This cold tomato soup is so refreshing and ridiculously easy to make. Prep time is just 15 minutes, and then it needs to chill in the fridge.
You can serve it as a tasty appetizer, but a bowl of it also works well as a light summertime lunch.
This refreshing soup is so good. It's wonderfully creamy. It has a mild sweetness from the tomatoes and a slight tang from the buttermilk, and the basil greatly enhances it.
Unlike the Spanish gazpacho, this cold tomato soup has more of an Italian flavor profile. It is smoother and creamier. Both are very good, but this one is easier to make.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty soup. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh basil: The basil is a really important ingredient in this soup so you really shouldn't skip it.
Minced garlic: It's best to use freshly minced garlic in this recipe rather than jarred minced garlic.
Extra virgin olive oil: My favorite oil! It's so flavorful. Definitely use high-quality oil here - it makes a difference.
Canned tomatoes: The brands I recommend are either Pomi strained tomatoes or Cento canned tomato puree.
Buttermilk: Full-fat or low-fat, both work. Low-fat is easier to find in supermarkets, so that's what I tend to use.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the soup could end up too salty.
Making this cold tomato soup is so easy! The food processor does all the work. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by placing basil, garlic, and olive oil in your food processor bowl. Process them into a paste.
Now, add the tomatoes, buttermilk, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth.
That's it! The soup is ready. All that's left to do is to chill it before serving.
One of the things that make this soup so easy is that it's made with canned tomatoes.
I highly recommend that you use the brand I linked to below in the recipe card - Pomi tomatoes. This is an Italian brand and it's notably sweeter and milder than local canned tomatoes, which tend to have an acidic aftertaste.
You can find Pomi tomatoes on Amazon, at Whole Foods, and in a growing number of supermarkets around the country.
Another good Italian brand that's easier to find in supermarkets is Cento - you can use their tomato puree in this recipe.
If you end up using an American brand, taste the soup and see if the acidity of the tomatoes needs to be balanced out with a sweetener.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! It's so much better after spending a couple of hours in the fridge. Not just because it's cold, but also because the flavors have had a chance to meld.
I don't recommend that. Fresh basil is such an integral part of this soup's flavor profile, that you should only make this recipe if you have fresh basil on hand.
No, that's not a good idea. If you'd like to make a hot soup, I suggest you use this tomato soup recipe.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can use heavy cream instead of buttermilk. I do like the texture and tang that buttermilk adds, though. But heavy cream is an option.
- Another option is to use canned coconut milk. It will change the flavor profile, but it should work in terms of texture. If you go this route, make sure to use full-fat coconut milk and stir the milk well before using it.
- Add spices such as paprika, ground cumin, and cayenne.
This soup is excellent on its own as a first course. When I want to serve it as a main course, I like to serve it alongside any of the following:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Make sure to stir them well before serving them. I don't recommend freezing this soup.
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Cold Tomato Soup
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves (packed, 20 grams)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups Pomi strained tomatoes or canned tomato puree
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt 0r ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the basil, garlic, and olive oil in your food processor bowl. Process into a paste.
- Add the tomatoes, buttermilk, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth and well incorporated, about 1 minute, stopping if needed to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Transfer the soup to a serving bowl, cover, and chill in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.