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.
This 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, or use canned tomatoes when ripe ones aren't in season. 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.
This recipe has been updated January 2018.
Creamy Tomato and White Bean Soup
When it's fresh and in season, basil makes a nice alternative to the rosemary in this recipe.
- For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 pounds ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (or 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes and their juices, crushed in a bowl)
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, or homemade
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- 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:
- Blender or immersion blender
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.
Add the tomatoes and beans:
Add the fresh or canned tomatoes, rosemary, beans, 1 1/2 cups of water, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are very soft. Remove the rosemary sprig. Stir in the Parmesan.
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 stir in enough additional water to bring the soup to your desired consistency (up to 2 1/2 cups of water). Taste and add salt and pepper, if you like. Reheat over low heat until hot.
Make the garnish:
In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the basil.
Serve the soup:
Ladle the soup into bowls, and top each bowl with the fresh tomato garnish.