Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

The Best Tomato Soup Final 1 Guys, I’m really trying to be modest here, but it’s hard to do when you’ve created the best tasting tomato soup in the world. I’ve made plain old tomato soup recipes in my time and this Creamed Tomato Bisque is pretty incredible too, but, friends…..I’ve made the be all end all of tomato soups. {Even my husband was shocked at how good it was!!}

What makes this soup so good? Well, loads of garlic…and my secret ingredient: pesto!! It’s a creamy and flavorful addition that takes your taste buds to new heights.

Climb every mountain…

Sorry. The Sound of Music pops in my head every now and then. You’ll get used to it.

So, the only thing you probably won’t have on hand is the pesto. I bought some premade stuff at the grocery store having intentions to make something completely different. {That ALWAYS happens to me!} And then I forgot about it, neglecting it completely, letting it come dangerously close to it’s expiration. {Ok, this always happens to me too…} That’s when I found it and had to figure out what to do with it. I was meaning to make soup, and then inspiration struck and I got right to work whipping a batch of this soup up.

Ohhh my word.

Best decision of my life.

So creamy. So smooth. So amazingly delicious it’s gonna hurt.

Except not really.

The only bad part about this recipe is it will get completely eaten, most likely under 24 hours and you won’t have anymore in your fridge.


But, lucky for you–you have the recipe, so you can make more!! Here’s how you do it:

soup 1 The base of this soup starts with onions. Every good recipe starts with onions.

soup 2 And loads of garlic. You may reek of this stuff after peeling and chopping, but it’s totes worth it.

soup 3 So, you’re going to want to saute the onions in a little olive oil for a few minutes and then the garlic. Not rocket science. Not even close.

soup 4 After the onions are tender, pour in three cans of diced tomatoes,

soup 5 some chicken broth,

soup 6 that beloved pesto we’ve been chatting about, some sugar, a bay leaf,  thyme, salt & pepper. Let’s pretend I took photos of all that. Let this simmer 30 minutes with this lid cracked on the top. You don’t want a whole lot of water to evaporate out.

soup 7 After the 30 minutes, we’re going to puree the soup. Make sure to fish out that bay leaf first!

soup 8 This is how I blend my soups. This little gadget is from Calphalon and I LOVE it. The best. EVER. Amen.

soup 9 Once your soup is the consistency you want, pour in a bunch of fat free half and half and serve it up.

The Best Tomato Soup Final 2 As you can see, I like a little texture to my soups so I didn’t puree the heck out of this. Puree as you see fit.

Overall, an amazing amazing dinner, lunch or snack on a cold day. Perfect for company too! No muss, no fuss, but presents really well and makes your house smell wonderful! Serve with this Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread, these Southern Style Biscuits or some Sweet Potato Mini Loaves. Try this one out and see if you like it as much as me! Have a great weekend! :)

Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

Yield: 4 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3-14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
7 oz. prepared pesto {store bought is fine!}
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon thyme
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup fat free half & half


In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions 3-5 minutes or until they start to soften and turn translucent. Stir in garlic and cook another minute. Pour in tomatoes, chicken stock, pesto, sugar, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and puree using an immersion blender. {A regular blender works just fine as well.} Stir in half & half and serve hot.

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43 Responses to “Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup”

  1. #
    Kathryn — March 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Oooh pesto! I can see completely how that would work and be absolutely amazing. I need to make this soon.


  2. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — March 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    This almost seems like a no-brainer considering how well pesto + tomatoes go together but I would’ve never thought to add it to tomato soup. Awesome idea!


  3. #
    Katie — March 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I love pesto + tomato! Cannot wait to try this soup. (From the colour of the soup I wouldn’t have guessed that pesto was the “secret”…awesome!)


  4. #
    Cookin' Canuck — March 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    No need to be modest – this soup looks wonderful! Pesto really does liven things up. We often add a spoonful into our tomato sauce when we make pasta.


  5. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — March 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I’m literally drooling. This soup looks fabulous and tomato soup is my all time favorite. Bookmarking this for sure! :)


    • Lauren — March 3rd, 2012 @ 1:40 am

      Yay! Hope you make this soon! It really is fabulous!


