Tomato Soup With Za’atar & Halloumi Cheese Croutons
This Tomato Soup With Za’atar and Halloumi Croutons has become a favorite soup around here, even being referred to as “the best tomato soup ever.” This is a quick and easy low carb, keto tomato soup which is rich, warming, and so satisfying. The classic tomato soup gets turned up a notch with this recipe, with the addition of Za’atar and harissa for depth and warmth, and Halloumi cheese “croutons.”
What makes this soup even better? It is so easy to make from ingredients that you might have on hand at home. But the best part? It is a great source of Vitamin C and Calcium. It’s low carb and high in fat making it a perfect keto lunch or dinner. I can’t recommend it enough!
An important part of any cook’s recipe collection is a go-to tomato soup. It is a warm, comforting, and easy meal which is so satisfying, especially when paired with a grilled cheese. This soup is all that in one. The cheese croutons bring that rich, cheesy, fatty flavor.
Essentially I wanted to create a keto version of homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese.
To add a little warmth and flavor to the classic tomato soup, I looked to the Mediterranean and Middle East for inspiration which lent the Za’atar and the harissa.
This soup is so easy and quick to make with ingredients that you might already have on hand in your pantry (save for a few of those select spices, which I highly recommend adding to your collection.)
This keto tomato soup is made with canned tomatoes. I used whole tomatoes, but you can just as easily use crushed, as it will be blended in the end anyway. In addition to this, the base of the soup is made from standard ingredients – onion, vegetable stock, butter, and olive oil. So simple. To add extra interest, warmth, and depth of flavor, I added Za’atar, harissa, and halloumi cheese.
What is Za’atar?
Za’atar is a culinary spice blend from the Middle East. While it varies from recipe to recipe, the essential elements include: dried oregano, thyme, and marjoram mixed with toasted sesame seeds, sumac, and sometimes salt.
It has a tangy (sumac), earthy, herbal (oregano, thyme, marjoram) flavor with a hint of nuttiness (toasted sesame seeds.) It is a great addition to so many things.
What is Harissa?
Harissa is a North African hot chili pepper paste originating in Tunisia. Similar to Za’atar, the exact blends vary from region to region, and household to household, but the essential elements are roasted red peppers and Baklouti peppers mixed with garlic paste and herbs such as caraway seeds, cumin, and coriander. It has some heat, but it is a moderate heat.
What is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi is a semisoft cheese from the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is made from a mix of goat’s and sheep’s milk. It has a firm, rubbery texture and a tangy, salty flavor. Halloumi has a very high melting point which makes it great for grilling or frying, as it holds it’s form. When grilled or fried it gets a crispy, decadent flavor.
Is this a spicy tomato soup?
The addition of the harissa does add some warmth to the soup. I wanted the soup to have a little something, but not be a spicy, hot soup. I started with one tablespoon of harissa, but felt that I wanted a little more, so added another. If you don’t want any heat, I would omit the harissa… or add a bit at a time, stir and taste till it is right for you.
This is a quick and easy soup to prepare, perfect for a weeknight meal. It’s also great to make ahead as the flavor, like many soups and stews, gets better the next day. Here’s how to make it:
- In a large pot heat the olive oil and butter on medium-low until it is melted.
- Add the diced onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. (Do not let them brown.)
- Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, granulated sugar replacement, Za’atar, and harissa (depending on your heat preference, you may want to start with 1 Tbs. and add more in step 6) and turn the heat to medium-high to bring to a simmer, stirring a few times.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for about 40 minutes.
- Carefully blend the soup in a blender or food processor (or with an immersion blender) and return to the pot.
- Season the soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste to adjust the heat, adding more harissa if you want a little more heat. Keep warm.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add halloumi cubes and fry until lightly browned on all sides.
- To serve, add soup to bowls (I like to warm my bowls first in the microwave). Lay the cherry tomato vine on top (if using). Add halloumi cheese croutons. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and finish with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
And voila! Allegedly, “the best tomato soup ever.” That’s a pretty high bar as there are so many delicious tomato soup recipes out there…
This Keto Tomato Soup is so satisfying. It comes together so quickly and simply, but has such a depth of flavor and warming heat. The flavors of the tomato mingle with the Za’atar and harissa, elevating this from your usual tomato soup, while the halloumi cheese croutons add a surprising burst of rich cheesy goodness.
If you make this homemade Tomato Soup With Za’atar & Halloumi Cheese Croutons be sure to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see!
How To Make: Tomato Soup With Za’atar & Halloumi Cheese Croutons
|2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
|1 Tbsp. Butter
|1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced
|1 Clove Garlic
|28 Ounces Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Canned
|3 Cups Vegetable Stock
|1 1/4 Tsp. Sugar Or Granulated Sugar Replacement
|1 Tbsp. Za'atar
|1-2 Tbsp. Harissa
|Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For The Garnishes
|1 Block Halloumi Cheese, Cut Into 1 Inch Squares
|Roasted Cherry Tomatoes See Note Below
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil, For Drizzling
|Za'atar For Sprinkling