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intense roast tomato soup

intense roast tomato soupI often get funny looks when I suggest this at my weight management groups and my cancer nutrition classes. No one quite rolls their eyes, but I do feel a collective will not to laugh; a suppression of an exasperated “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

I eat tomatoes like candy. At least at this time of year when tomatoes are at their delectable and nutritious peak. And I suggest that others give it a go, too.

At home I put out a plate or bowl mounded with freshly washed small tomatoes and we pick away to our heart’s content: ridiculously perfect supermarket ones; bulbous, misshapen heritage ones; slightly split homegrown ones. What gets the eyes almost rolling is the suggestion that people bring this idea to work. To compete with the homemade cakes and the vending machines. I know. Hilarious.

Perhaps I shouldn’t encourage snacking, or at least mindless snacking, but it is hard to be mindless when these little red, green, yellow, purple or striped orbs scream ‘notice me!’ with every tomatoes by food to glow

What’s not to love? Who in their right mind can shun the pleasure of that initial resistance of the tight thin skin, teeth sinking in to bursting and succulent sweet savouriness? The seeds sometimes not quite staying in the mouth? At this time of year I can easily eat a few fruit-packed stems of cherry tomatoes in one go. I’m not picky but they do need to be warm, fresh, fragrant and seasonal. Not picky at all then.

Mostly I like them as they are. But a very close second is roasted. Not charred and chewy roasted. But gently heated over a slightly long time so as to intensify the flavour without burning the sugars (bad for the teeth – these would be like candy!).

roasting tomatoes by food to glowIf you are going to the ‘trouble’ of roasting tomatoes, may I suggest a big batch? Not only to keep in the fridge for eating in salads, dips, smashed on toast with ricotta, with breakfast bits, between bread, and as a perfect side dish, (phew) but also to make the most gloriously intense and ridiculously easy – if not quite instant – soup.

In my recipe I have tarted up this intense tomato soup with hearty, chewy maftoul (giant wholewheat couscous), but just leave it out if you fancy complete smoothness. And change out the herbs too if you like. I have a couple of different thymes growing right by the house, so that’s what I tend to use, but I also have oregano, rosemary, marjoram, basil, tarragon, sages and sorrel in the garden- all of which would be excellent.

maftoul by food to glow

maftoul – giant, hand-rolled wholewheat couscous

Incidentally, I got my soup perfectly and creamily smooth with my new Froothie Optimum 9400 blender. Although I have a Vitamix, I must say that this new-to-the-UK, Australian high-speed blender is even easier to use, and with faster results. The diamond-sharp blade pulses, which I think makes a huge difference to how well and quickly it blends. It also reduces the amount of times one needs to stop and scrape down the sides (they include a long-handled silicone scraper). In fact I have made a few things since receiving my blender from the good people at Froothie and not had to stop and scrape once. I am sure I will with nut butter though. 😉

I will give a proper review soon – once I put it through its paces. In the meantime I will entice you a little with the fact that although the Optimum 9400 is about half the price of a Vitamix (the top high-speed blender in the UK) the Optimum 9400 is more powerful: 1492 watts for the Vitamix Pro 500 versus 2238 for the Optimum 9400. See the comparison chart here. Both gadgets are great and a boon to the home cook, but so far the Froothie has the edge.

Look out also for recipes using my new Optimum 400 Slow Juicer. Although I will mainly be posting these in my cancer nutrition pages I will also pop some of the recipes here too. Coming soon. 🙂

Disclaimer: I was sent a Froothie Optimum 9400 to use and review but like other Froothie users I love mine and am starting to use it for loads of quick and simple recipes. I am not obliged to give a positive review but one will be coming anyway! It’s quite simply a great machine.

intense tomato soup

Simple, Intense Tomato Soup with Maftoul

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Sun-ripened, summer tomatoes are, of course, best. But insipid, hothouse tomatoes will perk up no end with a spell in the oven. Chuck a couple of halved and deseeded peppers or a sliced fennel bulb onto the baking tray too, if you like. Add a little more stock if you add more veg.

I’ve included maftoul – wholegrain, giant couscous – for added heft and a little chew. However, it goes without saying that straight from the blender is heavenly.

Note: I used ‘ordinary’ tomatoes but heirloom (i.e. not hybridised) are well-known for being especially tasty – and good for agriculture. Find them at farmer’s markets.