  6. #
    Megan Pence — March 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Never would have thought about the addition of pesto! Genius.


  7. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — March 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I love creamy tomato soup. When I was pregnant, it was like…the only thing that I wanted to eat. And guess who makes the BEST creamy tomato bisque? Nordstrom Cafe. Not kidding. Shopping and souping, perfect :)


  8. #
    Kathy (Marilyn's use to be neighbor) — March 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    It sounds really delicious! I have been craving tomato soup lately. I am definitely going to try it this weekend. Thanks for sharing Lauren! :)


  9. #
    Renee @ Tortillas and Honey — March 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Sounds yummy! It sounds like the pesto give it that extra pop! I’ll have to save this recipe. Thanks!


  10. #
    Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser — March 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Soups are usually a hit in my house. I’ll have to give this one a try! Thanks!


  11. #
    Kelly — March 2, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    My 10 yr. old twins and I have the cinnabon rolls from your site rising as I write this. Now we need to make this soup also. Do you have a list of your maybe top 10 best kitchen gadgets – like you mentioned the hand blender? I would be interested if you do.


  12. #
    Cassie — March 2, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Pesto? Of course. It makes everything better and I can imagine that this is perfection!


  13. #
    honeywhatscooking — March 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    omg, this looks like heaven. just heaven!!! gorgeous.


  14. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — March 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    LOVE your addition of pesto, Lauren! Adding this to my to-try list for soon. You make it sound too irresistible!


  15. #
    Sheila — March 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Yum I love that you added pesto to your tomato soup. Nothing more comforting than a bowl of Tomato Soup!


  16. #
    Jessica @ How Sweet — March 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Dying to try this. Love!


  17. #
    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids — March 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

    What a great secret ingredient. I love tomato soup, and I cannot wait to try this one. Happy Friday!


  18. #
    Jolene ( — March 3, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Gorgeous, smooth, wonderful tomato soup! Mmmmm!


  19. #
    Madhu — March 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I never not read your posts as there is always something good. :-)


  20. #
    baker in disguise — March 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Pesto!!! How inspired is that!! I just have to.. have to try it!!!


  21. #
    Natalie — March 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    This looks so yummy! gonna have to try this soon. Great job on the photos too :)


  22. #
    Kiran @ — March 4, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Pesto makes everything tastes, the BESTO! What a great secret ingredient, Lauren! That soup looks truly yum! Thanks for sharing :)


  23. #
    Marina — March 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Ford every stream! Sound of Music is great and this soup looks fabulous! I love pesto and tomato soup!


  24. #
    Kelsey — March 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    This soup looks wonderful! I love tomato soup, especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. I’m going to have to make this very soon, except with cream instead of fat free half-and-half. “Go big or go home” is my motto! 😉


  25. #
    anonymous — March 6, 2012 at 12:18 am

    GET IN MY BELLY!!! :)


  26. #
    kristen — March 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    In a pinch, would a splash of 2% milk work instead of half and half? I’m out and really want to make this! Lol


  27. #
    Amy — March 20, 2012 at 2:22 am

    This is hands down, the most amazing, incredible, delicious, I want to eat this every day of my life, best tomato soup I’ve ever had. My taste buds are shivering in anticipation of having left overs tomorrow… perhaps for breakfast… or maybe in about 30 minutes.

    Sooo… yeah. I’m going to be putting this baby in the Keeper file : )


  28. #
    LJ — March 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Sorry, but this soup was not so special! I have tried many of your delicious recipes and will continue to stay turned.



  29. #
    Janie — May 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    This is such a wonderful soup. I’ve made it, and made it, and then made it again! It’s easy, healthy and so tasty.
    Thanks for sharing.


