Creamy Tomato Basil Soup from Panera is one of my favorite soups ever. And I love making it at home. There are lots and lots of Panera copycat tomato soup recipes, but I couldn’t find one that I liked. The most popular one had almost a stick of butter, a cup of heavy cream and added sugar in it!? No thank you.
I wanted to add a depth of flavor to the soup – just canned tomatoes and some garlic wasn’t cutting it. So, I used a trick I had seen chef Michael Chiarello do before – I roasted the canned tomatoes with some olive oil in the oven. This may seem odd, but it definitely gave the soup a rich flavor. I serve this creamy soup with some of my crunchy, homemade Parmesan-Garlic Croutons.
NOTE: If you’re not eating dairy, substitute 2 Tablespoons of Earth Balance Spread for the butter and coconut milk for the half and half.
- 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, strained, reserve juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive, plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons butter (Earth Balance for dairy-free option)
- 1/2 cup half and half (you can sub coconut milk!)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves plus more for garnish
- shredded mozzerella cheese for garnish
- 3/4 cup homemade croutons
- 2 cups French Bread, cut into cubes
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic-pepper seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoonpsalt
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425. Strain one can of diced tomatoes well. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time. Let cool. Set aside a few tablespoons to garnish the soup later.
- Heat the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the minced onion and cook until it starts to get translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic clove and stir around until just fragrant, about 1 minute more.
- Add in the crushed tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, and chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil and add in the chopped basil and roasted tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes.
- It you want a creamier soup, now is when you will want to whip out the blender (or immersion blender). If you use a regular blender like I do, you will definitely want to puree this soup in batches. Also have a towel ready in case the steam heat combo causes the lid to pop off.
- Once all the soup has been blended, add it all back to the saucepan along with the half and half. Stir until the cream is just incorporated into the soup.
- Serve the soup with some of the roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and a few of my homemade parmesan-garlic croutons.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the French bread into cubes and then toss the cubes in the olive oil, salt, garlic pepper and parmesan cheese. Spread the bread cubes onto a single layer on a baking sheet (foil-lined makes for easy cleanup) and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and golden. I usually give the pan a good shake about halfway thru just to make sure my croutons brown evenly. %http://domesticcontessa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Untitled-design-153.jpg