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Roasted Tomato Soup

Summer gardening season is wrapping up, but many of us still have tomatoes growing. In my case, many of my heirloom tomato plants are starting to look a little tired, but I have an abundance of Roma tomatoes.  My husband starts our tomato plants from seed, usually a variety of heirloom tomatoes. This year, he decided to try Roma tomatoes, and I am glad he did!

Roma tomatoes are small and very meaty. The skin is tender and the seeds are few, compared to other varieties. Slicing tomato varieties tend to be juicier which is great when eating fresh, but Roma tomatoes make the best sauces and soup because there is less moisture in the tomatoes so the sauce will be thicker.

You may not have grown Roma tomatoes, and they may not be readily available at Farmers’ Market. Don’t worry! You can use about any variety of tomato for the recipes. I have made many sauces, soups and salsas with many different varieties, and all were good. You may wish to cook down the sauce a little longer to make it thicker or, in the Roasted Tomato Soup recipe, you may want to cut back on the vegetable broth a bit. It’s all up to you.

These recipes are my favorite ways to use my summer’s tomato harvest. My family loves a hot cup of Roasted Tomato Soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on those first chilly early fall nights. Still harvesting tomatoes, but a little cooler temperature is the best time of year!

 

Roasted Tomato Soup
3 Pounds of Tomatoes ( I use Roma tomatoes)
6 Cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion, coarsely chopped
3 Mini Sweet Peppers, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt (divided)
1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme (optional)
2 Tablespoons Butter (or Earth Balance for vegan)
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (or Non-Dairy Cream for vegan)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatoes, garlic, onion, and peppers on a well-oiled baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt. Roast in oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Place in blender and add basil and thyme. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes, or until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan and add butter, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, pepper and vegetable broth. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in cream and heat for an additional 5 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

If your family eats a lot of pasta, you will want to try this easy homemade sauce. It will wow everyone at your table when you tell them that you made the sauce from scratch. This recipe makes a little over a quart of sauce, depending on how juicy your tomatoes are and how thick you cook the sauce down. If you make it in advance, you can store a jar of it in your freezer. Just make sure you allow it to thaw under refrigeration for a couple of days before using it.  Simply, reheat and serve over your favorite pasta.

Roasted Tomato Sauce
4 Pounds Tomatoes
¾ Cups Chopped Green Peppers
2 Ribs Celery, chopped
8 Cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt (divided)
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper (divided)
½ Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Oregano
2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatoes, peppers, celery, and garlic on a well-oiled baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sea salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper over the vegetables. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Pour tomatoes into blender and add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour mixture into a non-reactive (stainless or enamel) pot and simmer for about an hour, depending on the desired thickness. Season to taste. Makes about one quart.

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