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Garden To Table | Basil Vinaigrette and Tomato Soup

With the holiday season in full swing, we're all about simple recipes using homegrown ingredients, or as we like to call it - Garden To Table.

Using our end of season basil, this vinaigrette will make you swear off store bought versions. And the tomato soup recipe is the perfect comfort food, especially when you add a grilled cheese sandwich.

homegrown basil recipes Vickie McDermott-Rupp

Basil Vinaigrette

Fresh basil and just a bit of garlic are whirled into a simple fresh basil vinaigrette in this easy recipe. It's perfect on tomatoes, salad greens, grilled meats, or salmon, and is a no-brainer way to use an extra haul of basil from the farmers market or your own kitchen garden.


2 cups basil leaves (about 1 large bunch)

1 small clove garlic

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or champagne vinegar)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Dash sea salt (to taste)

Dash pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

Gather the ingredients.

Rinse the basil leaves and pat them thoroughly dry.

Peel and mince the garlic.

Put the garlic and vinegar in a blender or food processor. Whirl until the garlic is thoroughly pureed into the vinegar.

Tear the basil leaves into pieces as you add them to the blender. Whirl to puree them into the vinegar.

With the blade whirling, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you have a smooth (and shockingly bright green!) dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

PKG Garden To Table Tips

  • Drizzle in the bright and herbaceous basil vinaigrette, adding a refreshing twist to each spoonful.

  • See below (past the recipe) for tips on prepping the basil so that you can keep this dressing green even if you want to make it ahead.

  • When tasting a dressing or sauce, add a small amount to what you're going to serve it on (lettuce leaf, etc) to get a better sense of how it will taste when served. Adjust accordingly!

  • Use relatively immediately. The green of the basil will start to fade on any part of the dressing that hits air. You can limit discoloration by covering the surface of the dressing with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface.

  • If you want to make it ahead without worrying about fading basil, simply blanch the basil first: Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Add plenty of salt to the pot and dip the basil leaves in the water for about 15 seconds. Drain the basil and quickly transfer it to the ice water. Let it cool completely, lift out of the ice water, and squeeze out any excess water.

Tomato Soup

This soup can be served as-is, with basil, or some shaved Parmesan. To make this a vegetarian soup, use vegetable broth as a base. While Roma tomatoes - also known as Italian plum tomatoes - are the best to use, any tomato will work.

You also can substitute the whipping cream for sour cream if you want to give it a little more bite.

If you want to make this recipe vegan, substitute the cream for silken tofu and whip until smooth. Using tofu may require some taste-testing to ensure the flavor is how you want it, and you probably will use less tofu than the amount of cream called for, but it should give you the same creamy texture as the traditional recipe.


1 teaspoon good-quality olive oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped (1/2 medium onion)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 pound (about 8 to 10) tomatoes quartered (preferably Roma tomatoes, see above)

2 tablespoons vodka (or tequila)

1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

1 sprig oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)

1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Dash freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil for garnish

4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, whipped (optional)

Steps to Make It

Heat 1 teaspoon good-quality olive oil in a skillet and sauté the 1/2 cup chopped onions until translucent. Add 1 clove chopped garlic and continue to sauté for a few minutes, being careful not to burn it.

Add the 1 pound of quartered tomatoes, toss in the 2 tablespoons vodka or tequila and the herbs, cover pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When tomatoes are soft, remove from stove and place contents in a blender.

Carefully place one or two hot pads on the lid of the blender and hold the lid in place while you blend the hot tomatoes for 30 seconds, or so.

Pour the sauce through a sieve over the pan, and using the back of a spoon, coax all the liquids back into the pan. This step is optional but results in a smooth and flavorful tomato soup.

Add 1 cup of chicken broth or vegetable broth, salt, and pepper to taste. Heat gently for 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and chopped basil.

Whether you're seeking a cozy and comforting meal on a chilly evening or simply craving a taste of summer, this Basil Vinaigrette and Tomato Soup is sure to satisfy your cravings. And if you're able to make this with your own garden to table ingredients, even better!

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