Zupa pomidorowa translates from Polish as tomato soup. Yet Polish tomato soup is not just tomato soup. It’s so much more. Pomidorowa soup is so nuanced. There’s a whole array of flavours that are added to make the tomatoes really shine in this symphony of sweet and sour. Make it with canned tomatoes and enjoy a soup for all the times of the year.
A good zupa pomidorowa has a complex flavour that goes beyond just tomatoes. It has a round sweet and sour palate. While this soup can easily be made vegetarian using a vegetable broth, the original recipe calls for chicken stock. The chicken flavour really contributes to tone up the overall profile, giving zupa pomidorowa a lovely edge.
Original recipes call for fresh tomatoes. When in season, this is of course an option. Still, I remember that my Polish grandma made large use of canned tomatoes. And that’s what I’m using in this pomidorowa recipe. Unless you are in a country that grows really tasty tomatoes, I wouldn’t condemn choosing canned over fresh. Tomatoes that end up canned are picked at their ripest and usually come from regions where they are grown extensively and in the best climate, like southern Italy. They are delicious and you don’t need to add any tomato paste to up the tomato flavour.
Try also my fresh tomato pasta with balsamico onion!
Ingredients & substitutions
Despite being quite a simple, single-vegetable soup, pomidorowa has a fairly lengthy ingredient list. Most of them are flavourings and herbs, that all contribute to create that unique balance between sweet and sour. Here’s what we are using in this pomidorowa recipe:
If allergic to one of the flavourings, it’s okay to skip one or two. It’s also okay to make minor substitutions such as:
- shallot for red onion
- white pepper for black pepper
- white sugar for brown sugar
- whipping cream for sour cream.
To make this soup vegetarian use vegetable broth. To make vegan, swap the sour cream for a plant-based alternative.
Step by step instructions
- Heat the oil in a pot. Mince the red onion and the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté on medium-high heat 5-6 minutes, until soft. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and evaporate.
- Add the canned tomatoes to the pot, as well as the salt, brown sugar, dried thyme, dried basil and black pepper. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Remove the pot from the heat and blend the soup using an immersion blender. Pomidorowa is a smooth blended soup, so we want to make sure to remove all the chunky bits by giving it a good blend.
- Return the soup to the heat and add the chicken stock and the apple cider vinegar. Simmer on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. The soup is ready to be served, or it can be chilled to room temperature and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
How to serve pomidorowa
As you can see in this post, I am serving this soup in a mug. As with all blended soups, pomidorowa is excellent to sip on and enjoy from a mug, if this is something you like. However, this is not the traditional way of serving it in Poland.
Soup is a main course in Polish cuisine, and as such it’s usually made more filling by featuring some sort of carb or protein. A very common way to serve pomidorowa is with rice or pasta. The addition of a carb source makes this soup filling and more nutritious. This is an excellent way to use up leftover boiled rice. Soup-friendly pasta shapes like angel hair are a great alternative.
Want a fusion option? As a Polish-Italian I always liked to mess with the foods from my heritage. Sometimes great things happen by chance. My Polish family shuns me for this, but I swear on a mozzarella diced and added to my bowl of pomidorowa. It’s like liquid pizza (and my Italian family shuns me for even thinking of something like that). Sorry fam, I’ve always been the weird one.
Pomidorowa tastes greatest when not piping hot but slightly cooled. A somewhat lower temperature really helps you to fully taste all the flavours in the soup, the sweetness and the sourness. So whether you will be adding an extra dollop of cold cream or you will just wait a few minutes, a lower temperature will really bring out the best in this delicious soup.
The kind of tomatoes used plays a key role in the overall flavour of the finished dish. As I have stressed zupa pomidorowa should really have a great balance between sour and sweet. This is why we are adding brown sugar, as well as vinegar. But a higher level of acidity in your tomatoes may eventually throw your soup off-balance.
If you feel like your zupa pomidorowa is too acidic for your taste, you have 2 possible workarounds:
- Stir in more brown sugar.
- Skip the sour cream and sub it with whipping cream.
Calling all tomato lovers!
If you are a big lover of all things tomato, here are some more recipes to enjoy where tomatoes are the true stars of the show:
- Fresh tomato pasta with balsamico onion
- Mini tomato tarts on puff pastry
- Ragù bolognese: meat and tomato sauce
- Creamy pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes
- Zesty sundried tomato pesto
- Garlic salsa dip with canned tomato
Do you like tomato soup? Have you ever tried the Polish version of it? Let me know in the comments! Pin my zupa pomidorowa recipe so you can make it soon!
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Polish tomato soup Pomidorowa is a lovely single-vegetable soup that has a fantastic sweet and sour flavour.
- 800 g canned tomatoes crushed
- 300 ml chicken stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion medium
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp Balsamico vinegar
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 3/4 tsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp creme fraiche (sour cream)
- black pepper (freshly cracked)
Heat the oil in a pot. Mince the red onion and the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sautée on medium-high heat 5-6 minutes, until soft.
Pour in the Balsamico vinegar and evaporate.
Add the canned tomatoes, salt, brown sugar, dried thyme, dried basil and black pepper. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Remove the pot from the heat and blend the soup using an immersion blender.
Return the soup to the heat and add the chicken stock and the apple cider vinegar. Simmer on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.
Serve the soup with extra sour cream to add to taste.
The nutritional information included in this recipe card is made by an online calculator and meant to be used as a guideline only.
This recipe was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated in August 2020 with new pictures, better wording and a recipe card.