Tomato Bread Soup

Enjoy this classic Italian soup recipe from some of the simplest ingredients. The bread cubes swell up like fat dumplings—think Italian matzo ball soup! In Italy they sometimes call it “bread gnocchi.” The basil is your best friend in this dish, so do not leave it out.


  • 3 cups day-old crusty bread*, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds very ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • PREP TIME 10
  • COOK TIME 20
  • Serves 6


  1. In a large pot, add onion and cook it in water, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper, if using, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until they begin to break down and release their liquid, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then add bread and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until bread is soft and soup thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Turn off heat and season to taste. Distribute into soup bowls and garnish with basil.

*Gluten-free bread can be used as a substitute.

Copyright © 2014 by Chloe Coscarelli from CHLOE’S VEGAN ITALIAN KITCHEN published by Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Inc. Photography by Teri Lyn Fisher