almost done for the summer. I chopped basil and added it to half of the soup at the end so that I would have the fresh basil in the middle of the winter.

  • Beanie

    Dear Sally, Thank you for the recipe. I made it last Monday and it was so good. This is a keeper!
    Beanie

  • Carol Eckstein

    How long can you keep the soup in the freezer? Thanks, this looks delicious .I’m going to make it tonight!

  • Karen

    If you don’t have access to fresh Roma tomatoes, can you use canned diced
    tomatoes and if so what size can? Thank you.

  • Ann

    I can’t WAIT to make this….but I’m in Tucson and it was 100 degrees today mid-September. Maybe in November?

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