Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

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Late last week, the kids were invited to spend some time picking veggies in our neighbor’s garden again. They were thrilled and so was I. After all, when you don’t have your own garden yet, the generously given vegetables from a neighbor’s garden are 100 times better than those from a farmer’s market and a thousand times better than the ones at the grocery store.

They came back with a huge bounty of fresh vegetables that they couldn’t wait to start eating. That night, we dined on some fresh carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers along with our dinner. Now, I have a huge bushel of green peppers and red and yellow tomatoes sitting on my counter that I’m planning to turn into spaghetti sauce tomorrow. We also had a big bowl of grape tomatoes in the fridge. (According to our neighbor, the kids told him that was their favorite vegetable to snack on, so he let them pick to their hearts content. We are blessed with some great neighbors, that’s for sure!)

While the kids would gladly snack on those tomatoes, we still had so many left after their little hands snuck handful after handful. I knew I had to use them before they went bad. So I convinced my husband that a hot soup on a hot day really wasn’t such a bad thing when it was filled with fresh summer veggies. He relented and I hurriedly threw together a delicious and filling Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque.

As someone that usually does not care for tomatoes or tomato soups, I have to say that this soup was out of this world! I loved it. The flavors combined so perfectly and the texture was a little creamy, a little thick, a little chunky – just the way I love my soup. Everyone cleaned their bowls, although my husband and oldest daughter were the only ones who begged for seconds. Considering the healthy, simple goodness in each bowl full, I find that outcome perfectly acceptable!

Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 1/2 lb. grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1/3 c. fresh basil, diced
  • 1 c. half and half, cream or whole milk
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Additional salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add celery, red pepper and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add zucchini and tomatoes. Season with 1/2 t. salt. Cook for 5 minutes.

2. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until tomatoes start to pop. Press the tomatoes against the side of the pot until they crush, or use a potato masher. (The soup will still be very chunky at this point, so don’t worry if you don’t get all the tomatoes.)

3. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, 1 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper and fresh basil. Cool soup for 10 minutes (or refrigerate at this point for up to 24 hours).

4. Process the soup in small batches in a food processor or blender until desired consistency. Pour back into pot and warm slowly.

5. Once soup is warmed, add cream or milk and grated Parmesan cheese. Continue warming until heated through, but don’t bring to a boil. Season to taste with any additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Although I can’t say first hand since we had no leftovers, I’m thinking this would make a wonderful soup to freeze. If I was going to freeze it, I’d do so after step 3. Then, I’d reheat it before processing and adding the cream. I can’t wait until next summer when we have our own garden. I’ll definitely be making lots of this bisque to fill my freezer so that we can enjoy the fresh taste of summer all year long!

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  1. Lu says:

    Mmm, yum! I had a wonderful tomato bisque last summer and have been craving it ever since. This will definitely hit the spot. I am also not a tomato or tomato soup lover. :)

  2. SnoWhite says:

    This looks delightful, Kate! And, the timing couldn’t be more perfect as I’ve inherited a garden that’s now overflowing!!

  3. Katie says:

    This is, quite possibly, the best soup I have ever had! My husband cleaned out the pot. Perfect timing, as well, because our cherry tomatoes are quickly exploding in number. I did sub zucchini for carrots…I had just put all the zucchini into some muffins. But, this is delicious soup and I’m going to make more this weekend!

  4. Stacy says:

    Made this soup last night to use up tons of tomatoes and a zucchini. It was delicious! We actually used regular sized tomatoes instead of grape or cherry ones and it turned out fine. I just cut them up.

  5. Rebecca says:

    We made this today to use up our farm tomatoes (regular size – diced) and we used summer squash instead of zucchini since we were out. It was perfect with grilled cheese for our Sunday lunch!

  6. Erin says:

    I really enjoyed the addition of red bell pepper in this soup. I ended up using a 28 oz can of petite diced tomatoes instead, since it was handy, and it turned out great! I served it with grilled cheese, yummy!!

  7. Helen says:

    I made this today and I haven’t even eaten it yet. OMGosh! My house smells SOOOO good. I am happy just sitting in my chair smelling it. I can’t wait until dinner time. It is a drizzly, cold spring day and this soup is going to hit the spot.

  8. Patricia says:

    I followed most of this recipe to make my delicious soup but made the following Changes: I did not use any salt at all in this recipe (I am salt sensitive) fresh garlic, fresh basil, dry bay leaf, fresh parsley, grated one large carrot and some frozen dill. Pureed everything after it cooked for about 45 min. Cool before putting in blender or processor. Just before eating I added no fat free creamer, chopped avocado and sprinkled with Italiano cheese with a side of toasted sprouted bread. It was Yummmmmmy!

  9. vaneesa says:

    I LOVE this bisque. I made it using Hunt’s canned diced tomatoes and instead of the fresh tomatoes and it was still an excellent soup.

  10. Brandy Anderson Taggart says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made this tonight with most ingredients from my garden. Substituted 1/2 cup sour cream for milk, because I was out of milk. Used a course food mill, but wanted more chunks, so I spooned some of the solids back in. Next time, I think I’ll just do what the recipe says. I added about 1/2 cup chopped onion and one diced jalapeno with the celery. I used grated parmesan from a shaker. It was delicious! It was a ittle on the spicy side, and had a wonderful flavor. It’s so good, you could sell it!

  11. Kate says:

    How many servings does this recipe make?

  12. Great info. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon).

    I have book marked it for later!

  13. Noga says:

    Wow…this is soooo good. I have had a thing for tomato bisque (and to a lesser extent, tomato soup) for years, but have never made it before tonight. I live in Brazil so I did have to make a couple changes to the recipe. The fresh tomatoes are not great right now so I used canned tomatoes in juice. Because of the juice I reduced the water added by 1/2 c, though i would reduce it further and add more to reach desired thickness. I am out of chicken stock, so the water was combined with buillon…and since I don’t like the flavor of buillon I’ve found (no Better Than Buillon here:( ) I used ramen seasoning packets hehe. What can I say, I like ramen. Klassy. I did a half milk, half heavy cream mixture for the dairy, and will let my husband add his parmesan since I’m not a big fan. We are going to have this with little cheese flavored mini toast crackers, but this would be amazing with an extra-sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwich. Thank you so much for the recipe! It’s a new favorite.

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