Brown Baggin’ It: Creamy Basil Tomato Soup


When it comes to lunchtime, sandwiches are great, and salads ain’t too shabby either, but sometimes all you want is a great big bowl of hot steamy soup.

When I was in high school, I ate the hell out of some tomato soup! No joke. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a creature of habit, sure I’ve gotten a little more “adventurous” over the years but back in the high school days I ate the same damn thing Every. Single. Day. School was only walking distance from my house, so the second the bell rung, I’d boot it home to whip up a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup. Total match made in heaven right there, I mean, who hasn’t had these two foods together? I’d then sit back with my soup and sammich and watch reruns of I Love Lucy. I don’t think there was another 15 year old that had seen as many I Love Lucy episodes as I had, what can I say? I loved the crazy antics.


Now this soup wasn’t some fancy homemade tomato soup, this was whatever canned stuff mom happen to pick up at the store mixed with skimmed milk, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t gobble that bland, watered down tomato paste with fervor. I ate that crap well into my 20’s and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally got to find out what real tomato soup is supposed to taste like. Wait, tomato soup actually has flavor? Mind blown! Who knew you could add spices and stuff to tomato soup, surely not I.


I figured I’d give my former tomato soup eating self a nod and whip up a batch for old times sake. What I didn’t expect was how much I would fall in love with this stuff again! This soup, I can’t even! First of all there are real live veggies! Like onion and carrots and junk. Then you’ve got fire-roasted tomatoes, because fire-roasted things are chocked full of roasty flava. To make it all creamy dreamy good, I used cashews.  Now I know what you’re thinking, who has time to soak cashews overnight? Well I sure as hell don’t, not when I’m trying to throw together a lunch. So for this recipe, all you’ve got to do is simmer them with the rest of the ingredients, blend and that’s it. Easy peasy, quick and easy (ugh, I can’t believe I just wrote that). The cashews add a really great richness that kicks this soup up a notch.


Along with the soup, I also packed half a toasted bagel with some homemade hummus, along with an apple and banana.

Lunch Lady Tips:

  • If you happen to pack your soup in a glass container, make sure you have an oven pad or something to protect your hand from the heat when you warm it up, those things get hot as fuck.
  • If you’re using a thermos, a trick to keep your soup hot longer is to pre-warm your thermos. Boil some water, pour it in and let it sit for a few minutes, discard and then fill with hot soup.
  • This soup comes together in just 30 minutes but to save time, double or triple the recipe to have even more lunches, or feel free to freeze it for whenever the craving strikes.
  • Need a nut-free alternative? Replace those evil cashews with some full-fat canned coconut milk.

    This rich and creamy tomato soup is comfort food at it's finest. So easy to make, you'll wonder why you ever bought the condensed variety.

    Author: The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado


    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 small stalk of celery, chopped
    • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 14-oz. can fire roasted tomatoes or whole peeled plum tomatoes, puréed (include the juice)
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme
    • 1/3 cup cashews or coconut milk
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
    • Salt and pepper, to taste


    1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix to coat the vegetables.
    2. Add the broth, tomatoes, thyme, cashews, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
    3. Discard the thyme sprig, let cool slightly and mix in the basil. Carefully purée the soup in ablender or food processor until smooth (you may have to do this in batches), then return the soup to the pot over low heat. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm and garnish with fresh herbs.

    4. NOTES

      Blender Tip: Make sure you puree the soup in small batches. Cover the top with a tea towel and hold it down as the steam may build up and try to explode when you start blending. Start on a slow speed and slowly increase to a higher speed, cranking the speed right at the start can also leave you and your kitchen covered in hot soup (not fun).


37 thoughts on “Brown Baggin’ It: Creamy Basil Tomato Soup

  1. babette says:

    This looks absolutely fantastic! I haven’t had soup in a while, but with the heat slowly fading away, I might cook some soon.

    Were you already a vegetarian as a teenager? I used to love canned tomato soup, and I sometimes buy it now, and still love it. In my family, we would crumble Premium Plus crackers into it. Yummy.

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      I only became vegetarian a few years ago, I know, it’s weird that I ate a vegetarian meal everyday without even realizing it!
      I’m with you on the Premium Plus Crackers, I used to crumble up a handful into every bowl of soup I ate.

