This Healthy Tomato Basil Soup has a thick, creamy texture and deep, rich flavor. A fast and easy recipe that only takes 25 minutes (or less) to make.
It is one of the best soups you can make at home with pantry ingredients.
Basil—fresh or dry
Pantry ingredients—garlic powder, onion powder, baking soda, sugar (optional), salt, and pepper
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Featured Comment from Carol: "Wow, so easy and so good!"
It's light years ahead of that watered-down can of soup. And the fresh basil leaves option adds an exceptional taste.
Call it tomato soup, creamy tomato soup, or tomato bisque since there is diary. It is naturally gluten-free, and you can make it dairy-free and vegetarian by changing the milk to vegetable broth.
A healthy soup that fits a healthy diet like a low-calorie or low-fat diet —with only 133 calories and 1 gram of fat. It is relatively low in sodium, and you can decrease it by about 200mg per serving by skipping the salt to fit almost any low-sodium diet.
👨🍳How to Make Healthy Tomato Basil Soup
Notice both fresh and dry basil in the picture. It is one or the other.
If using fresh basil, prep 5 medium basil leaves by pinching off the stem, forming a stack with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on top. Roll from the stem end into a small "cigar." Cut into narrow ribbons by pulling the knife through the basil and not crushing it.
Add 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes to a large, non-reactive saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon of dry basil or the prepared fresh basil, ½ teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Also, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add 12 oz can of fat-free evaporated milk—taste test for sweetness. Add ¼ teaspoon or more sugar if desired. You may also use cream, half and half, milk, or chicken or vegetable broth.
Simmer for 5 minutes more and serve.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
✔️Tips and Options to get it right every time
- Instead of crushed tomatoes, you may also use whole or diced canned tomatoes. You will need to blend with an immersion blender if you do.
- The non-fat evaporated milk may be replaced with cream, half-and-half, milk, chicken stock, or broth — your choices will affect the final nutritional analysis.
- It is already gluten-free. You can make it completely vegetarian and dairy-free using vegetable stock or broth instead of milk.
- It is already relatively low in sodium, and you can decrease it by about 200mg per serving by skipping the salt. Baking soda, which helps balance the acid, provides enough sodium.
🍽️Serving and Storage
Serve with nice crusty bread, or the classic is a grilled cheese sandwich.
Store in an airtight container, then refrigerate for 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for 3-4 months.
Yes, in many ways, it is an excellent source of antioxidants and some vitamins. My version is also very low in fat and calories to fit almost any healthy diet.
It can fit a low-sodium diet, especially if you skip the added salt, which will drop the sodium per serving from a little less than 600 to less than 400.
The baking soda may seem odd to you. But it will neutralize the acid in the tomato, so it tastes less acidic, and the acid won't curdle the milk in the soup — both good things.
Since tomatoes are a natural product, they vary by ripeness and variety. A touch of sugar may be needed depending on your taste. Start at about ¼ teaspoon.
Foods like tomatoes, lemon products, vinegar, and many more are acidic. Reactive cookware will react with acidic foods cooked in them, leaving a metallic taste in the food. It will also damage the reactive cookware.
Examples of reactive cookware would be aluminum, iron, and copper. I love cast iron, but it's not a good choice for tomatoes or other acidic ingredients.
Examples of non-reactive cookware are stainless steel, enamel, ceramic, glass, and non-stick cookware—the obvious choice for simmering things with acidic components.
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Healthy Tomato Basil Soup—Quick and Easy
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes - one large can
- 12 oz Fat free evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon dry basil - or 5 leaves fresh
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- sugar - optional if needed
- If using fresh basil, prep 5 medium leaves of basil by pinching off the stem, forming a stack with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on top. Roll from the stem end into a small "cigar." Cut into narrow ribbons by pulling the knife through the basil and not crushing it.
- Add 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes to a large non-reactive saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon of dry basil or the prepared fresh basil, ½ teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Also, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add 12 oz can of fat-free evaporated milk—taste test for sweetness. Add ¼ teaspoon or more sugar if desired. You may also use cream, half and half, milk, or chicken or vegetable broth.
- Simmer for 5 minutes more and serve.
Your Own Private Notes
- The tomatoes are key to this recipe. Use a brand you love. Do not use cheap generic tomatoes.
- I used crushed tomatoes but whole or diced can be used but you will need an immersion blender.
- The fresh basil is worth the trouble here, but a good dried basil will be fine.
- I suggest the non-fat evaporated milk, but you can use heavy cream, half and half, milk, chicken broth, or vegetable broth.
- Testing for sweetness is necessary due to tomato variations.
- Good refrigerated for up to 4 days. Should freeze well for 3-4 months.
- The baking soda is somewhat the "secret ingredient". It will neutralize the acid in the tomato, so it tastes less acidic, and prevent the curdling of milk products in the soup.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published January 13, 2019. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.