I hope you’re ready for some creamy, delicious, soul-warming soup! This recipe is adapted from my mama’s famous tomato basil soup that she serves at her restaurant – Grilla Bites Cafe in downtown Snohomish, Washington. I’m a self-proclaimed soupaholic, and roasted tomato basil soup is near the top of my all-time favorites list. Roasting the tomatoes brings a delectably rich, sweet and savory flavor to the soup. Tack on a grilled cheese sandwich or slice of toasted homemade sourdough bread? Game over. It’s the ultimate comfort food!
Made with fresh tomatoes, this roasted tomato basil soup recipe is perfect for the end of summer or early fall. You know… the peak of tomato season, and when the evenings are starting to cool down just enough to enjoy a warm bowl of soup. It’s a fantastic way to use up some fresh Farmer’s Market or homegrown tomatoes AND preserve them, since the soup is freezer-friendly too! So if it’s still a tad warm out for soup just yet, pop it in your freezer to enjoy on chilly nights in the months to come.
Can I use canned tomatoes to make homemade tomato basil soup?
Sure, in a pinch you can use canned tomatoes…. although homemade tomato soup made with fresh tomatoes is much more tasty IMHO! The standard substitute is to swap 28 ounces of canned crushed tomatoes for every 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. Since our recipe calls for 5 pounds of fresh tomatoes, you’d use about 70 ounces (or five standard 14-ounce cans) of canned tomatoes instead. If you go that route, I suggest using at least half “roasted” canned tomatoes and half regular crushed tomatoes to get the right flavor profile for this particular roasted tomato basil soup recipe.
This recipe makes 3 to 4 quarts of soup. You know us… we always welcome leftovers to freeze! Feel free to scale up or down to suit your needs. Psst – Did you know that you can easily adjust the volume and ingredients using the servings slider bar within the printable recipe card at the end of this article?
- Approximately 5 pounds of fresh tomatoes – any size or variety works
- 1 medium to large white or sweet yellow onion
- 3-4 large carrots
- 4 stalks of celery
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 red bell pepper (optional)
- 1 quart (4 cups) of vegetable broth. Learn how to easily make homemade veggie broth here! Or, use concentrated “better than bouillon” paste mixed with water to achieve the same volume.
- 1 can of full-fat plain, unsweetened coconut milk. (Do not use flavored coconut milk from a carton, like you may use for cereal of coffee)
- Olive oil
- 1 bunch (½ cup packed) fresh basil leaves, or 3 tablespoons dry basil
- ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning or “no salt seasoning”
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional seasonings (great, but only if you happen to have them on hand): a pinch each of allspice and coriander
- Baking or roasting pan
- Large pot. We love to use these stainless steel stock pots for soup, sauce and chili.
- Blender – An immersion blender is especially useful for this recipe.
- Optional: parchment paper
Step 1: Roast the Tomatoes
Let’s start by getting those fresh tomatoes in the oven! The slow caramelization process of roasting tomatoes is what makes this recipe extra special (and flavorful), so I don’t recommend skipping this step! Then while the tomatoes roast, you can prep and cook the rest of the stovetop ingredients.
First, preheat the oven to 425°F. Next, wash and de-stem the tomatoes. Depending on the size of the fruit, cut them into halves, quarters, or sixths. Keep in mind that everything will get blended up later, so the size and shape doesn’t matter much. Go ahead and leave cherry tomatoes whole. Remove any hard center cores around the stem area as needed. Maintain the skins and “guts” intact; those add flavor and nutrients!
Lay out the cut tomatoes on a baking sheet, along with the peeled whole garlic cloves. (Add optional bell pepper here too, de-stemmed and cut into slices.) You may want to line the tray with parchment paper for easy clean-up; roasted tomatoes can get quite messy and sticky! Keep them in a single layer, and place them skin side down as much as possible.
Add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper over the top. Finally, place the tray in the oven to roast for approximately 45-55 minutes. (We often make a double batch with two trays, and it takes about 60 minutes – rotating the trays halfway through). The tomatoes should become soft and brown to slightly blackened in some spots.
Step 2: Make a Mirepoix
Like any good soup, this roasted tomato basil soup starts off with a classic mirepoix of onions, carrot and celery. Wash and chop those three, kick on the stove, and add a healthy drizzle of olive oil to the bottom of a stock pot (about 2 to 3 tablespoons). Once the pot is warm, toss in the carrots, celery and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover and continue to simmer the veggies over a medium-low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until everything softens and the onions become translucent. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside (covered) if these are done to your liking before the tomatoes are finished roasting.
Step 3: Combine Everything
Once they’re finished roasting, carefully transfer the roasted tomatoes, garlic, and optional bell pepper (plus any juices from the pan) into the pot of carrots, onion and celery. Stir to combine. Next, add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, chopped fresh basil (or dry), and remaining called-for seasonings: Italian seasoning, paprika, cumin and optional allspice and/or coriander. Allow the mixture to return to a low boil, stirring occasionally.