      • babette says:

        You know what, I’m only missing the tomato paste to make the soup, so definitely, I will be making soup in the next couple of days… and I’m going to buy Daiya wedges to make a… grilled cheese. Can’t wait!

  2. veganinbrighton says:

    I’m not the world’s biggest soup fan but this looks really great. I used to eat the Heinz canned tomato soup as a kid but I’ve never found anything that comes close recipe wise. I’ll have to try this one day.

  3. Cadry's Kitchen (@Cadryskitchen) says:

    Oh, I used to love grilled cheese and tomato soup! A friend turned me on to it in high school, and that was a favorite lunch of mine into my twenties. Even now, when I open a jar of tomato paste, it smells like that condensed tomato soup of yesteryear and makes me want it all over again. I’m totally pinning this recipe to make it sometime soon!

    How did you get that pretty swirl in it? Did you set aside some extra cashew cream to swirl in?

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      Thanks Cadry, every now and then I really want to pick up a can just for nostalgias sake. I recently started eating grilled cheese sandwiches again and I feel like a kid every time I eat one 🙂
      I cheated and used coconut milk, lol. I just used a small spoon filled with a bit of coconut milk to make a small swirl.

  4. coconutandberries says:

    Creamy dreamy soup! I love soup of almost every kind- cold summer soups, thick + chunky style, noodle soup, and simple purées. I don’t think I’ve every actually made tomato soup though so this looks like a good place to start 🙂

  5. Mel says:

    Oh yes, I grew up on the canned tomato soup too and never knew what the real deal tasted like until I made it myself. Love your pretty swirl, I can never manage to pull that off!

  6. dimsimkitty says:

    I love tomato soup with grilled cheese.
    I have a confession to make. Of course I prefer delicious homemade tomato soup, but every now and then I get a craving for canned soup. So I will buy it and eat it, and it mostly tastes like salt, but what can I say. Nostalgia. 😉
    I love taking soups for lunch. I have a dedicated soup thermos.

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      I honestly haven’t had canned tomato soup in years, but canned noodle soup, now there’s something I get a hankering for every now and then. It’s gotta be the salt, salt is just so tasty!

  7. Bertha Garrison says:

    A lot of other raw tomato soups call for avocados, but I like this recipe because I always have cashews on hand in my pantry so I can make it any time–rather than having to make sure I have a perfect avocado on hand.

  8. says:

    Wow, what an angelic and vibrant creamy soup with a bit of coconut milk! Perfect for the fall season…I love the lighting in your photos and of course the bagel 😉 miam miam! Thanks for sharing the Lunch Lady tips, do you have a favorite thermo brand I can read about? I love storing my soups in jars or mason jars, they are pretty handy to have around.

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      Aw, thanks so much, I’ve never had my food described as angelic before 🙂 I’m actually still on the hunt for a good thermos as the one I currently have came with a picnic set. It’s ok, but not great. Good idea to use mason jars for storing soup, it’s definitely a great way to reuse them.

  9. Mandee says:

    I am exactly the same, I can eat the same thing over and over again and not get bored! And tomato soup is one of my fave soups, it’s just so perfect. Yours looks gorgeous, will bookmark it for later 😉

  10. shanbogen says:

    So true about needing to bring an oven pad for after heating up the soup… I exactly had an incident exactly like that happen to me at work this past week which ended with me sprinting through the cafeteria to grab a huge wad of paper towels. 😦 lesson learned.

    That soup is just stunning though. Gorgeous pictures, and sounds delicious. thanks for sharing!

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      Oh I’ve been there, I’ve had to jerry rig an oven mit out of a pile of paper towels a few times before I finally just brought something with me.
      Thanks for the kind words and checking it out!

  11. babette says:

    I made your soup last night and it is amazing! I couldn’t stop eating it. I just added a sprinkle of nooch to it when serving.

    Now, the plan is to eat this tonight or tomorrow with a grilled cheese sandwich. Thanks!

  12. Andrea says:

    Just reading the recipe makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. For some reason I associate tomato soup with rainy days (as in, if it’s raining, I need tomato soup to cheer me up) and here in Seattle there’s lots of opportunity for a good bowl of tomato soup. Yours sounds perfect!

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