Tomato Florentine Soup

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor…and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes!  It’s a great way to warm up on a cold day!

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!Our love for all things Italian isn’t a secret.  I’ve had the chance to visit Italy several times, and each time I say that I just want to move there.  It really is tempting, but the logistics of actually moving to a foreign country keep scaring me off.  What about jobs?  What about Robbie?  Maybe one day in the distant future, we’ll just retire to Italy.  For now, I’m quite content with our Italian sojourns every few years.

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!Last year, Laura and I traveled with my mom to Venice and Florence.  We chose to focus on these 2 cities mainly to reduce the schlepping of luggage around Italy.  (I know some folks are able to travel light.  They do laundry each night in the hotel sink and manage to travel for a week and a half with just a carry-on suitcase.  I’m not one of those people.)  One of the bonuses of focusing on just 2 main cities was the ability to do day-trips.  For instance, while we stayed in Florence, we took 2 trips out to local wineries and farms.  (We even went truffle hunting!)  However, the focus of today’s post is balsamic vinegar.

I was initially surprised to see that the vineyards we visited not only sold their wine, but also balsamic vinegar.  It turns out that balsamic is actually made from pressed grapes.  This results in a thick syrupy liquid that is then aged for at least 12 years in a variety of barrels.  (As the balsamic ages, it reduces in volume and therefore gets transferred into smaller and smaller barrels.)  Not surprisingly, those bottles of balsamic vinegar can get to be very pricey.  We did pick up one small bottle, and we treat that stuff like liquid gold!  We only pull that bottle out when we want the balsamic to be the star flavor, such as drizzled over an aged cheese or over vanilla gelato (yes, gelato…trust me here!).

To clarify, there are plenty of other qualities of balsamic out there.  Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is the bulk of what you’ll find in the store, and those are made from vinegar rather than pressed grapes.  These balsamics are aged from 2 months to 3 years.  The quality isn’t bad, and these vinegars are great for everyday use.  These bottles will have “IGP” on the label, which means “protected geographical indication.”  This means the vinegar was produced and bottled in Modena, Italy.  (The more expensive stuff is labeled “traditional balsamic vinegar – DOP.”)  Confused yet?  A quick look at the price tag will sort it out for you as DOP balsamics can run as much as $175+ for a small 3-oz. bottle.  In short, we use cheaper stuff when it’s going into a salad dressing or when it’s one of a number of ingredients in a recipe.  (I used cheaper balsamic for this Tomato Florentine Soup, for instance.)

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!Tomato Florentine Soup

As I mentioned above, this Tomato Florentine Soup gets a bit of balsamic stirred in at the end.  This lends a depth of flavor to the finished soup without making it taste overly “balsamic-y.”  Of course, you could swirl in more balsamic on top of each bowl when it’s served if you’d like.  (This would be a good example of where to use the fancy stuff!)

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!This soup is incredibly easy to make.  In fact, it’s a little bit embarrassing how easy it is.  You can have this one prepped, cooked and on the dinner table in less than 30 minutes.  And chances are you’ll have leftover soup for lunch the next day.  Score!

Since this Tomato Florentine Soup relies on just a few main ingredients, it’s important to use the best quality ingredients that you can find.  As I mentioned back in this Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs post, try to find canned San Marzano tomatoes.  They will be more expensive than other canned tomatoes (like 3-4x as much), but the extra cost is well worth it.  After all, canned tomatoes are cheap, so it’s not a huge stretch to splurge on San Marzanos.

All of our major grocery stores here sell at least one brand of canned San Marzano tomatoes, so they’re not terribly hard to find.  However, with that said, I’ve noticed some brands selling “San Marzano style” tomatoes.  I’d skip those and go with the real San Marzano tomatoes.  San Marzano tomatoes are a classic Italian plum tomato grown in the volcanic soil near Mt. Vesuvius in southern Italy.  As with the balsamics, true San Marzano tomatoes will be labeled with the “DOP” label on the can.

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!All in all, if you’re looking for an easy and incredibly flavorful soup, then cook up a pot of this Tomato Florentine Soup.  It’s the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter day!  Enjoy!

Did you make this Tomato Florentine Soup at home?  Leave a comment.  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!

Looking for other tasty soup recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:
French Onion Soup
Butternut Squash and Cider Soup
Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!

