Homemade Roasted Tomato Soup is easy to make, creamy, and filled with a TON of comforting flavor from the roasted garlic and fresh basil.
One taste of this simple homemade version and you’ll never go back to buying canned, store-bought tomato soup brands again!
My senior year of college we got a Panera in the Walmart shopping plaza in my college town of Carlisle, PA. I remember the first time someone in my sorority suggested going there and I had no idea what the heck it was.
I quickly found out and it instantly became an obsession for the rest of the year. When I first started working at my job straight out of college in 2004, Panera seemed to be exploding all over the Northeast.
At the time, I worked in our Northeast region. For a company headquartered in Connecticut and working within higher education, that meant a ton of day trips to the Boston area.
Day trips where the sole highlight of the long day and boring drive on I-84 was lunch at Panera and a “You Pick Two” option of a turkey artichoke panini and creamy tomato soup, my go to order 98% of the time.
Tomato soup is one of those things where it’s either disgusting (Campbells) or, delicious (Panera).
Usually, the latter has cream involved. Lots. of. cream.
2004 was prior to the whole lovely “posting of the calories” thing that has swept the fast food world so I happily enjoyed my half order of creamy tomato soup in calorie oblivion.
Now, however, unless you’re blind, the fact that this soup is more than double the calories of most of the soup options they offer is staring you in the face.
Your brain is saying, “get the black bean, it’s not that bad and it’s only 170 calories!” But your stomach is saying, “don’t even think about it woman, tomato soup is where it’s at!” Gotta oblige the stomach.
So while I honestly don’t care that much about the calorie content (I don’t go to Panera enough to make this an issue,) I thought it would be a fun challenge to take on making a “healthier,” “real food” version of my beloved soup.
Since cups upon cups of cream weren’t going to be an option, flavor needed to play a big role.
I actually created a Dairy Free Copycat Panera Tomato Soup, so I highly recommend you check that one out! Not to mention if you love tomatoes and pasta you will be in heaven when you taste my Instant Pot Tomato Tortellini Soup!
Enter the amazing phenomenon of roasted garlic for this roasted tomato soup recipe.
Food blogger confession: (this is about to get embarrassing) Up until this recipe, I had never roasted a head of garlic.
Go ahead, gasp in horror. I know. I KNOW.
If for no other reason than licking my fingers after squeezing the roasted cloves out, I will be roasting garlic every chance I get for the rest of my life and making recipes like roasted garlic white bean dip or roasted garlic mashed potatoes with Greek yogurt on repeat!
And, it didn’t stop with the garlic.
I single handedly credit the roasted garlic and tomatoes (ok, and maybe the fresh parsley, basil and parmesan cheese too) with the flavor of this soup.
It’s creamy and rich like Panera’s but with a depth of flavor that you just don’t get from their 300 calorie, 10 ounce “You Pick Two” version.
With half a cup of herbs like basil and parsley in the soup itself, it’s also tastes incredibly fresh.
Which you should of course counteract with a nice salty parmesan crisp. Sweet tomatoes and salty parmesan are one of my favorite combinations. It’s why this parmesan tomato gratin is another favorite recipe.
Ingredients Needed for Easy Roasted Tomato Soup
- balsamic vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- head of garlic
- minced garlic cloves
- yellow onion
- fresh basil and parsley – don’t skip on buying fresh herbs, they add so much flavor!
- tomato paste
- vegetable broth
- brown sugar
- slice of bread – we are going to toast it
- heavy cream, milk or, milk alternative
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
How to Make Homemade Tomato Soup with Roasted Tomatoes
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss together the tomatoes, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Pour the tomato mixture onto the baking sheet.
Once you have cut off the head of the garlic, drizzle it with oil and wrap tightly with foil. Place it wrapped on the baking sheet and roast with the tomatoes for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
Add the diced onion and garlic, then saute for about 7 minutes.
After the tomatoes and garlic have finished roasting, add them into the pot (squeezing the roasted garlic out of its papery shell) and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
Pour in the broth, then add the basil, parsley, tomato paste, brown sugar, and toasted bread cubes. Allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add the heavy cream (or milk/milk alternative) and parmesan cheese, stir until combined.
Take the soup off the heat and puree. You can do this directly in the pot with an immersion blender, or transfer it to a regular blender in batches.
Blend until creamy and season with salt and pepper.
HOW TO CUSTOMIZE THIS TOMATO BASIL SOUP RECIPE
When originally created, this soup used whole wheat bread, heavy cream and parmesan cheese.
Fast forward to today, however, and I don’t eat gluten or cow’s milk dairy any longer. The good news is it’s actually really easy to customize this roasted tomato soup to be both gluten-free and dairy-free if preferred.
Swap out the whole wheat bread for your favorite gluten-free variety. I like heartier, seed-based flax bread the best.
For the milk and cheese simply use your favorite plant-based milk alternative and vegan cheese. I used unsweetened almond milk and Forager parmesan cheese alternative.
Do I Have to Peel Tomatoes To Use Them in Soup?
Absolutely not! Oddly enough, tomatoes get a lot of their flavor from the skin.
Also, since we are going to blend the soup until it’s creamy, you won’t even notice they are in there.
Does It Matter What Kind of Tomatoes I Use?
Not really. I am actually using just large vine-ripe tomatoes. The key factor is just making sure they are ripe.
Can I Use Canned Tomatoes Instead?
The flavor is a real game-changer when you use fresh tomatoes, however, if you want to use canned I don’t think that should be a problem.
Just get roasted or the fire-roasted kind so you don’t miss out on the flavor. You will probably need at least 3 to 4 15 ounce cans.
In the fridge: homemade tomato soup will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
In the freezer: Once it’s cooled, transfer it to a freezer-safe bag or container and it will last up to 3 months.
While I didn’t have a loaf of fresh bread on hand, a whole grain baguette or any freshly baked bread of choice would be a nice side option.
You can’t go wrong with a classic combination of tomato soup and grilled cheese. I love this smoked gouda roast beef grilled cheese to really round this out as a satisfying meal. A persimmon prosciutto panini is also a fun seasonal option while persimmons are around.
A simple green salad will also pair nicely with the roasted tomato soup. Create your own or use this baby kale salad for inspiration.
More Soup Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
- Buffalo Chicken Soup with Orzo
- Instant Pot Cabbage Soup
- Tuscan Kale Soup
- Thai Buttercup Squash Soup
- 8 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley and basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 piece of bread, toasted and cubed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, milk or plant-based milk alternative
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese or plant-based parmesan alternative
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Combine tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with salt & pepper in a large bowl and toss together.
- Spread the tomato mixture onto baking sheet.
- Cut off the top of the head of garlic, drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil on top and wrap tightly in tin foil. Place garlic on the baking sheet with the tomatoes and roast for about 45 minutes.
- While tomatoes and garlic are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the onions and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Once tomatoes and garlic are done roasting, add the tomatoes to the pot and squeeze the roasted garlic out of its paper into the pot as well. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add parsley and basil, vegetable broth, tomato paste, brown sugar and cubed bread. Simmer for 20-25 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cream or milk and parmesan cheese and stir until combined and cheese has melted.
- Remove the soup from the heat and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender until creamy.
- Season with salt & pepper to taste and serve with fresh basil.
*For gluten-free use gluten-free bread.
**For vegan, use a plant-based milk and cheese alternative.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 288Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 629mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gSugar: 16gProtein: 9g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
*This recipe was originally posted in January of 2012. The post, recipe and photography have been updated as of January 2022.