1.5kg (3 lbs) ripe tomatoes, halved, quartered or in sixths, depending on size

6 garlic cloves, skin on

1 ½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves or a several sprigs of fresh thyme (lemon thyme is especially lovely)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp maple syrup (optional, but really complements the roasted tomatoes)

1 tbsp fennel seeds

700ml hot light vegetable stock, or hot water

45g (1/3 cup) maftoul, couscous or freekeh

Optional: diced avocado (as croutons) and extra herbs and evoo

Special equipment: high-speed blender such as Froothie’s Optimum 9400 (not absolutely necessary but will make the most velvety-smooth soup)

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F.

2. Pop the tomatoes, garlic, thyme leaves, oil, maple syrup and fennel seeds into a large bowl and mix gently; slide onto two baking trays. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes.

3. Slit the garlic skins and pop out the sticky, gorgeous garlic; discard the skins. Use a silicone spatula/wooden spoon to slide everything into the blender jug, making sure to scrape in all the gooey juices.

4. Add about one-third of the hot stock and secure the blender lid. Blitz until the soup is completely smooth. Add in the remaining stock and blend. If you aren’t adding any uncooked grains, the soup is ready to eat!

intense roast tomato soup

tomato soup, pre-stock. See how smooth it is?

5. Pour the blended tomato soup into a medium saucepan and heat until just boiling; add the maftoul/couscous/freekeh. Return to the boil then turn down the heat. Simmer until the grains are just done (time depends on which grain you use). Serve.

Note 1 : if you don’t have a high-speed blender or food processor, I would grind the fennel seeds, adding the thyme leaves only when blending the roasted ingredients. Hand blenders work pretty well; better than food processors for something like this.

Note 2: This makes a fantastic pasta sauce and baked fish/chicken sauce, too. Just leave out the stock and the grains.

roast tomato soup by food to glow

roast tomato soup by food to glowA few other vegetarian and vegan soups on food to glow (more in Index):  ‘Creamy’ Broccoli and Basil Soup with Wonton TwistsFreekeh and Greens SoupLove Your Greens SoupLemony Broccoli, Leek and Tarragon Soup; Butternut Squash and Tofu Curry Laksa.

 Other vegetarian soups to try:

Cook Sister: Runner Bean Soup

Franglais Kitchen: Butternut Squash Soup with Garlic Crostini and Parmesan  

Greedy Gourmet: Courgette and Avocado Pear Soup

Tinned Tomatoes: Madras Curried Tomato Soup

Fab Food 4 All: Tomato, Carrot and Dill Soup

A Mummy Too: Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup

The Botanical Baker: Courgette Soup with Feta, Parsley and Cumin Gremolata

Popping this very seasonal soup over to Sally at My Custard Pie,who is hosting Simple and In Season for Ren Behan who has just had a baby! And also over to Shaheen’s very new link up, A2K’s The Vegetable Palette, featuring seasonal vegetarian recipes with – this month – ‘summer reds’ as the theme.

111 thoughts on “A Simple, Intense Tomato Soup with Maftoul

  1. Jackie armstrong says:

    Can’t beat a bowl of kellie’ s home made tomato soup, beautiful, will need try with cous cous, and as for tomatoes I could pick at them all day long .

    1. Thank you Jackie! You have had some of my soup, I know! Glad you are a fellow tomato fiend. Enjoy the sunshine. Perfect weather for tomatoes 😉

  2. chefkim1968 says:

    What beautiful pics! And delicious looking recipe. I will have to try. Need to look for this maftoul

    1. Where are you, Kim? If you are in the UK any M&S food hall will have this particular brand (it is very good). Other maftouls (calling it giant couscous) are from Merchant Gourmet brand. And I have seen others but can’t remember their names. I hope you find it 🙂

      1. chefkim1968 says:

        Thanks Kelly.
        I’m in Canada…..there is a large variety here named israeli couscous. I will try that

      2. It will likely be the same type of thing. The Israeli couscous I usually see (not speaking for all such couscouses) is not wholegrain but any nice chancy couscous is lovely. Plenty of goodness and fibre in the soup without the wholegrain version

  3. Yum, yum….now I know what to do with my forthcoming tomato glut 🙂
    Love the look of that Greedy Gourmet soup too….I picked my first courgettes today!

    1. Yay! Yellow ones? The soup I did with the ones you gave me last year is one of my most popular soups – Creamy Zucchini, Walnut and Lemon Thyme (vegan – no actual cream). You grow such gorgeous produce 🙂

  4. Can’t wait to make this adding the peppers as you suggest and a whole bunch of basil

  5. Wren says:

    My kind of soup! Where can I find maftoul?

    1. Thanks! Read my reply to ChefKim1968 for hints! If you are not in the UK then I”m not sure. Any good health food store and certainly Middle Eastern shops will have it.

