This creamy tomato basil soup recipe is a total copycat of my favorite soup at First Watch! Ready to serve in under 30 minutes and just perfect paired with a hot and melty classic grilled cheese sandwich…
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Growing up I hated tomato soup — like wouldn’t touch it with my spoon tied to a 10-foot pole, HATED IT. Believe me, my dad tried on numerous occasions to serve it to me for lunch. I was always considered a “good eater,” but it was one of the few foods that I steadfastly refused to eat.
Fast forward about 20 years to a random lunch with my hubby at First Watch. I decided to take a little taste of his cup of tomato basil soup, and I had a revelation… It was never been tomato soup itself that I hated! It’s that icky canned condensed blob of tomato-like substance that my dad always prepared that I despised.
So as with so many of my other favorite restaurant recipes, I set out to recreate that lovely creamy tomato basil soup at home. And I like to think my tomato basil soup recipe comes pretty darn close!
Best Tomato Basil Soup Recipe Ever
A few things that make this (in my opinion) the BEST tomato basil soup recipe ever…
1| It starts with canned whole tomatoes. Surprised? I love fresh tomatoes as much as the next person, but making tomato basil soup with canned tomatoes gives you more consistency in flavor from batch to batch, while also making this a super easy and convenient recipe to prepare year round. Plus canned veggies actually rival fresh veggies when it comes to nutrients, because they’re harvested and packed at the peak of ripeness and freshness!
2| The addition of tomato paste adds more depth of flavor. Adding a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste really intensifies the tomato-y taste of this soup, especially when you add while sautéing the aromatics.
3| Fresh basil adds brightness. But if tomato and basil soup isn’t your thing, feel free to switch it up. Rosemary, thyme, parsley, and chives are also fabulous choices. It’s a great way to use up whatever fresh herbs you have on hand!
4| There’s just enough cream. While this IS a cream of tomato basil soup, we don’t have to be super heavy handed with the cream. Using just 1/2 cup of heavy cream is enough to add richness to the soup without adding a ton of extra calories. I think it’s the best of both worlds! Sometimes I’ll swap it for crème fraîche for a change of pace, and if you want to lighten it up a bit, you can totally just use milk.
How To Make Tomato Basil Soup
You seriously won’t believe just how easy this tomato soup is to prepare. It *really* doesn’t take much longer than heating up the canned stuff, and I promise you it tastes a gazillion times better! Just 10 minutes of simmering after sautéing the onion and garlic, puree, and serve — preferably with a hot and melty grilled cheese sandwich on the side.
pureeing hot homemade tomato basil soup
I’m not big on having a multitude of kitchen gadgets, but one that I can’t live without is this immersion blender. It makes pureeing hot soups, like this tomato basil soup, a total cinch, and it cleans up like a dream. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, I’ve heard this Cuisinart model is very good, as well.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can always drag out your blender or food processor. Please, please, PLEASE, just make sure to puree in small batches with plenty of headspace in your blending container. Hot liquids expand, and I’m hoping to save you all from spending hours cleaning tomato soup off of your walls, cabinets, ceiling, and every other possible kitchen surface — a lesson I learned the hard way as a newlywed.
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What To Serve With Tomato Basil Soup?
Hot and fresh grilled cheese sandwiches are a no brainer pairing for this easy tomato basil soup… Check out this brilliant sheet pan grilled cheese in the oven technique for making multiple grilled cheeses all at once in the oven while your soup is simmering away! SO EASY — you’ll never make grilled cheese on your stovetop again…