Step 4: Blend the Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Now is the time our trusty immersion blender plunges in to save the day! Between frequent soups and sauces, our kitchen wouldn’t be complete without it. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth right in the pot. Or if you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the roasted tomato basil soup into a regular blender to puree in batches as needed. Use caution – it’s going to be hot!
Finally, give your homemade roasted tomato basil soup a taste-test. Add more salt and/or black pepper if needed. If a thicker consistency is desired, continue to simmer a while longer, allowing the soup to reduce and thicken further.
Step 5: Serve and Enjoy, or Freeze
Now dish up a bowl of your homemade roasted tomato basil soup, and dig in! It’s fantastically delicious as-is (duh), but if you’ve seen our butternut squash sage soup or potato leek soup recipes, you know that we sometimes like to use these thick, creamy soups as a base and doctor them up further. For instance, I’ll often lightly sauté a handful of fresh garden greens (kale, swiss chard, bok choy, etc) in the bottom of the pan before pouring in leftover tomato basil soup to re-heat. Maybe I’ll toss in some chickpeas, white beans, or black beans for a little extra protein too!
The soup will be good for about a week in the refrigerator, and up to a year in the freezer (best quality within 6 months). To preserve and freeze extra soup, first allow the soup to cool (we usually let it cool overnight in the fridge) and then transfer it into a freezer-safe containers. Defrost frozen tomato basil soup in the refrigerator overnight, or leave out on the counter for no more than 4 hours before rapidly reheating on the stove.
We freeze our soups and sauces in these durable, reusable BPA-free quart containers. You can also use wide-mouth glass jars, but only up to pint size. Regular mouth jars and quart-size jars have “shoulders” and therefore crack more easily in the freezer. No matter what container you choose, leave at least a half inch to an inch of empty space at the top for expansion.
And that’s how to make homemade roasted tomato basil soup with fresh tomatoes!
All in all, we hope that this easy, hearty tomato soup recipe brings as much comfort and joy to your kitchen (and belly) as it does ours. Please consider stopping back by for a review once you try it. I also hope you enjoy this as a great way to preserve your homegrown harvest of tomatoes! Looking for more ideas to preserve tomatoes? Don’t miss our posts on freezing whole tomatoes, easy roasted tomato sauce, and how to make herb “sun-dried” tomatoes too. Happy cooking!
You may also enjoy:
- Creamy Potato Leek Soup (vegan)
- How to Make Vegetable Broth from Saved Kitchen Scraps
- No-Chicken Noodle Soup
- Creamy Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup (vegan)
- Vegan Roasted Sugar Pie Pumpkin 3-Bean Chili Recipe
- Black Bean & Quinoa Homemade Veggie Burger Patties
- Creamy Butternut Squash and Sage Soup (vegan)
Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Fresh Tomatoes (Vegan)
- Stock pot or large saucepan
- Baking sheet or roasting pan
- Immersion blender (or blender)
- Parchment paper (optional)
- 5 pounds fresh tomatoes
- 1 medium to large onion – yellow, sweet, or white
- 4 celery stalks
- 3 or 4 large carrots
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 red bell pepper (optional)
- 1 quart vegetable broth (4 cups)
- 1 can unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk (14 oz)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh basil (1/2 packed cup of leaves) or 3 Tbsp dry basil
- 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning or "no salt seasoning"
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pinch each of coriander and/or allspice (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Wash and cut tomatoes into halves, quarters, or sixths (depending on size). Cut out tough center cores as needed. Leave cherry tomatoes whole. Leave skin and seeds in place.
- On a lined baking tray (e.g. parchment paper) place cut tomatoes skin-side down in a single layer. Add peeled whole garlic cloves and optional sliced bell pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast tomatoes, garlic, and optional bell pepper in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until soften and golden brown to lightly blackened in some spots.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, prep and cook the celery, onions, and carrots.
- Add olive oil to the bottom of a stockpot or sauce pan over medium heat on the stovetop. Once warm, add chopped onions, celery, and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat until the onions become translucent, and the carrots and celery soft (about 15-20 minutes). Stir occasionally. Cover and remove from heat until the tomatoes are done roasting.
- Carefully transfer the roasted tomatoes (and other pan contents/juices) to the pot.
- Add all of the other called-for ingredients: vegetable broth, coconut milk, chopped fresh basil (or dry), and remaining seasonings: Italian seasoning, paprika, cumin and optional allspice and/or coriander. Allow the mixture to return to a low boil, stirring occasionally.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth right in the pot. Or carefully transfer the roasted tomato basil soup into a regular blender to puree in batches as needed.
- Taste, add more salt and/or pepper if needed. If a thicker consistency is desired, simmer longer to reduce and thicken.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy within one week.
- Freeze extras in freezer-safe containers for up to one year (6 months for best quality).