  6. platedujour says:

    This soup looks delicious and I’m sure it’s yummy, we love tomatoes at home and I usually have them with my avocado treat in the evenings- this is on many occasions my dinner- avocado and tomatoes with some bread, and I can’t imagine that people do not eat tomatoes 🙂 I will try this recipe for sure, tomato soup is one of the nicest memories from my childhood too. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi! You are describing a frequent breakfast of mine 😉 Avocado and tomatoes – living and thriving in the same temperatures – are perfect partners. I can’t imaging not liking tomatoes either, but someone I know (you know who you are, Jamie) hates them but did try them once to make me happy.

  7. Bernice says:

    I love tomato soup! Sounds like a good recipe.

  8. Camilla says:

    What gorgeous soup and souperb pictures:-) Thank ypu for linking to my Tomato, Carrot & Dill Soup:-)

  9. Sounds delicious! I love eating tomatoes like candy too. One of my favourite snacks.

  10. In-season tomatoes are like candy! Especially when they are grown in your garden (or in my case – my neighbors!). Great soup 🙂

    1. I’m still buying mine right now, but hopefully I will have a few to pick soon. A friend at work (she commented earlier – Seonaid) often brings some in for me and I hope to get some from her soon. But home/friend grown ones I would definitely eat on their own. Like candy. 😉

  11. narf77 says:

    I had read about maftoul before but had no idea what it was. I thought it was a spice, but wholewheat couscous? I am in! Now I just have to find out where to get it in regional Northern Tasmania ;). I almost fell off my chair when I saw the price of those tomatoes but remembering how short your Scottish summer season is, I guess they are like gold ;). I complain about having to pay $3 a kilo here but we aren’t all that far behind you in short seasons. I never liked tomato soup as a kid. I HATED tinned tomato soup and couldn’t see the point in putting it into my mouth when it was just going to be spit back out ;). I haven’t tried making tomato soup but roasting the tomatoes and creating a smoky intense slightly charred flavour intrigues me. I won’t be attempting it till a bit later on in the year when tomatoes are not rivaling those eight pound beauties in your gorgeous image 😉

    1. The funny thing is Fran, I took those pictures last year, so goodness knows what the price for those types of fancy tomatoes are now! Right now even ordinary tomatoes are good – and cheaper. My home-grown ones aren’t quite tomatoes yet. Just dropped their flowers so a ways to go before I can just go out and pluck and eat.

      Like I said in the post, roasting will liven up even insipid hothouse tomatoes, so if you ever encounter s basket of free tomatoes (it could happen!) whack them in Brunhilda and away you go!

      1. narf77 says:

        I am planning on growing lots of them this year and am in the process of prepping the soil (using wood ash and crushed egg shells) to make sure that our acidic soil doesn’t take a toll like it did last year (blossom end rot on all of our zukes). I am not sure that a tray of oven roasted tomatoes would make it to soup, I reckon they would all drop onto slices of toasted garlic bruschetta to be honest…slippery little buggers aren’t they? 😉

      2. :-)) Bruschetta is awesome. That’s given me the idea of floating (hah) little thin croutes with tiny diced tomatoes onboard. They would sink I suppose, but I like the mental image.

      3. narf77 says:

        Sort of like “Titanic” on a smaller scale 😉

      4. And a starring cast that works for free 🙂

      5. narf77 says:

        And that you can eat! Win-win all around. If James Cameron could have eaten Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet when they had finished their shoots what an amazing profit he would have made! 😉

      6. You are at it again. Making me laugh 🙂

  12. I’m so glad to see you using the Zaytoun Fairtrade Maftoul. I wrote a whole blog piece about the importance of supporting agriculture, food, and hope in Palestine. This looks like a great recipe, and the Mafouls as a kind of garnish. Thank you!

    1. Hi there. Thank you for your comment and, I hope, approval.I will go and properly read your post as it sounds important. Btw,the maftoul is in the soup, as well as being a garnish. It is lovely stuff. I think Moon Valley za’atar is great too 🙂

  13. shaheen says:

    What a stunner. PS You’ve reminded me to use up my packets of Maftoul too.

  14. Kavey says:

    Really beautiful looking soup — I eat tomatoes like candy too, fresh off the plants!

  15. You are always teaching me something Kellie. I have never heard of maftoul until today. I used to despise tomatoes as a youngster, but can’t get enough of them now. And I love all the different varieties available now. The soup looks delicious.

