Creamy Tomato Basil Soup – A classic tomato soup, spiced up with the addition of basil and cream. Perfect for dipping your grilled cheese.
Is there anything more comforting than a great bowl of soup? It’s just so soothing and it’s the only food I eat slowly. I’m serious. If I’m hungry, no food is safe. But with soup, I love to sip it slowly, dip some crunchy bread in it, and slurp the last few sips from the bowl.
So when the temperature started to dip here in Atlanta, the first thing I wanted to make was some hearty, comforting soup. I hadn’t made tomato soup and grilled cheese in a loooong time so I knew immediately that’s what I was gonna make.
My favorite soup in the world is the creamy tomato basil soup from Panera Bread. Have you had it before? It’s a game-changer. So when I went searching for a great new tomato soup recipe, it needed to have (1) basil and (2) cream, just like the Panera classic.
And boy did this recipe deliver! So creamy and tomato-y and the best thing to dip a grilled cheese. You’re gonna love this.
And speaking of grilled cheese…you may be asking why I don’t have my recipe for grilled cheese in this post. Well, honestly, I was in so eager to eat this masterpiece that I couldn’t wait to take pictures of the grilled cheese process before chowing down. Food blogger problems, am I right?!
But I have a link to recipe I used for these cute grilled cheese roll-ups in the notes of the soup recipe below. I love these roll-ups because they’re perfect for dunking. Kids and adults alike will love them!
If you’ve never made tomato soup before, there are a few things you should know before getting started:
- Added on 11/29/2016: As you can see in the photos, I cooked this soup in a cast iron dutch oven. This is a major no no that I was not aware of. Cooking acidic foods in the cast iron will eat away at the coating, something I learned first-hand. My cast iron started peeling a few weeks after making this soup. It was not pretty! So make sure you use a stainless steel pot or enameled dutch oven. Or anything else besides cast iron.
- You gotta use great tomatoes! The best tomatoes you’re gonna find are San Marzano tomatoes that come from the San Marzano region of Italy. Fear not, friends! You don’t have to book an expensive trip to Europe to get these babies. You can easily find these tomatoes canned and in your local grocery store.
- This soup is going to be pureed. If you want it to be chunky, jump to tip #3. I absolutely love pureeing soups with my immersion blender because I don’t have to go through the hassle of transferred soup to the blender and then burning my hands when I ultimately spill it in the process. If you don’t have an immersion blender, this is the one I have and I love it. Simple, easy to clean, and most-importantly, affordable. If you rather use you everyday blender, you have to be VERY careful when starting the blender because the steam in the hot soup will want to force the blender’s lid off. So hold the lid on tightly before you turn on the blender.
- If you want a chunkier soup, you won’t have to blend it. But you must make sure to dice the onion much finer so you don’t have big chunks of it floating the soup. It looks odd (Trust me – I say this from experience).
Now go on and make you some yummy soup to enjoy this fall weather even more. What kinds of comfort foods do you love to make when the weather gets cooler? Let me know in the comments below!
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter salted
- 1 large white onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 28 ounces canned San Marzano whole tomatoes with juice
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- In a large pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat until butter melts and begins to bubble. Add diced onions and stir constantly until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
- While onions are cooking, use this time to crush the tomatoes. Open the 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes and empty the contents into a large bowl. Use your hands to crush the tomatoes into a pulp. This is a fun activity to do with your kids! Set crushed tomatoes to the side.
- After the onions have browned, add minced garlic and saute until lightly browned, about another minute or two.
- Add in tomato paste and stir for another minute.
- Add chicken stock, salt, pepper, and cayenne. I don't like heat so I only added 1/8 teaspoon for flavor. If you want more spice, add 1/4 teaspoon in total. Stir in crushed tomatoes.
- After you've added the tomatoes, place lid on the pot and raise temp to about medium-high so that the soup begins to boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium-low so it begins to simmer. Allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes to develop the flavors.
- Once the soup has simmered, use an immersion blender to puree the onions and tomatoes until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, I recommend a great one above. If you don't want to buy one, you can use a normal blender. But you will probably have to blend in stages so the soup doesn't overflow in the blender pitcher. And you MUST hold your hand on top of the blender to prevent the lid from coming off when the steam wants to escape. If you like your soup chunky, only puree until you get the consistency you desire.
- Add cream and chopped basil and raise temperature to medium. Heat the soup through so it is at the desired serving temperature, about 5-10 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite grilled cheese. We love to make dunkable grilled cheese, which is just a rolled-up grilled cheese. I recommend a quick and easy recipe in the notes below. Enjoy!