Our “tomato alley” with its black barrier cloth path between a rock and a brick wall has been a virtual hot house for the tomato plants. I’m eating tomatoes as fast as I can (and giving away handfuls of cherry tomatoes), but I’m having a hard time keeping up with supply. Good problem! Solution? Fresh tomato basil soup!

The best tomato basil soup in town (in my opinion) is offered at The Attic/Coffee Mill Cafe. The recipe is my cousin Lisabeth’s, adapted for mass quantities by our other cousin, Julie. To get that awesome recipe, you would need to marry a McWilliams, a George, or a List!

My soup version features garden fresh basil and tomatoes – whatever variety you’re growing or have found at a farm stand or market. I used my extra Beefmaster, Celebrity, Purple Cherokee and Golden Jubilee varieties plus a few Fourth of July given to me by my daughter-in-law, Valerie.

Depending on the tomato type, ripeness and sugar content, you may vary some of the additional ingredients to taste. You’ll need approximately four pounds of tomatoes. And an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a friend…

Sally’s Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

Put that summer surplus of tomatoes and basil to good use in this delicious soup!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword basil, soup, tomato
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 14 cups
Author sallymcw


  • 1 medium yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic compound butter (I like the Triple Garlic Butter from Second Chance Farm, but you can substitute 2 tbsp butter + 1/2 tsp minced garlic)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup water
  • 28 ounce can of tomato puree (you may use less if your tomatoes are all red & meaty)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste (you may use less if your tomatoes are all red & meaty)
  • 4 pounds assorted tomatoes, peeled
  • 2 tsp sugar (more or less to taste, depending on tomatoes)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil (additional for garnish)
  • grated or shaved Parmesan cheese optional


  • Blanche tomatoes in boiling water & shock in ice water. Peel, rough chop, and set aside.
  • Melt garlic butter in large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion, cover and sweat onions until tender.
  • Add flour and stir to coat onions. (Will be very thickly coated.) Reduce heat to low and cook a minute or two to remove the raw flour taste.
  • Gradually add half & half and water, stirring until well blended, allowing to thicken for a few minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and tomato paste. Cook at a low simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Process with an immersion blender in the Dutch oven. When smooth, add chopped basil and stir to combine.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional fresh basil

Because there’s cream (technically half & half) and a little flour added for thickening and creaminess, I don’t recommend freezing this soup. But it does make a lot of deliciousness, so it’s the perfect thing to share. (Great payback for borrowing that blender!)

Last summer I canned tomatoes like a mad woman, and I still have a year’s supply in the cupboard. I’m skipping that this summer in favor of “fresh from the vine” dishes. You can never go wrong with a caprese salad or bruschetta, or have them too often. But if you like tomato basil soup as much as I do, I think you’ll enjoy giving this recipe a try.

Bon Appetite!

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One thing that makes my journey unique is that all of my interests are driven by a joyful and genuine curiosity. I delight in finding less expensive ways to make something or creative ways to enjoy something longer. Finding and creating joy - and sharing it - is core to who I am.