    1. Thank you, Stuart. That’s really sweet of you to say. Maftoul is fantastic in chopped vegetable salads too. I love the texture. It somehow seems a bit fancy when actually it is pretty humble stuff. I think I first encountered it (probably not wholegrain) in an M&S salad a few years ago. I was hooked.

  16. Beautiful! And I haven’t tried maftoul but I shall certainly do so now.

  17. I love the idea of roasting the tomatoes to bring out the sweetness. We make a tomato sauce with a similar method. Lovely flavours.

  18. Deena Kakaya says:

    People seriously show uncertainty about possibly the most romantic red food possible? Well . Roasting them almost sends me over the edge and your timing is perfect; you know my hubby travels lots as part of his work… This bowl of pretty and seasonal comfort will cuddle me through I reckon. This is the sort of dish that will work my ‘for one ‘ meals and the giant (I love most foods in giant form) will give me that much needed fuel x

    1. It is a perfect soup for one or two servings as you just whack it in your blender and add as much or as little stock as you fancy. Maftoul is a tasty bonus addition.

  19. allsfare says:

    This sounds delicious! Since tomatoes are in peak in these warm weather days I don’t ever think of making soup with them. I’m gonna have to try this.

  20. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:


  21. Looks and sounds delicious! Can’t wait to get my hands on some perfect heirloom tomatoes when they come in season. Can I ask where you got that gorgeous bowl & spoon – they’re gorgeous!

    1. The bowl is a few year’s old from Anthropologie, and the spoon is one I’ve had for ages! Probs from MIL’s house. An old one for sure.

  22. What a beautiful soup! Wonderful colour! I like roasting my vegetables when preparing soups, and I will try this recipe 🙂

  23. gorgeous!

  24. I made the mistake of reading this before bed…now I’m starving and NEED this soup 🙂 It looks so wonderful!

    1. Thank you. Very sweet of you to say so. I try and never read food blogs before bedtime. Or at least have an oatcake near by to nibble. Or tomatoes 😉

  25. Ah, my food twin, I too snack on cherry tomatoes, any time of day, all year round! There always a bowl of them on my kitchen counter, best out of the fridge, at room temperature 🙂 I snack on whole sugar snap peas too 🙂

    1. And yes, of course, sugar snaps are another favourite snack! What are we like?!

      1. Super healthy foodies!!

      2. Most of the time (me) 😉 We had beautiful fish and chips last week in PIttenweem. All the more lovely for being kinda rare for us. Now it’s back to kale and tomatoes!

      3. Hee hee 🙂 even though I’ve had no kitchen for 2.5 weeks and counting now, I’ve still be doing okay which I’m pleased about. I haven’t had a cooked meal for all that time though!!

  26. Oh my god I want to drown in that bowl of soup

    1. Oh gah – don’t do that! But I’m glad you like it 🙂

  27. hoytapeo says:

    It looks delicious!! Such a nice recipe! Indeed I will cook it!

  28. Only a few more months until Summer and then I’m definitely giving this one a go!

    1. Summer is only here for a few short months so we are making the most of it! Enjoy your cool weather, Brendon. 😉

  29. justaboutveg says:

    Looks like summer in a bowl. Love the idea of using maple syrup!

  30. It looks gorgeous and now I know what maftoul is. I am now craving toast tomatoes! Thanks for linking to me.

  31. Sally says:

    We are tomato fiends in our house so no eye-rolling from me.

  32. It is hard to beat a really good tomato soup. And I absolutely love the maftoul and avocado in yours! In the US we have Israeli couscous. If it’s whole grain do you think it’s basically the same thing as maftoul, disguised under a different name?

    1. Yes, Katie. We tend to get the Palestinian brands but, despite the massive political differences, many similar food traditions and foods. The maftoul/Israeli couscous is really gorgeous and ‘feely’ in this. The avocado was initially as a colour contrast for the photos but it actually a perfect fit. The soup is thick enough to float them. Thanks for stopping by, Katie. 🙂

  33. I have never ever had roasted tomato soup although I have had lots of roasted tomatoes. The flavour is so much more intense right? Would love to try this.

  34. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, however from the number of comments, I’d say your blog didn’t need the boost.

  35. kirizar says:

    I thoroughly concur. Itty bitty tomatoes are like candy. And like candy, I have managed to eat an entire container in one sitting.

    1. kirizar says:

      Oh, and I forgot to ask, you don’t skin the tomatoes before making the soup? Or did I miss reading that step?

      1. Thanks for your question. When blitzing in a high speed blender all is rendered as smooth as silk, but hand blender gives very good results too. If one had low-fibre needs, then skinning would still be necessary. Lots of goodness in those skins!

