Copycat Panera Creamy Tomato Soup

A copycat version of the famous Panera creamy tomato soup. Dairy free!

Ok, so let’s talk about Panera. And if you’re in the maybe 1% of people who haven’t been there, I apologize. I have a love hate relationship with them. Hate that those delicious pastries tempt me from the second I get in line, ab-so-freaking-lute-ly love their creamy tomato soup. Love it. As in want to start a petition on increasing the size of their soup bowls for just that soup alone. Last year I even made my own at home version which is pretty darn kick-ass if I do say so myself.

Creamy roasted tomato soup

Fast forward a year later though and my eating habits have changed slightly. As in, that parmesan cheese, brown sugar and heavy cream that went in my first version aren’t things I’m stocking in my house anymore (ok, I do still have some brown sugar in the pantry for cookie emergencies). But not eating creamy tomato soup all winter just isn’t an option. The creaminess is by far the best part of their soup so I knew I wanted to mimic that somehow rather than come up with some pathetic paleo brothy cousin in this newer version.

Enter cashews.

Which can turn into cashew paste. Which can then turn into cashew cream. Which will then undoubtedly make you do a happy dance in your kitchen when you taste it.

Panera tomato soup

I’m going to go with the fact that luck must’ve just been on my side the afternoon this was made because, guys, this tastes even more like Panera’s tomato soup than the first one. And, there’s no dairy. It’s like the vegan/paleo gods aligned and gave me this one moment in time (cue the Whitney lyrics).

Creamy dairy free roasted tomato soup

Cashews ftw.

Yield: 4 servings

Copycat Panera Creamy Tomato Soup

Copycat Panera Creamy Tomato Soup

A dairy-free copycat version of the famous Panera creamy tomato soup.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 cup cashews
  • 8 large plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup almond milk, plus 1/2 cup more divided
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped


  1. Place cashews in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with tin foil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper and toss to combine. Spread out on baking sheet.
  4. Cut the top of the garlic head off, drizzle with olive oil, wrap tightly in tin foil and place on baking sheet with tomatoes.
  5. Roast for 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, add soaked cashews and 1/4 cup of the almond milk to a food processor. Process until a paste forms, scraping down sides as needed. Set aside.
  7. When there's about 10 minutes of roasting time left, heat large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
  8. Add onions and garlic and saute until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  9. Once tomatoes and garlic are done, add to pot (squeezing the roasted garlic out of the cloves) and cook for about 5 minutes.
  10. Add broth, 1 cup almond milk, parsley, 1/2 cup of the cashew paste and salt & pepper. Cook uncovered on a low simmer for another 15 minutes.
  11. Remove pot from heat and transfer soup to a blender. Blend (in batches if necessary) until smooth. Alternatively, an immersion blender could be used.
  12. Season to taste. Set aside.
  13. Add remaining cashew paste to blender with the remaining 1/4 cup almond milk and blend on high until a creamy consistency forms. Transfer to a small bowl.
  14. Serve soup while warm adding as much cashew cream as desired on top. Garnish with extra parsley.

This post is part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker’s program. I received a stipend to taste Panera’s soups and create an original recipe. Opinions and content are my own.

filed in: Soups + Stews
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    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Hi Jill- Honestly, the whole recipe’s cream factor is centered around the cashews so I’m not so sure about a substitute because I haven’t tried one. You could probably use the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk (put a full fat can in the fridge overnight and the cream will thicken on top) for the creaminess, but I don’t think the texture would be the same b/c that wouldn’t thicken the soup like the cashews do. You might be able to try making a blanched almond paste instead of cashews if he’s not allergic to those. I’m honestly not 100% sure though on any of these, sorry!

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I love roasted tomato soup! Your turned out beautifully and cashews/cashew cream is fabulous stuff! I use it as the creamy base for when I make kale chip coating and you could pretty much roll kale inside that soup and get it all coated and then dehydrate it – that’s essentially what I do when I make them. Great recipe, Gina!

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      haha! You definitely should! The cashew cream is seriously amazing. I can’t stop thinking about what else to add it to now.

      1. Cara

        Cashew cream is my new obsession too. I made a roasted garlic cashew cream (on my blog from a week or two ago) and I am still eating leftovers over roasted broccoli. YUM.

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  3. melissa fox

    i made this last night because i’ve been craving a really good tomato soup and i am trying to cut out dairy. omg. amazing. even my room-mate thought so, and he doesn’t like cream anything. (i tried explaining there’s no *actual* cream in it… i think maybe it’s the idea of things being “creamed”…)
    anyway. amaze recipe. thanks for sharing!

  4. Alice Dreger

    As somebody who is allergic to dairy products, I beg you never to post a recipe that is called “dairy free” that calls for a tablespoon of butter. Would you please post corrected version of the recipe (make that another tablespoon of olive oil?) and feel at that point to delete my comment?

    Otherwise this recipe looks swell, thanks.

  5. Ryan

    Agreed with Alice. While Paleo gods would not mind, the vegan gods certainly would not be smiling upon you by including that TBSP of butter. Why not make it coconut oil (which is my new FAV addition to EVERYTHING!) it’s just like butter, but way better for you IMHO.

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