Tomato Florentine Soup

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 357kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasonings
  • 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano variety
  • 4 cups vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups small pasta such as ditalini, mini penne or macaroni
  • 2 cups baby spinach stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • {optional} croutons
  • Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • Using a Dutch oven or stockpot, add olive oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and saute, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper and Italian seasonings; stir and continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Add tomatoes (undrained) and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium.
  • Add pasta and cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add spinach and cook for 5-7 more minutes, or until spinach has wilted and pasta is tender.
  • Stir in balsamic vinegar.
  • Top with {optional} croutons and grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!

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34 Comments

  1. That trip of yours sounded perfect. I wasn’t sure I’d love Florence or Venice. Boy was I surprised. And the day tripping idea is fabulous. I’ve never gone truffle hunting! This is a beautiful soup. Have a fabulous end of 2019!

    1. Oh, you totally have to put truffle hunting on your vacation to-do list, Mimi! It’s such a cool experience. Thanks so much for the kind words, and I hope 2020 is off to a great start for you, my friend!

  2. Thank you for a guide on balsamic vinegar; that was interesting to read. I cannot say I am an expert on balsamic, but I always have both cheap and more expensive bottles. But clearly, I’ve never added vinegar into my soup recipes; that sounds intriguing. And this soup? Not too heavy, relatively healthy but with some carbs (Thanks for the pasta part!) and packed with the flavour. That’s the perfect guilt-free comfort food after the holidays.

    1. So I’m anything but an expert on balsamic vinegar, but I’ve learned enough to be dangerous. I have to say that the bit of balsamic in this soup is quite a nice addition in the flavor category. Try it out! In fact, I’m about to make another batch of this today as we’re heading into soup season here. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I was gifted a fabulous DOP Balsamic last year that we cherish as you do yours and yes it good enough to put on ice cream. However, my preference is to drizzle it on chilled fresh mascarpone.
    Great soup recipe and one I’ll be trying.
    Now, about that fear of moving abroad. As one that has done it, I’d concur with retirement idea. Have a safe and Happy New Years.

    1. Interesting! I’ve never tried balsamic drizzled over mascarpone. Mascarpone isn’t the easiest to find here in the States, but I do have a couple places that usually carry it. (Granted, it’s super expensive, but oh well.) I’ll have to try the mascarpone + balsamic idea!

      And I appreciate the insight into the moving abroad thing. It sounds great, but the logistics overwhelm me a bit too much. Either way, I hope 2020 is off to a great start for you and the family, Ron!

    1. So I’m far from a balsamic expert, but I must say that it’s fun to try different balsamics. The flavor changes so much as they age! This soup is mighty tasty, and I’m about to make another batch this morning as we’re firmly into soup season here in our house. I hope you and the family had a great New Year’s, Kathy!

    1. Oh, if only 2020 could include more trips to Italy! I can definitively say that 2020 will involve lots of this delicious soup though…I’m about to make another batch this morning. Cheers to the new year, my friend!

    1. This soup really is easy and it’s packed with flavor! I highly recommend this one, Dawn. In fact, I’m about to make another batch this morning. It’s so good! 🙂 Happy New Year, my friend!

  4. 5 stars
    Dude, I wanna move to Italy too… but all those obstacles you mention always seem to get in my way.. Venice and Florence (and maybe truffle hunting) is on our list for 2021 – but let’s talk about this killer soup! I am so intrigued by the tbsp of balsamic added in at the end-wow what a complex flavor this soup must have. And speaking of balsamic I had no clue there were so many variations of it! Proof am not too old to learn something new almost everyday!
    Happy early new year to the Spiced crew from us down south!

    1. If you make your way to Florence, then let me know, Shashi! I highly recommend the tour guide and truffle hunting experience that we did. It was incredible!

      In other news, this soup is so good. I didn’t know much about the different types of balsamic prior to that trip. This soup is delicious and healthy, too. Perfect for the new year. Speaking of new year, I hope you had a great one. Here’s to 2020! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    First of all this soup looks amazing, David!

    Second, Keith and I are smitten with Italy too and balsamic vinegar is a big reason why. Your tour sounded so fun! We did something similar on a tour in Modena that included visiting a balsamic vinegar producer where we got to taste balsamic that was 100+ years old. I’ll never look at vinegar in the same way again!