      2. kirizar says:

        Thanks. I’ve never made tomato soup. When winter hits like Thor’s hammer, I’ll keep this in mind.

  36. herman254 says:

    Reblogged this on Safiri Kenya and commented:
    The type that I great in Kenyan resorts

  37. photoec says:

    I like you blog, can you view my blog. Thank you 🙂

  38. Reblogged this on GIANLUCA'S WORLD.

  39. Yum! Great for a cold day.

    1. Tomato soups are food for the soul!

  40. Sabrina Lobo says:

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  41. I love tomatoes! These are great recipes.. nom.nom.. ^_^

  42. susipet says:


  43. very very nice….I’ve read it thoroughly…it is really nice…
    Do you know silence is the biggest truth…
    Wanna know how???

  44. Debbie says:

    Reblogged this on More to Midlife and commented:
    What a wonderful meal! I’m sure it will freeze well too. Cooking for one or two people can be challenging. Soups are perfect for that. Also, Autumn will be here eventually and soup is a great comfort food!

  45. Alyssa says:

    This looks wonderful! I can’t wait to give it a try. Soup is my absolute favorite food.

  46. appslotus says:

    Reblogged this on Apps Lotus's Blog.

  47. delicious…i love tomatoes….the tang, the juiciness, the sweetness…aah these succulent plush tomatoes….cant live without them….lovely recipe…thanks for sharing this and the other alternates too….

    1. Thank you for your poetic comment!

  48. Now that looks to go onto my to be made list!

  49. Until recently I’ve never been keen on tomato soup, now I’ve started making my own soups your recipe seems perfect although I always have problems with acidity for tomato soup so I’ll give yours a try.

  50. karstensteph says:

    Reblogged this on karstenskorner and commented:
    I am reposting so I make it SOON! It sounds absolutely delectable!

  51. blonanil says:

    Great Post – Loved it .

  52. shambhavi31 says:

    Will definitely try it 🙂

  53. It’s a great recipe! I have to taste!

  54. atv333 says:

    Awesome..I adore your style of presentation..

  55. Such gorgeous photography. Beautiful work 🙂

  56. This looks really delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  57. I love this soup and the added texture of the maftoul works to lift this soup into something very special. The flavour of orated tomatoes is unbeatable, especially at this time of the year. Pleased you are loving your Froothie, sounds like a top gadget to invest in!

  58. Shen.Hart says:

    This sounds absolutely amazing, I look forward to trying it!

  59. Yummmm! Looks easy and delicious. I’ve been playing with blender soups lately too, trying to perfect a gazpacho recipe. I’ve got a beast of a blender that can handle most things I throw at it (Kitchen Aid) but I admit to still having Vitamix envy, so this Froothie intrigues me. Oh, and thanks for reminding me about whole wheat Israeli cous cous! It’s something I’ve never found in Sweden (along with whole wheat orzo) so is on my list of things to schlepp back from Canada this trip!

  60. leahrennes says:

    I eat tomatoes like candy too. With lots of salt on them. YUM!

  61. Shannon says:

    Step away from blogging a few weeks, and look who gets FP’d? Makes me smile, Kellie. You already know that I think ALL your recipes are worth the world’s eye. Congrats, Lovely Lady. Enjoy as your stats roar!

  62. I’ve also made tomato soup this week, but YOURS look so much more yummier!!! that avo, oh my!

  63. It sounds like you’re having a perfect tomato love affair. Great recipe, looking forward to cooking this for my family and friends!

  64. This looks great! I’m going to try and do a gluten-free version with brown rice!

  65. JuYogi says:

    Tomato soup is always a good idea! One of my favourite soups!! 🙂

  66. I can’t stand eating tomatoes, but this soup looks so delicious that I’m actually really tempted to try it. 😛

  67. Amanda Alice says:

    Yum! Looks delicious. I adore tomatoes, and this looks so amazing I will have to try it!

  68. I want this please!

  69. ccmaplesyrup says:

    The colours on this are so vibrant, I love love love it!

  70. lauren says:

    I’ve never made maftoul but I’m pretty inspired. Thanks for sharing!

  71. Sally says:

    Thanks for sending this to Simple and in Season. The round up is up (finally!)

  72. Thought Maftoul was a Disney villain. I’m going to try this, looks delicious!

  73. premojas says:

    Reblogged this on Dear Beloveds.

  74. Gorgeousness. Sheer and utter gorgeousness. Love your blog!
    The Man Who Ate STL.

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