Tomato bread soup

Tomato Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

With all of the bread baking I did last week, I wanted to find interesting ways to use some of it. Both loaves were too tough for me to eat as regular sandwiches (but the 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Hearth Bread made wonderful tartine-style sandwiches grilled in the skillet with pesto and sharp white cheddar on top).

I ran across this Tomato Bread Soup recipe, and since it’s gotten chilly here over the last few days, it’s perfect timing for some warm soup that’s somehow both hearty and light at the same time.

I’ve made tomato bread soup before but it was quite bland compared to this batch. Using fresh basil basil made it delicious. And sauteeing the bread cubes (made from my 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Hearth Bread and 2.5-lb Miche) in olive oil with some of the fresh basil and a bit of pepper was a key step to the process. I’m tempted to make a bunch of croutons from the rest of the Miche — I could not get over how good they tasted.

For such a basic-sounding soup, this was surprisingly full of flavor. I had read not to use sourdough bread in a soup like this, but I’m glad I didn’t listen to that advice — this was so good. I just wish I had made twice as much!

Tomato Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

Adapted from Mary Ann Esposito’s Tomato Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

Makes 2 generous bowls.


  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6-8 tbls olive oil, divided
  • 1 white/brown onion, diced
  • 6-8 basil leaves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used 1 1/2 tsp of this mix + 1 1/2 cups water)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed bread (I used homemade whole wheat sourdough bread)


  1. Puree the diced tomatoes (include the liquid in the can) until smooth. Strain out the seeds and pulp using a spoon or spatula and mesh strainer. Discard the seeds and pulp and set the liquid aside to add to the soup.
  2. In a medium sauce pan or Dutch oven, saute the onion in half of the olive oil over medium heat until softened.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the rest of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and half of basil to the skillet and toss around to coat. Cook until the bread starts to get lightly browned, stirring often. Add some black pepper to taste.
  4. Add the rest of the basil to the onion and stir, continuing to cook (5-10 minutes total).
  5. Once the bread cubes are done, remove them from the pan and set on paper-towel lined tray to drain any excess oil off.
  6. Stir in the broth, tomato juice, and salt and pepper to taste. My vegetable broth mix already has salt in it, so I didn’t need additional salt. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove soup from heat and stir in bread cubes. Cover pan and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve, topped with some shredded Parmesan if desired.