    1. Oh, I would love to go to Modena! That is definitely on our list of places to visit on our next trip to Italy. 🙂

      I highly recommend this soup, too, Marissa. It’s packed with flavor, and it’s super easy to make, too!

  6. 5 stars
    Italy is a country that has been on my ‘must visit’ list for years, and yet I’ve never gotten there (although I do live in the British equivalent of Little Italy, so that’s something at least). I’ve never put balsamic into my tomato soup before, but I can see right away how well it would work. Looks lovely!

    1. You absolutely need to put a trip to Italy on the agenda soon. (If you do, reach out to me…I’d be happy to share some inside tips and tricks that we learned over the years.)

      So balsamic swirled into soup adds such a fun twist of flavor. I highly recommend it! And I highly recommend this soup, too. Thanks so much, Matt!

  7. i’ve probably never had the real stuff:) phew! sounds expensive, but wonderful. i have obviously had balsamic but the lesser brews. truffle hunting must have been fun! happy new year…

    1. Well like most things, there are certainly some high-end balsamics that can get quite pricey. However, you don’t need to pay and arm a leg, either. I love the layer of flavor that comes from swirling balsamic vinegar into this soup. I highly recommend it–when it gets cold down there again! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    I had to laugh at your comment about traveling light. I went to London with a class in grad school and my friend and I were horrified to learn that our professor planned to take just ONE BACKPACK and that he’d wash his clothes IN THE SINK. And he expected us to do the same. . .spoiler alert–that didn’t happen. Anyway, this soup looks awesome! I was just thinking that I want soup for dinner so I’m going to have to try this. Happy New Year, David and fam!

    1. So I’ve totally heard about this idea of washing clothes in the sink while on vacation. While I appreciate the idea of traveling light, there is no way that would work for me! I prefer to just lug along half of my closet with me instead. 🙂

      So if you’re craving soup, then put this one on the agenda, Kelsie. It’s delicious! Happy New Year to you, my friend!

  9. I had no idea there were different types of balsamic vinegar – thanks for that! How interesting. We’ve loved our travels through Italy and plan to go back soon (and bring the kids this time). I like the main cities but they are pretty touristy, so we definitely want to do a bit of a road trip in the country next time. That’s where usually the best food is, anyway (and a great solution for the luggage issues too). This soup looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing and a happy New Year, David!

    1. So I didn’t know much about the different types of balsamic until that trip either. But now I appreciate them so much more! I do agree that the main cities in Italy can get pretty touristy. We like to do a combination of touristy stuff and then finding a guide to take us out of the cities, too. That’s how we stumbled across the truffle-hunting adventure…and that was a lifetime experience for sure!

      Thanks so much for the kind words, and I hope you had a very Happy New Year, too, Katerina!

  10. 5 stars
    If I could go back to Venice and Florence tomorrow, I’d be off! I did those 2 cities a long time ago in my back packing days. Ah, but now I have to agree with you David that I prefer my suitcase and comforts. And day trips! Fascinating read on the origins of balsamic. And I love this soup. Exactly right for this time of year. You can’t beat a good tomato based soup in winter. And with a splash of balsamic in? Well I must try that!

    1. Ah, well I think I just found your next vacation! How about heading back to Venice and Florence on another backpacking trip? You know it’d be fun!

      So this soup is absolutely fantastic, Neil. We’ve made several batches already, and I’ve got some waiting in the fridge for me for lunch today. It’s healthy, but still packed with flavor. Yum! Thanks so much, my friend!

  11. 5 stars
    Love love LOVE this recipe David! What an amazingly fresh and delicious dish that can work beautifully any night of the week! And thank you for sharing the fascinating processing of balsamic. I absolutely love learning about the backstory of great ingredients. So fun and informative. Can’t wait to try this one!!

    1. Thank you so much, Shannon! This recipe is super easy, and it’s packed with flavor. I also like that I can eat a full bowl of this for a fairly low calorie count. Perfect for this time of the year!

      And I hear ya about ingredient backstories…I think that curiosity is part of the reason I started writing a blog way back when! 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    Love, love balsamic vinegar, and lovely in this soup. You do some amazing traveling — and around some amazing food! What a comforting, deeply-flavored soup. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. It’s funny, Valentina. Most of our vacation planning includes talk about the food or food experiences. What can I say? We travel with our stomachs! 🙂 And this soup is seriously delicious. We’ve made 3 batches this season already!

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