Spicy Roasted Vine Tomato and Red Onion Soup
This spicy roasted vine tomato and red onion soup will warm your cockles on a dark autumnal evening. It’s quick (from start to finish, it is ready in well under an hour), economical and so simple. It will become a household favorite from the first spoonful.
As the weather cools, my want for soup increases. I am not a fan of autumn, and that’s mainly because I enjoy light, summer evenings. However, I love autumnal colours: deep orange, dark yellow, and vibrant red, especially in my food at this time of year.
As the dark nights draw in though, the desire to cook food in the evening, especially after a long day, is often sadly lacking. This delicious, filling soup will put a smile on your face, with minimum effort. Chuck everything in a baking tray, liberally apply olive oil, and let it work its magic. To finish, add a sloshing of cream and stock, and it’s dinner time before you know it.
Do I need to roast the vegetables?
The simple answer is, no. I understand why roasting vegetables might seem like an extra step, especially when you need to use a pan to bring all the other ingredients together at the end.
However, popping them in the oven will set off a caramelization process, enhancing and deepening the flavours of the onion and tomatoes. For soup, this caramelization process is a step I don’t like to omit. This is especially true when it is vegetable soup, and you can’t rely on any meat juices to big up the taste. Roasting tomatoes causes them to shrink, concentrating all that deliciousness and bringing out a sweeter side. The sweetness doesn’t stop with the tomatoes, either: the onions also take on a milder, sweeter flavour when roasted.
Another reason why roasting vegetables is great for soups is that they are easily blended when cooked. The tomatoes in this dish release juices when roasted that mix with the olive oil. This helps to achieve a lovely, thick puree.
What are vine tomatoes?
Vine tomatoes are smaller tomatoes that grow on a stem. There are many varieties including cocktail tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes and plum tomatoes. I only buy vine tomatoes, and I use them for everything (even sliced up in sandwiches and on my pizzas). I usually grab tomatoes still on the vine because they are so pretty (and look great in photos), but also because of how earthy they smell. The gorgeous scent from vine tomatoes comes from the vine itself and not the tomatoes.
Vine tomatoes are great in soups because they are more flavourful. I often find larger tomatoes dull and tasteless, but this is not true with vine tomatoes. They also bring a depth of colour (and remain that way even after cooking).
Do you know your onions?
I love that I have a reader base that spans the globe. However, having transatlantic followers does cause some confusion for me at times. For example, the humble onion. So I thought it might be helpful to give a little guide on not only different onions, what they are used for, but also what they are referred to in the USA and UK.
- Red onion
We will start off with an easy one. These are my favorite onions, and it seems that most countries refer to them as red, even though they are purple. Red onions in salads and dips work so well because they have a milder, sweeter flavour.
I also love how colourful they are in food. Although they faded a little when cooked for this roasted vine tomato and red onion soup, they were still really pretty. I particularly love red onions in my bread (see further in the post for some recipe ideas).
- Brown / Yellow onion
Here’s where things veer off track a little, and confusion begins to arise. Although I’ve written brown, we don’t call them anything other than just onions in the UK. If we say onion, this is what we are referring to. The picture below shows both red and “normal” onions:
However, in the US, they call them yellow. I love it. But why, when they are obviously brown? My guess is that the name doesn’t refer to the skin at all, but the flesh inside. These onions are a staple in cooking, and with their more pungent, intense flavour, are great in cooked food
- Green onions / Scallions / Spring onions
Ah, now we’re getting to the really confusing part. Green onions and scallions are the same thing, and the terms are used interchangeably in North America. They have long, thin green leaves and a small white tip (often with roots). They have no bulb.
Spring onions are something else entirely. The leaves are similar, but they have quite a large bulb. Spring onions are simply immature onions that are harvested early. The problem is, in the UK, we usually band all small onions with a long green leaves together and just call them spring onions.
Spring onions can also have different coloured bulbs. I used some beautiful purple spring onions when I made my salmon pasta salad:
Shallots are the onions fancy chefs use. Seriously though, they are popular in certain quarters because they have an unassuming, milder taste. Although shallots are similar to regular onions (they can have both brown and purple skin) they are much smaller and more elongated. I have used them many times when making onion soup, but can’t say I have notice any discernible difference between them and regular onions.
What can I serve with soup?
Bread, bread, and more bread. Of course. Seriously, though, part of the comfort of soup is the dunking of bread. And if you’re looking for bread recipes, you’ve come to the right place. If you want to keep it a little healthier, how about a no fuss, wholemeal soda bread with caraway, or a Swedish seeded rye bread? Perhaps you prefer a soft bread, so would enjoy my super soft spelt buns.
Can I make this soup to feed more people?
This roasted vine tomato and red onion soup will not feed the five thousand, but it is enough for two. Especially if you add some delicious bread (actually, is there anyone who actually eats soup without bread?). Or, you could eat it with a sandwich or serve waffles for pudding, like we used to do when my kids were little.
It’s definitely a small batch soup, but can easily be adapted to feed more people. Simple double (or triple) all of the ingredients, using the exact same process.
This spicy roasted vine tomato and red onion soup is spiced with red chillies. It is comfort food at its finest, and will certainly take away the winter blues, for a short while, anyway.
Spicy Roasted Vine Tomato and Red Onion Soup
- 500g (17½ oz) mixed vine tomatoes (sliced)
- 2 red onions (sliced)
- 3 small red chillis (finely chopped)
- handful fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
- salt and pepper (to personal taste)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 200ml (⅚ cup / 6¾ oz) cream
- 200ml (⅚ cup / 6¾ oz) stock
- Pre-heat the oven to 200℃ / 400℉.
- Add the tomatoes, onions, chilies and parsley to a baking dish and liberally sprinkle with olive oil.
- Cook for around 25-30 minutes, just until the vegetables have softened (if you leave them in the oven for too long, you will evaporate the juices, which help flavour the soup).
- Blitz in soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Add to a pan along with the stock and cream. Taste and add more seasoning if required.
- Bring to the boil and serve immediately.
- Sprinkle over some fresh herbs, if you like (I ripped a few stalks of parsley), and serve with some warm bread.