Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup Photo: Romula Yanes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, including the juice
  • 2-3 cups water or tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional


1. Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it's hot, add the onion and carrot, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften (3-5 minutes). Add the tomato paste, lower the heat a bit, and continue to cook, stirring to coat the vegetables with the paste, until the paste begins to darken--don't let it burn (1-2 minutes).

2. Strip the thyme leaves from the stem and add them to the pot along with the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down (10-15 minutes). Add 2 cups of the water or juice and bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently. Let cook until the flavors meld (5 more minutes).

3. Taste and adjust the seasoning; if the soup tastes flat (but salty enough), stir in the sugar. If it's too thick, add more water, 1/4 cup at a time. If it's too thin, cook until it thickens and reduces slightly (this will also intensify the flavors). Garnish with basil, if using, and serve.

Change It Up!

Hearty Tomato Soup: Add 1/2 cup white rice, bulgur, or couscous with the water in Step 2, along with 1 more cup liquid. Cook until the grain is tender (5-15 minutes) and be prepared to add a little more water if the soup gets too thick.

Spiced Tomato Soup: Instead of the fresh thyme and basil, add 1 TBSP curry or chili powder or 1 tsp smoked paprika (pimentón) along with the tomato paste in Step 1.

  • Total Time:

  • To ramp up heartiness but not fat or calories, purée half the batch in a blender, then stir it back into the pot.
  • Yield: Makes 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 129
Fat per serving: 7.3g
Saturated fat per serving: 1g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 5g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 0.9g
Protein per serving: 3g
Carbohydrate per serving: 16g
Fiber per serving: 4g
Cholesterol per serving: 0.0mg
Iron per serving: 1mg
Sodium per serving: 174mg
Calcium per serving: 42mg

Good to Know

Tomatoes are more nutritious cooked than raw, because heat increases the amount of lycopene you absorb.