Pic of Fresh tomato soup with tapenade toast

Fresh tomato soup with tapenade toast

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Vegetarian mains

Fresh tomato soup with tapenade toast

Soup Serves 3 1h 40 min
A vegetarian, dairy-free summer soup thickened with a light cornflour. This is both light and comforting – a very good dish for unpredictable English summers. Salty black olive tapenade on toast balances out the sweetness of the slow-cooked tomatoes, turning this into a complete meal.

Cook's notes

If you like, you could add a swirl of cream or crème fraîche to this to make a cream of tomato, but I like the fresh flavour as it is. Tomato soup can be quite sweet, so the salty tapenade is a good foil. This will make more tapenade than you will need, but it's not worth making less, and it's very moreish anyway!



  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying, e.g. vegetable or sunflower
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 480g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 600ml veg stock
  • slices of ciabatta, griddled or toasted

for the tapenade

  • 1 pack black kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 tbsp capers, soaked in a small bowl of water for 20 mins, then drained
  • 2 anchovies
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • leaves from 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped, plus more
  • juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
  • about 5 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 1h 25 min


  • Step 1

    Fry the onion gently in oil in a large pan for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomato purée and vinegar. Stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Make the tapenade

  • Step 1

    it's easiest to blitz the olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and thyme in a food processor, then add the parsley, lemon juice and just enough oil to make a rough paste. Season to taste (you'll need little or no salt).
  • Step 2

    Blend the soup in a processor until smooth. Strain through a sieve, then return to the pan. Mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water to make a paste. Add to the soup, with the bay leaf and stock. Season, then simmer for 15 minutes. Check the seasoning.
  • Step 3

    Spread a little tapenade onto toasted ciabatta, sprinkle over a little extra parsley, then serve with the soup.

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