Tomato Soup- Panera style

Hello, Happy Monday!  Not.

Today is dreary and rainy and my throat has been killing me, so I decided it is definitely a soup day.  I thought I would share an easy soup recipe with you especially since the weather is warming up (maybe?), and it won’t be soup weather for very much longer.

I used to be obsessed with Panera’s tomato soup and have tried to recreate it a few times before.   Panera only has tomato soup during the winter months unfortunately, which is why I have tried to recreate it so I can have it whenever I want!  I think what I like about this particular soup is it is very simple, just a real creamy tomato taste without a lot of other flavors.   For whatever reason, as much as I normally love basil, I hate tomato basil soups.  Blech.   So you will see no basil in this soup, in fact it requires just a few ingredients and is very simple to make.

Roasted Tomato Soup

1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes

1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 medium- large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup milk

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 t salt (more to taste)

1 T olive oil

First, preheat the oven to 350.  Drain both the whole and diced tomatoes but save the liquid to use later.   Dice onion and put both the onion and drained tomatoes on a baking sheet.  Add about 1 T of olive oil, just enough to cover everything.   Roast for 30 or so minutes.

You can skip the roasting step, but I think it is what made the difference in this attempt and it really added to the flavor of the soup.  I also roasted a few cloves of garlic to add to the mix.

In the meantime, heat the chicken broth and the leftover tomato juice along with a little bit of salt and pepper on the stove in a large pan.  Once the tomatoes/onions are done roasting, you can either 1. add them to the pan and use a handheld blender to puree or 2.  Put the tomatoes/onions in a blender and puree them this way, then add to the stovetop.  I was using a handheld blender, so I added everything to the pot, and blended that way.

I left most of the diced tomatoes out until after I blended because I wanted the soup to have some tomato chunks instead of just being totally smooth.  You can do this, or just add everything at once if you want the soup to be smooth.   If you are using the blender method, heat everything for a few minutes after combining.  Then add the milk, and stir to combine.  Continue heating on low until the soup is at the temperature you would like, then serve!

Verdict:  While I think Panera’s would still win in a taste test, this soup was really delicious and the closest I have come in trying to replicate.  I think the milk is key to getting the creaminess that Panera’s has.  I could have probably used cream but I didn’t want to and I think milk works fine.  I used skim milk because it was what I had, but you could increase to 2% for a little extra creaminess without much of a calorie/fat addition.   While the stats on Panera’s soup aren’t too bad, I think this one is probably better, even if you did use 2% milk.

Also, I tried the soup before adding milk, and it still tastes great that way, so if you wanted to leave the milk out, didn’t have any on hand, etc, that is always another option.

I think if you wanted to make this soup during the upcoming summer months, the soup would be awesome using fresh in season tomatoes and you could just add a can of tomato juice.

Serve with a grilled cheese?  And enjoy!



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3 Responses to Tomato Soup- Panera style

  1. yum!! I love that you can make this soup both with or without milk. do you think I could substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to make it vegetarian?

    • thanks for asking that because I meant to say that you could use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian! Also you could probably try using soy milk too!

  2. Pingback: Unusual Searches | 2 Peas in a Blog

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