Spicy Tomato Soup with Garlic Cheese Bread

What could be more comforting than a warm bowl of spicy tomato soup? I’m serving mine with a side of indulgent garlic cheese bread to complete the cozy scene. It’s the simple, versatile meal that I absolutely think you need to be making right now.

Spicy Tomato Soup with Garlic Cheese Bread

If you’ve been following along this week, I’ve been sharing simple, comforting recipes like this red pepper pantry pasta and this very delicious almond cake. Recipes that aren’t complicated, but result in a uniquely flavored, completely delicious meal or treat.

And that’s exactly what I had in mind for this spicy tomato soup. It was the end of a long day in the kitchen, and something about tomato soup just sounded so good in the moment. I didn’t have a lot of ingredients left, but I had just enough to pull together this uniquely flavored soup with quite literally what I could find in my kitchen.

Staples like celery, crushed red pepper, canned tomatoes, and olives provide this soup with lots of spicy, tangy flavor. The soup itself comes together in just about 30 minutes, with the ingredients simmering in a large pot then blended until smooth and creamy. I stir in a little heavy cream at the end for a silky finish, but it’s totally optional. The topping resulted from a hodge-podge of items I found that I thought might go really well with the spicy soup. Scallions, olives, and pine nuts sauteed very quickly in some olive oil act as a really flavorful topping with loads of texture.

Spicy Tomato Soup with Garlic Cheese Bread

make this spicy tomato soup with garlic cheese bread your own…

The best part is you can modify this recipe to use exactly what you have on hand. No onion? Omit it. Or maybe use a couple shallots if you have those lying around. No fennel seeds? Throw in another spice that sounds good. No pine nuts? Any other nut would be great on top for some crunch. You can also adapt the spice to your liking by adding more or less crushed red pepper.

And of course, no spicy tomato soup would be complete without a side of extra decadent garlic bread. I’m using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic for this bread which gives it a really nostalgic, childhood taste. Lots of shredded fontina goes on top, which melts beautifully as the bread slightly crisps in the oven. Definitely don’t skip the bread…it’s too good.

I hope this inspires you to whip up a tomato soup of your own! Maybe you make it just like this, or maybe you sub in ingredients that work for you. Either way, grab a blanket and cozy up on the couch with a comforting bowl of tomato soup soon.


Spicy Tomato Soup with Garlic Cheese Bread

Spicy Tomato Soup with Garlic Cheese Bread

a simple, versatile spicy tomato soup with a side of very indulgent garlic cheese bread

servings: 4-6

  • Author: Kayla Howey



Spicy Tomato Soup

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed red pepper (or more if you like lots of spice)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 (28-oz) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 qt water
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (optional) 

for the topping…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup diced castelvetrano olives 
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • pinch crushed red pepper

Garlic Cheese Bread

  • 68 (½”) slices french bread
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ lb fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 ½ oz per slice)


Spicy Tomato Soup

  1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and celery. Season with a good pinch of salt. Saute for about 6-8 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized, stirring often. 
  2. Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper, and fennel seeds. Let cook for another minute. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and water. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Meanwhile, for the topping, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add the scallions and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple of minutes. Stir in the olives, pine nuts, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Let cook for another minute or so until the pine nuts are toasted. Remove from the heat and reserve.
  4. Transfer the soup to a blender (working in batches if needed). Blend for 90 seconds until smooth and creamy. Transfer the soup to a large bowl or back to the pot. Stir in the heavy cream (optional). Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning to your liking. 
  5. Serve the soup warm with a spoonful of the topping and a pinch of any fresh greens/herbs you have on hand if you’d like (I used watercress). Serve with the garlic cheese bread (recipe below) alongside. 

Garlic Cheese Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the slices of bread onto a sheet pan. 
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the garlic powder and salt. Brush the butter mixture generously onto each slice of bread. Distribute the fontina cheese evenly over top. 
  3. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisp.

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Spicy Tomato Soup with Garlic Cheese Bread

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