Creamy tomato soup with caprese crostinis is a soul satisfying summer-meets-fall meal that bridges the seasons beautifully!
The transition between summer and fall is my favorite time of year. Summer isn’t quite ready to let go and fall is just beginning to whisper about what’s to come. When I stand in the backyard I can still see summer’s handiwork all around me- the last bright red and yellow tomatoes are hanging heavy on their vines and the herb garden is bursting with basil and parsley and mint.
But the days are getting cooler, the sun is going down a little earlier every night, and heating up the kitchen is no longer something to be avoided. And that has me thinking more about warm, cozy foods like soups and roasts and casseroles.
Your Soup Needs a BFF
As a kid I loved it when my mom made me a big bowl of Campbell’s Tomato Soup along with a grilled cheese sandwich. The soup was simple, creamy, tomatoey and sweet. And the sandwich was white bread and American cheese. Crispy and buttery outside, with the perfect gooey, cheese “pull” when you cut it on the diagonal and separated the halves!
This homemade version has all of the creamy, tomatoey goodness and the crispy, cheesy decadence of that classic childhood favorite…but it’s a little more grown-up and a lot more delicious!
(Looking at Levi here, I’d say tomato soup and cheesy bread still equals childhood bliss!)
So, What’s In The Soup?
The ingredient list for this soup is pretty short (and you might already have everything you need!):
- Thyme (fresh or dried) and crushed red pepper flakes
- Canned whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- Garlic or Garlic Confit
- Kosher salt and cracked pepper
- Pesto (optional but strongly encouraged!)
Does Tomato Soup Need To Get Dressed Up?
Honestly, This tomato soup is wonderful and soul-warming and bursting with flavor in it’s most basic, simple form. But if you feel like taking it to the next level? I have some seriously delicious options for you!
Enter Garlic Confit and pesto!
These flavor-bombs will take your tomato soup over the top and I promise, if you make them, you’ll be really happy you took the extra time!
Garlic Confit is mellow, nutty, sweet, earthy garlic goodness that adds a depth of flavor you will LOVE! It takes very little hands on prep-time, but you do need to plan for it because it will take 2-3 hours to cook (all by itself without any supervision from you required). Once you have it, though? Keep it in your fridge and you’ll find yourself adding it to ALL kinds of things later. Learn how to make garlic confit here.
Pesto. Ahhhh…how I LOVE pesto! Basil, parsley, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese combine to make a sauce you will find so many uses for! You can buy pesto already made in the grocery store, but making your own is so worth it! learn how to make My Favorite Pesto here.
So, to answer the question, “Does tomato soup need to get dressed up?”… no. But is it nice to have options? A very emphatic YES ☺️
Yes, really! You might be surprised that we aren’t starting with fresh tomatoes here. Having made tomato soup from fresh tomatoes and from canned tomatoes, I can attest that canned are -hands down- the winner. It also saves you the time and trouble of washing, blanching and peeling.
Why San Marzano Tomatoes matter
The type of tomato you use is important. San Marzano tomatoes are the BEST. They’re a low acid variety with meaty flesh and a fantastic concentrated tomato flavor that makes them perfect for thick, flavorful soups like this one. They are always peeled and packed whole or in fillets. If you see canned San Marzano tomatoes that are diced, pureed or crushed leave them on the shelf.
“San Marzano” is both a variety of tomato and a region in Italy where they are traditionally grown. When you’re buying San Marzano tomatoes, where they are grown will be noted on the label. You might also notice the D.O.P. certification on the can. This certification means the tomatoes in the can are a specific variety, grown in a specific region, in a specific way and that they are harvested by hand at the peak of ripeness meeting a specific standard for size, shape and color. That said, there are perfectly delicious San Marzano tomatoes grown in the United States, too, and they’ll work just fine. But if you want the real deal? Look for D.O.P on the side of the can.
Making Creamy Tomato Soup Is As Easy As 1-2-3
- First, you’re going to melt butter until it’s foamy and then add herbs and garlic and stir until fragrant.
2. Next, add tomatoes, water, salt and pepper and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the cream and smooth it out with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
That’s it! Did I not tell you this was simple????
Caprese Crostinis To The Rescue
Have you ever tried to make grilled cheese for a crowd (even just a crowd of 4?). When you’re just making one or two grilled cheese sandwiches it’s no big deal. But, when you have a big pot of soup and a full house at dinnertime, having everything hot and ready at the same time can be tough.
Enter caprese crostinis! The perfect solution to bready-cheesy-tomato-soup-deliciousness for a crowd!
Make Them While Your Soup Simmers
Make the roasted tomatoes first, you might even put them in the oven before you start the soup to give yourself a head start. Have the oven pre-heated to 400°f and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. Place small cherry or grape tomatoes on the baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil and season with kosher salt and cracked pepper. Give the pan a shake so they’re all coated evenly and put them in the oven for 30 minutes.
Now it’s time to assemble the Caprese Crostinis! Gather your ingredients:
- baguette slices
- fresh mozzarella
- roasted cherry tomatoes (they might still be in the oven, don’t worry- you add them last!)
Arrange your baguette slices on a baking sheet and begin layering the ingredients on top.
Spread each slice of bread with a schmear of pesto, followed by a strip of prosciutto, some fresh mozzarella.
add a couple roasted cherry tomatoes on top as soon as they’re roasted and slip the crostinis into the hot oven
Bake just until the cheese is melty and has a few specks of brown the surface. Maybe sprinkle with a few flakes of finishing salt if you’re feeling fancy 😉
Dish It Up!
Ladle the soup into bowls, spoon some pesto in a swirl in the center, grab a couple caprese crostini’s for dipping and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this creamy tomato pesto soup with caprese croutons as much as we do!
As always, I love to hear how my recipes turn out for you and I especially love to see your pictures! Tag me on IG or FB @breathingandcooking with your creations!
And don’t forget to breath, trust yourself…and enjoy the process!
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 2 28-ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 2 cups water
- 8-10 confit garlic cloves (if using raw garlic use 2 cloves, sliced thinly)
- 1 teaspoon Diamond kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup pesto
For Caprese Crostini
- 6 slices of baguette, cut on the diagonal
- 2-3 Tbsp pesto
- 5 ounce ball of fresh mozzarella
- 3 very thin slices of prosciutto
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- olive oil for drizzling
- salt and pepper to taste
- In stock pot over medium heat melt butter until foamy. Add thyme, red pepper flakes and raw garlic (if using), cook and stir one minute.
- Add tomatoes, crushing with your fingers as you take them from the can. Stir in water, garlic confit (if using) and salt. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and keep at a gentle simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the soup simmers make the roasted tomatoes. Preheat oven to 375°f. Place cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper, turn to coat. Roast tomatoes 30 minutes, shaking pan halfway through, until tomatoes are semi wrinkled and some of them have split open. Set aside. (you can do this ahead of time if you prefer)
- After soup has simmered, remove it from the heat. Add cream and blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Place back on heat until warmed through to your preference.
Assemble The Crostini
- Preheat oven to 400°f. Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet and spread each with some of the pesto. Top pesto with prosciutto, then fresh mozzarella and a couple roasted tomatoes.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes, watching carefully that they don't burn.
*ovens vary, watch crostini carefully and adjust temperature/time accordingly*
- Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle pesto over the center, swirling gently with a spoon. Serve with warm crostinis
*I encourage you to use garlic confit for this soup because it adds a beautiful, mellow, sweet note
*If you don't have an immersion blender, puree the soup in a regular blender but let it cool slightly first to avoid burning yourself