Cookshare: Tomato Soup with Peanut Butter & Basil

tomato soup with peanut butter and basil

A Taste—Both Exotic and Familiar—in the Same Spoonful.

As a child growing up in the 50’s, a bowl of cream of tomato soup along with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was my favorite lunch; especially when dunking a corner of the sandwich into the soup before it went down the hatch.

A great memory back then was making a snow fort after a heavy snow fall and sitting inside with my brother. Then—as if by magic—the queen of the snow fort handed us a bag of sandwiches and a thermos of soup. In the quietude within the whiteness, dunking and slurping our favorite lunch became a sublime experience.

Many decades later I was playing around my teaching kitchen and that memory popped up while making a tomato-basil bisque. What if I put peanut butter into recipe?

Dear reader, you must come back with me into our snow fort.


Simple ingredients for tomato soup with peanut butter and basil
Simple ingredients for tomato soup with peanut butter and basil

 olive oil                          2 TBS.

onion                              1 cup            (1 small), diced

garlic, fresh                   4 tsp.            (3 large cloves), minced

tomatoes, peeled*      2 cans          28 ounce total

sea salt                           1 tsp.

soy sauce                       2 TBS.

peanut butter               1/4 cup        creamy style

milk, whole                   1 cup            or substitute


fresh basil                      2 TBS.           chopped

  • I have used in-season tomatoes, canned, peeled whole tomatoes or canned sauce. If using vine ripened, see below for technique to prepare. I recommend using a high speed blender to create an ultra-smooth soup.


 1– Prepare the garlic and onion.

2– Soften them in a soup pot with the oil, about 3-5 minutes.

3– Stir in the tomatoes with their liquid, salt, and soy sauce; bring to simmer, partially cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Reserve the peanut butter and milk until next step.

The first step of this tomato soup recipe is to simmer the tomatoes with soy sauce and salt
First the tomatoes, soy sauce and salt simmer for 20 – 25 minutes

4– Draw off a little of the soup and stir in the peanut butter then add back to the soup along with the milk. Simmer for a few minutes more. Don’t bring to boil.

tomato soup simmering with added peanut butter and milk
tomato soup simmering with added peanut butter and milk

5– Puree the soup, or pass through a fine sieve to yield a creamy consistency.

6– Serve garnished with chopped, fresh basil.

tomato soup with peanut butter and basil
Tomato Soup with peanut butter and basil

MASTERY EN PLACE: Canned Tomatoes Better Than Fresh?

As the farm to market movement resurges, it has been assumed that fresh produce is better than canned or frozen. But if you ask the chefs, many prefer canned due to the much improved flash preserving now available. Produce can literally be processed in the field at the height of ripeness. Chefs Tom Douglas and Mario Batali prefer canned tomatoes, especially if out of season, which is usually the longest stretch of the year. When there is a sale and you are familiar with a brand, it’s a good idea to buy in bulk and enjoy a steady supply of just-picked and preserved. Chef Douglas will first buy a single can and test before buying in volume.

When my own vine ripened tomatoes are in over supply, it’s convenient to cook them down and preserve. Here’s how: slice a shallow X through the blossom end of the tomatoes and drop them into barely simmering water for about 30-40 seconds. Remove and then use a knife to pull at and peel off the skins. Chop the tomatoes and sauté in olive with a bit of salt until softened, about 15 minutes. Cool and place in freezer bags and freeze.


“In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything. It is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” –  Shunryu Suzuki

Bill Hettig

Bill Hettig is a self-trained cooking instructor, author, and lecturer for the past 25 years. He offered a whole foods based series at health food stores and his home-based classroom in Winter Park, FL. In 1991 he created a device that ferments vegetables in common canning jars that became a company selling the Perfect Pickler around the world. Bill is retired and does occasional workshops and lectures. He currently resides in Central Florida and Western New York. He blogs on gardening and cooking tips in a sharing economy.

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