Tomato Basil Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

Tomato Basil Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

I first saw this soup recipe in a cookbook from my lovely mother-in-law (faithful reader and best cookbook saleswoman EVER!). It confused me a bit, to be honest. Basil is seasonal in the summer in Indiana, but who wants a hot soup in the middle of a hot summer season? Yet the thought of ricotta dumplings in a tomato soup sounded so intriguing that it stuck in my mind.

Luckily, we have fresh local basil at the Indy Winter Farmer’s Market in the middle of winter, thanks to Eden Farms and the wonders of hydroponic growing. We decided to use an upcoming dinner with dear friends as an excuse to pair local winter basil with a warming wintery soup.

What’s not to love about dumplings? They’re homey, comforting, and in the middle of savory tomato basil goodness, they’re like a deconstructed sort of pizza good enough to rival our original favorite “pizza soup“.  The recipe is easy enough for a weeknight, but delicious enough to work for a special dinner. Even if you’re not able to find local basil at this season where you live, this one might even be worth a little splurge.

As we bide our time this winter, we’re feasting on soups like these, planning new ideas for this site (stay tuned for more on that soon), and tentatively pondering a way to wander back to the other side of the world (maybe?!). And, it’s not too soon to start thinking about our garden — it’s hard to believe, but planting season is just around the corner. It’s won’t be too long until we can plant some basil of our own :)


Tomato Basil Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

1 Star (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4


  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup basil leaves, chopped, plus additional for serving
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 28-ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ⅓ cup all purpose flour (or a split of all purpose and wheat)


  1. Mince 4 cloves garlic. Chop 1/2 cup basil leaves.
  2. In a large pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and one pinch red pepper flakes; sauté about 1 minute, until just starting to brown. Add canned tomatoes and their liquid, 3 cups vegetable broth, chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, 1 ⅓ cup flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper. Stir until a dough forms. Roll the dumplings into small balls (about 48). After the soup has simmered, place the dumplings in the soup and cook until solid, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Thinly slice (chiffonade) a few extra basil leaves, and grate some Parmesan cheese. Serve the soup warm garnished with basil and Parmesan.


Adapted from Quick Vegetarian Main Dishes by The Pampered Chef


About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Rochelle @
    February 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Ooh, I volunteer to test with gluten free flour! Pinning this to try soon. Thanks!

    • Reply
      February 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Please do! Let me know if you try it, and we’ll update the recipe!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Ricotta dumplings??? Sign me up! Lovely light in that photo. Gorgeous!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I’ve found a ton of soup recipes lately that feature summer ingredients yet still seem to feel like spring…with the dumplings, though, this is definitely cold weather appropriate! Delicious!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    MMMM, yum. Soft ricotta dumplings would be perfect in tomato soup. Like a kind of inverse gnocchi? Delish.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    February 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    This looks absolutely lovely! Awesome recipe!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    I definitely don’t eat enough dumplings! This soup sounds like the best lunch–full of rich tomato and punched up with cheesy bites. Hey, it’s almost a deconstructed grilled cheese!

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Haha, yes — deconstructed grilled cheese, pizza, gnocchi — whatever the case, we loved it!

  • Reply
    what katie's baking
    February 17, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    you guys have great recipes!!

  • Reply
    Heidi Medina
    February 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    This looks awesome! I’m always on the hunt for another way to eat tomato soup and ricotta dumplings sound wonderful. Looking forward to trying this before the warm weather gets here.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Such a great lookin soup and I love the idea of ricotta dumplings.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    We have basil galore over here, but I definitely crave it in tomato soup this time of year. Looking forward to trying this – what is it about dumplings that make any soup seem so much more fun? (You will not be surprised to hear that things are not at all winter-like on this side of the world. ;) I was just in a province on the border of Cambodia yesterday and it was breathtaking – warm breeze and perfect blue skies.)

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      I agree – dumplings make anything more fun! I am so jealous of your weather, fresh basil — and your location :)

  • Reply
    February 19, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    It’s been snowing here so your tomato basil soup is looking so cozy and comforting! I love your idea of ricotta dumplings to add a real treat to the soup! Delicious, I tell ya!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Looks yummy!!

  • Reply
    Laura F
    February 25, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I made this soup along with some easy soft pretzels for dinner during the Oscars last night. So great! I don’t love ricotta cheese, it lacks flavor for me, but the parmesan was a great touch for added flavor. Definitely will be putting this recipe in the winter weekday meal rotation because it was very quick to come together, as well.

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Oh, wonderful — I’m so glad to hear it was a hit! I agree – I’m not a huge ricotta fan either, but these have great flavor. If you like them, you might also like our ricotta dumplings with pesto as well!

  • Reply
    Courtney Jones
    February 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I have a feeling this is going to be my new favourite dish. Wow. I love everything about it. I’m a sucker for a really good tomato soup. The ricotta dumplings sound perfect! I cannot wait to give it a shot.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I made this tonight – not only was it super easy and quick to put together, it was delicious. Those dumplings!! I stuck to the recipe but added some fresh thyme and oregano along with the basil. A great go-to recipe that I will be making again (along with those pesto little gems). Thanks, Sonja!

    • Reply
      March 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      So glad it worked out and was tasty too :) I can’t wait to make it again — dumplings make everything better! Thanks for writing.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    We just had this for dinner. Very delicious!

    • Reply
      March 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Great – so glad you enjoyed it! This is one of our recent favorites :)

  • Reply
    July 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I’m breaking the rules and making this is July. No alternative use for the basil I just trimmed sounds nearly as appetizing!

    • Reply
      July 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Do it! This soup is wonderful no matter the season :) Hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Yum. Made these tonight and I will definitely be recommending them! Anything that helps kids eat their veggies is great to me.

    Jennifer A. Gardner, MD, FAAP, Founder, Healthy Kids Company

  • Reply
    September 8, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I adore this soup! I’ve made it quite a few times and just love it! Thanks so much for posting this fabulous recipe!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2015 at 11:24 am

    hi did we ever hear back from Rochelle about the success with gluten free flour..
    I wanted to make this tonight and I have to use gluten free as well..

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