It’s August and the tomatoes are in full swing in the garden. We’ve been munching on cherry tomatoes for a while now but the big, juicy, colorful heirlooms are finally fattening up and ripening. It’s peak heirloom tomato soup season!
Usually we expect August weather in Michigan to be muggy and a million degrees. I’m pleasantly surprised to say the evenings have been cool and crisp and I’m absolutely loving making this soup with my garden heirloom tomatoes.
Make an extra batch for the freezer now and you’ll be so happy you did in just a few short months.
Split Heirloom Tomatoes
I almost called this recipe “split tomato soup” (or soup-a-doop as my niece says) because it’s just so perfect for using up those juicy and split-prone heirlooms. Splitting happens when the tomato plant takes up too much water too fast, splitting the skin before it has a chance to grow. This happens easily on tomatoes grown outdoors right after a big rainstorm.
If you’d like to avoid your tomatoes splitting altogether, try harvesting them while they are blushing, and let them ripen indoors on the counter. Once they start to turn color, they won’t get any bigger and are just more susceptible to critter damage and splitting. They’ll still taste amazing and they’ll most likely be in much better shape.
If you’re not growing your own heirloom tomatoes but want to get your hands on a ton of them, try reaching out to a local veggie farm around mid-August. They’ll inevitably be knee-deep in ‘seconds’ or ‘split’ tomatoes that they’ll most likely be happy to sell for cheap. If you have the availability to use them up quickly, they can be a big, flavorful bargain.
What are heirloom tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes technically refer to specific open-pollinated, non-hybrid seed varieties within the tomato plant family. The seeds from heirloom tomatoes can be saved year after year and are known for their superior flavor when compared to hybrids.
There has been so much greenwashing with term ‘heirloom tomato’ that many people think it means “big colorful tomato”. Heirloom tomatoes come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Some of my favorite well-known heirlooms to grow are Striped German, Brandywine, and Cherokee Purple.
Heirloom Tomato Soup Ingredients
- Tomatoes: My favorite tomatoes to use for this heirloom tomato soup are the big colorful slicers like Brandywine, Cherokee Purple and Striped German. You can certainly use whatever in-season tomatoes you have on hand, and they don’t have to be technically heirloom. In season tomatoes will taste great too.
- Roasted Red Bell Pepper: Adding bell pepper to soups and dips does something magical by making it extra creamy. You can use already canned and peeled roasted red bell pepper, or you can make your own.
- Chili Flakes: I make my own chili flakes using cayenne peppers from the garden. They’re flaming hot and I love them. If you’re using store-bought chili flakes and you welcome the heat, go ahead and double the amount in the recipe.
Questions about making heirloom tomato soup:
Do you have to peel the tomatoes?
No, you do not have to peel the tomatoes. Slow-roasting them in the oven softens the skin and they’re part of what makes the soup so creamy when blended. They’re also nutritious, so I like to leave them in.
Are split tomatoes safe to eat?
Yes, but use them quickly and discard any weird bits. As long as they don’t have mold, insects and smell OK, they are good to eat. My philosphy is “just cut the bad part off” and “use common sense and don’t eat something gross”.
Can this tomato soup be made vegan?
This tomato soup recipe is naturally vegan! It’s amazing with a grilled cheese on the side but it’d also be great with a crusty piece of bread or some croutons.
Can I freeze this heirloom tomato soup?
Absolutely and I recommend it! Heating up a batch of this heirloom tomato soup in the middle of winter is the perfect way to be transported back to the height of summer. It’ll warm your bones in the best way. It’s serious comfort food.
What kind of tomatoes should I use?
My absolute favorite tomatoes to use for this heirloom tomato soup recipe are large colorful heirloom varieties like Brandywine, Cherokee Purple and Striped German. With so few ingredients in this recipe, you’ll want to really taste those delicious tomatoes.
Heirloom Tomato Soup
- 3 lbs heirloom tomatoes approx 5 medium-large
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 roasted red bell pepper peeled
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice heirloom tomatoes into large wedges. Add to roasting pan.
- To the tomatoes add two whole peeled garlic cloves and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast in the oven for approx 1 hour or until tomatoes are soft and have released their juices.
- In a medium saucepan, heat a glug of olive oil. Add chili flakes and chopped yellow onion. Sautee until onions are translucent.
- Once the tomatoes are done roasting, add them to the saucepan and stir to incorporate.
- Blend in a high-speed blender or with an immersion blender until creamy smooth.
- Serve warm with crusty bread, grilled cheese or whatever else makes you happy.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @growingwithgertie on Instagram.
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