Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup is an easy, inexpensive meal that requires very minimal ingredients. It’s hearty, but light an perfect for cold winter nights.
Most days in my food-centric world, I enjoy spending the time to make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup completely from scratch down to the broth, find comfort in chopping what seems like a million vegetables for Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie and welcome the chance to let a pot of Short Rib Bolognese permeate my house nearly all day.
But on days like today, when Teddy is screaming for what seems to be no reason, Kevin is working late, and my sanity is on the brink of extinction, simplicity is where its at.
This Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup is simplicity at its finest. Minimal ingredients, minimal prep and minimal cooking time.
Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup is what I imagine Italian grandmothers made when minimalism and a simpler thought process were just a way of life and not a conscience decision.
In my head, which is in no way an accurate account of real life, they would use the leftover tomatoes from the summer’s crop, torn up day-old bread, a little bit of water, and maybe a few herbs they had in the garden. I’m guessing you could count the ingredient list on one hand, and the expenses would tally up to something completely unimaginable in today’s world.
While my tomatoes came from the convenience of a can, and my bread came straight from a local Kansas City bakery, the bones of this soup are the same – simple, inexpensive and quick-cooking.
Most recipes for a classic tomato bread soup call for day-old bread, but I wanted to add an extra layer of flavor, so instead I tossed cubed ciabatta with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning and baked them to make a crouton of sorts.
Also, let’s be serious, good bread rarely lasts more than a day in our house since Kevin inhales it and it’s basically the only thing Teddy eats these days. If you happen to have day-old bread on hand, by all means, use it, but I do suggest going the same crouton route.
Because this recipe is all about swiftness, the croutons go in the oven first while the rest of the soup comes together so there’s no idle time.
While the croutons cook, the base of the soup starts by sautéing some onion, carrots and celery in a little bit of olive oil just until they go from completely firm to slightly soft. From there, whole, peeled plum tomatoes are added in, along with a parmesan cheese rind, the whole thing is brought to a boil and then reduced to a simmer for about 10 minutes. The cooking process breaks the whole tomatoes up, but I also like to get in there with a pair of kitchen shears to speed the process along.
Once the soup has simmered and the croutons are toasted, the soup is taken off the heat, seasoned with salt and pepper and then tossed with the crunchy croutons.
I like to garnish with a sprinkling of parsley and shreds of parmesan cheese, but it’s also perfectly fine as is.
I also want to note that in a soup as simple as this, it’s really important to be diligent about seasoning every step of the way so layers of flavor are built throughout the process. This means the croutons need to be adequately seasoned. The vegetables require a liberal amount of seasoning in the beginning, and then as your adding the tomatoes, there needs to be another addition. Once the soup is done simmering, it needs to be checked for seasoning yet again. This steps will make the difference in a good versus a great soup.
For more tomato soup recipes, check out these posts:
Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup.
Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup is an easy, inexpensive meal that requires very minimal ingredients. It's hearty, but light an perfect for cold winter nights.
- 4 cups 1/2 inch cubed ciabatta bread
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried italian seasoning
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 large garlic clove
- 28 oz canned whole plum tomatoes
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 parmesan cheese rind
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss bread with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and italian seasoning. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, but not brown, about 8 minutes. Set aside when done.
Heat a large soup pot to a medium heat. Add remaining olive oil. Add onion, carrot and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sweat the veggies until slightly softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, cook another minute until garlic is soft and fragrant.
Add tomatoes, chicken stock, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar and parmesan cheese rind. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Use kitchen shears to bread the tomatoes up. Simmer for 12-15 minutes until veggies are softened, but still slightly crisp and parmesan cheese rind is starting to melt into the soup. Season again with salt and pepper.
When ready to serve, add the croutons to the soup, stir for a minute or two until croutons start to soften. Serve with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese if desired.