Beautiful, Fresh & Uncomplicated Food & Entertaining

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!

Two black pottery bowls of tomato soup garnished with roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine and cubes of fried halloumi cheese - sitting on a textural raw silk placemat with an ivory napkin and an olive wood salt container.

The Inspiration

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.

The ingredients for Keto Tomato Soup With Za'atar and Halloumi Croutons on a white marble counter. Canned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes on the vine, an onion, garlic, halloumi cheese, vegetable stock, and za'atar.

The Ingredients

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.

Two black pottery bowls of tomato soup garnished with roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine and cubes of fried halloumi cheese - sitting on a textural raw silk placemat with an ivory napkin and an olive wood salt container.

The Steps

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:

  1. In a large pot heat the olive oil and butter on medium-low until it is melted.
  2. Add the diced onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. (Do not let them brown.)
  3. 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.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for about 40 minutes.
  5. Carefully blend the soup in a blender or food processor (or with an immersion blender) and return to the pot. 
  6. 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.
  7. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add halloumi cubes and fry until lightly browned on all sides.
  8. 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…

Two black pottery bowls of tomato soup garnished with roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine and cubes of fried halloumi cheese - sitting on a textural raw silk placemat with an ivory napkin and an olive wood salt container and two glasses of white wine.

The Results

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.

Two black pottery bowls of tomato soup garnished with roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine and cubes of fried halloumi cheese - sitting on a textural raw silk placemat.

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!

Two black pottery bowls of tomato soup garnished with roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine and cubes of fried halloumi cheese - sitting on a textural raw silk placemat.

How To Make: Tomato Soup With Za’atar & Halloumi Cheese Croutons


Reviews

Ingredients:

Adjust Servings
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
Sea Salt
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
Nutritional Information
5 Grams Net Carbs
8.1 Grams Protein
14.2 Grams Fat
186 Calories

Directions

1.
Heat the olive oil and the butter.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil and butter on medium-low until it is melted.
Mark as complete
2.
Add the onion and garlic.
Add the diced onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. (Do not let them brown.)
Mark as complete
3.
Add the remaining ingredients from the main list and bring to a simmer on medium-high.
Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, sugar or sugar alternative, Za’atar, and harissa (depending on your heat preference, you may want to start with 1 Tbs. of harissa and add more in step 6). Turn the heat to medium-high to bring to a simmer, stirring a few times.
Mark as complete
4.
Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low and slowly simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for about 40 minutes.
Mark as complete
5.
Blend the soup and return to the pot.
Turn off the soup and carefully blend in a blender or food processor (or with an immersion blender) and return to the pot.
Mark as complete
6.
Season the soup.
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.
Mark as complete
7.
Fry the halloumi croutons.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add halloumi cubes and fry until lightly browned on all sides.
Mark as complete
8.
Serve and garnish the soup.
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.
Mark as complete
Notes
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: For this recipe, I roasted red cherry tomatoes on the vine. They are so pretty and added a burst of rich tomato flavor as the roasting intensified them. Simply place cherry tomato clusters on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and roast at 425° for about 20 minutes, while the soup is simmering.
Notes On Sea Salt: I use Himalayan Sea Salt in all of my recipes. It is the only salt on hand around the house – except for a course salt (Maldon) for finishing dishes, and for pickling and bread salt. Himalayan sea salt has a slightly lower sodium level than regular salt. It also has a higher mineral content, with 84 trace minerals. Also, it’s pink!
Joanna Revers

I'm a designer, creator, cook, and gardener living in Vermont. A Cultivated Living is where my life in design meets my love of cooking. Here I share inspiration and recipes for a healthy home, garden, and life... focusing on beautiful, fresh, and uncomplicated food and entertaining.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.