  30. #
    Lynda — September 8, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Hi there Lauren
    I run a little Cafe in a little village, inside an old jail that is now a Heritage Site and a seasonally-run museum, it happens to be the oldest in Ontario and the 2nd oldest in Canada.. Anyway, I started the Cafe for a bit of fun, I don’t advertise so it’s just word-of-mouth… from humble beginnings with freshly made sandwiches, I soon entered into home-made soups and the odd hot meal (specially during the colder months) …I immediately found myself opening year-round since my clientele consists mainly of lawyers, police, judges and security-people… My over-heads are low so I chose to put almost all of my takings into buying fresh quality ingredients to give my customers a great deal, wholesome food cooked with TLC at prices they can’t argue with (from 8 to 3 / Mon to Fri) … I am a ‘one-woman-band’ so I can’t even afford to get too popular, all I want is to keep my regulars happy and satisfied – all I want is to take enough money to pay for the ‘next week’s ‘ food .. it’s not a living I make from this but ‘a life’ – I enjoy it so much I never think twice about jumping out of bed and leaping into action – lol, I’m supposed to be retired and relaxing but hey, this brings me purpose and pleasure and occupies almost all of my time (between the shopping and cooking and trying to keep up with household chores lol!) … So in a nutshell, this is who I am ; now for Your tomato soup recipe – I love it! … it’s the one soup that I make which isn’t ‘from scratch’ as such, since tinned tomatoes don’t need peeling! … I just ‘upped’ the quantity of ingredients a bit and ended up with a 14 Litre pot-full! (which I am hoping will get me through a few days this week in the Cafe?! … My previous recipe for the ‘best tomato soup’ was similar, but without the Pesto – I just know this is going to be a Big Hit! … Thanks for your time and energy in sharing the recipe – I’ll be looking at your site to find more interesting things to serve my customers :-) … Thanks again and Well done! :-)


  31. #
    Scarlett — September 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I just made this recipe, and it is delicious!!!!! When it was simmering, I was a little skeptical, but I blended it all up and added the half and half… and couldn’t be happier! Honestly, my family has finished almost all of it within the last hour and a half. Yielded about 1/2 of a large pan. Next time I may double of triple the ingredients! Love this, definitely a must try.


  32. #
    Cindy — January 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect tomato soup (premade) for over a year now. It just occurred to me I might be able to make my own perfect soup. I make all sorts of soups from scratch so I don’t know why it took me so long to give tomato a try. I made a tomato soup last week that was terrible. So terrible I threw it out. I’ve been scared to give it another go, but I found your recipe and got Pesto yesterday, so here I go. I’ll post an update once I get to taste this recipe.

    Lynda – my dream life, you are living it! Way to fulfill your life doing something you love!


  33. #
    susan — January 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    so yummy! i love love love tomato soup and pesto is the perfect addition. i might have gotten alil carried away with the pesto cos my soup wasnt the most appetizing color but it got raves regardless!
    so thanks for upping my tomato soup game : )


    • susan — January 16th, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

      oh and i skipped the dairy and it was still delicious.


  34. #
    Sarah — July 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Can’t wait to try this!! Although I did have two questions: 1. was it a particular kind of pesto flavour used? and 2. being Australian I am not up to date with all the different milk types you seem to have! What is mean by “low fat half and half?”


    • Lauren — July 16th, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

      Just regular pesto made with basil, pine nuts, etc. No specialty flavor. And, I think low fat half and half is an American made thing. Just use regular half and half {aka half milk half cream}. OR, all cream if you’re feeling particularly naughty :)


  35. #
    Wendy — September 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    My son is allergic to nuts, so I forgo so many delicious looking recipes which include pesto, for obvious reasons. Do you have any suggestions as to how to include the pesto ingredients without the pine nuts? I have heard of making pesto with sunflower seeds in place of the pine nuts but have never tried it myself. Not sure if it would alter the flavor of your recipe more than it should. Thanks!


  36. #
    Lauren — September 15, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I say give the sunflower seeds a whirl. Most of the taste in pesto comes from the basil and parmesan anyways, so that might be a great substitute!


  37. #
    Carole — April 11, 2014 at 6:51 am

    I’ve added pesto to tomato soup for years. It’s even better made with fresh vine ripened toms as opposed to canned. Freezes well too. Honestly I’m a little surprised that this is considered such a sensation.


  38. #
    Marilyn — January 2, 2015 at 12:18 am

    The flavors in this soup are delicious!! We loooooved it! I used Classico pesto, yum, but I’ll make my own pesto for my next batch. Next time I think I will cut back on the liquid though. I like my tomato soups to be a bit thicker.



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