Thick, creamy, dairy free tomato basil soup recipe is full of veggies and flavor. No need for heavy cream. And, a homemade pesto gives this tomato basil soup an extra delicious kick. Using both dried and pureed fresh basil, this soup is anything but bland. Using no dairy, and even being vegan, this soup will be great for anyone with dietary restrictions. It’s also free of: gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanuts and tree nuts making it top-8-free as well! This soup is what the doctor ordered for these cold, winter nights.
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Why I Love This Dairy Free Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
If you’ve ever been to Zupas restaurant, one of their heralded soups is their tomato basil. I have just always had a hard time loving a very acidic, basic tomato soup. But, when I heard their secret is to put pesto in it to make it a tomato BASIL soup I knew I had to re-create a Zupas tomato basil soup copycat and make it dairy-free, vegan and top-8-free for my food allergic family.
One other problem I set out to fix was with plain tomato soup I often felt hungry afterwards. While it can be nice if you have the time and energy to also make a sandwich or grilled cheese, it can feel like it’s missing something. Zupas gave me a brilliant idea, when I noticed that they offer to add pasta to your tomato basil soup. GENIUS. I now add a box of al dente gluten-free pasta to mine (you can tell in the pictures) and it makes it such a heartier, more filling dinner. I’d highly recommend it. But, if you’re a purest and want to keep it as a puree, that’s fine too!
One last thing I tried to improve: making this pantry staple friendly. Not everyone has access to fresh basil leaves and tomatoes, especially in the winter. This is why I used canned tomatoes, and pureed basil that you can find in the grocery store, in case your fresh basil is looking sad (like mine does a lot of times during the dead of winter).
Do I need vegetable broth or vegetable stock for this tomato soup?
No! Most recipes do rely on this, but I prefer a thicker soup, and one that uses fresh onion, carrots and celery as the base. If you do get to the end, and find that it’s thicker than your liking, you can always thin it with a little water or vegetable broth or stock, or if you are OK using animal products you can use chicken broth or chicken stock.
How do you make vegan pesto?
To make regular pesto, all you need is: fresh basil, a nut of your choice, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and salt. I had to make three replacements to make it pantry friendly, nut free and vegan:
- I replaced fresh basil with pureed basil, so you don’t have to hunt down fresh basil
- I swapped pine nuts with sunflower seeds since we have nut allergies at my home
- I switched parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast
The first few times I recipe-tested this, I’d make the pesto in my food processor, but I soon realized that just made more dishes for me to do, and now I just add the pesto ingredients with the rest of the soup ingredients to simmer, since it will all get pureed at the end anyways. If you’d rather make it separately, that’s fine too.
How is this tomato basil soup both dairy free and vegan?
This tomato basil soup is both vegan and dairy free because I’ve replaced the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast, the heavy cream with coconut milk and butter with vegan butter. These easy swaps still give you a creamy, rich soup without any animal products.
If you can have milk/animal products, feel free to swap back in the regular ingredients at the same ratios.
What gluten-free pasta do you use in this tomato basil soup?
As I mentioned above, I like to add al dente pasta to my finished soup, to make it more filling and hearty. Afterall, I have a family of 6 and my growing kids don’t love pureed soups. I can’t blame them–they kind of feel like a warm smoothie.
I feel like jovial gluten free pasta holds up a bit better long term, and I really love the fusilli spiral shape. But, barilla has also always done us well, and is about half the price. Feel free to use whatever gluten-free pasta (or regular if you can have wheat) you prefer. I’ve found them both at Walmart, and I linked to them on Amazon as well.
I have tried cooking the pasta in the soup, but find the extra starch makes it more like a thick spaghetti sauce, plus gluten-free pasta can only hold up for so long, so I find it’s better to boil it in it’s own pot, and just add it when the soup is done and ready to be served so it’s not sitting in hot liquid for longer than it has to.
And, if you’d rather keep it simple and just omit the pasta, that’s fine too! It’s also delicious with vegan grilled cheese or gluten free homemade croutons on top.
Is this tomato basil soup recipe allergy friendly?
Yes, this tomato basil soup uses no: wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts or tree nuts, making it not only vegan but free of the top-8-allergens. So, you should be able to share this soup with just about anybody. If you don’t need it to also be a gluten-free tomato soup, you can sub in regular pasta.
What dairy-free and vegan butter do I use?
I have used Earth Balance for a really long time. I have seen other vegan butters pop up, and would think they’d be pretty interchangeable. If you need it to be soy free as well, make sure to use their soy-free version. If you can’t find a safe butter, putting a 1/2 cup of olive oil instead of 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup vegan butter should be just fine.
What if I can’t have or don’t like nutritional yeast?
I think nutritional yeast is a pretty fantastic vegan cheese substitute. However, there are some who can’t have yeast, or don’t like it. I honestly can’t pick it out, especially with so many flavors in this soup, but if it bothers you, you should be fine to omit it.
A note on fresh basil purees:
I like to use basil puree tubes, as I feel it packs a good punch of basil, without having to find fresh basil leaves or plants. However, you would think all tubes of basil puree, were just that–basil and maybe some preservatives. But, I was shocked to find one brand actually had milk in it. So, the one that I use is a 2.8 oz tube of Aroma One Organics Basil Puree. (Sorry, it’s not on Amazon, otherwise I’d link it. I find it at Walmart in the baking isle.) Use whatever brand is safe for you.
What kind of tomatoes should I use for this vegan tomato soup recipe?
The nice thing about using canned tomatoes is that you get the tomato flavor, without having to worry about picking out a certain fresh variety at your store like roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes. The important thing, no matter the brand, is to get tomatoes in basil, garlic and oregano–you want flavor in every step of this soup so it doesn’t end up bland. It doesn’t matter if they are whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes as long as they have those extra flavorings added. You’ll be using an immersion blender, or regular blender to make it all smooth at the end anyways, so it doesn’t matter what size they start out as.
What ingredients are in this creamy dairy-free tomato soup?
The best part, is that the only fresh ingredients you need are fridge staples for me–garlic, onion, celery and carrots. So, if you keep your fridge stocked like me, all you’ll need to do is grab those and then some pantry staples. I make this so much I try to keep all these ingredients on hand 24/7. You can make this blender tomato soup during even the coldest winter day so you don’t have to leave your pantry. I love when I can use up pantry staples!
- Olive oil
- Vegan butter
- Yellow onion
- Minced garlic
- Pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts if you can have them)
- Basil puree
- Nutritional yeast
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Canned tomatoes in basil, garlic and oregano
- Canned coconut milk (full fat preferred)
- Bay leaf
- Gluten free pasta or gluten free croutons if desired (or use regular, if you don’t need gluten-free)
Tools needed to make this creamy vegan tomato soup
- Chef’s knife and cutting board for chopping veggies
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Large pot or dutch oven for making the soup
- If adding pasta–large pot for making the pasta and colander for draining
- Immersion blender, or regular blender for pureeing
- Large wooden (or heat safe) spoon for stirring
How do I store this dairy-free tomato soup recipe?
Once the soup has cooled, store the leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge. It should keep well for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave when ready to serve again.
Check out my other dairy-free soups!
I live off soup during these cold days–trust me, I should know, I live in Idaho. And, you should too! All of my soups are perfect for those observing a dairy-free diet, and are gluten free as well (as is everything on my site.) If you ever just need it to be only dairy free, you can sub back in regular pasta or regular flour at a 1:1 ratio.
Instant Pot Dairy Free Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Gluten & Dairy Free Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
- Allergy Friendly Taco Soup
- Gluten & Dairy Free Thai Coconut Soup
- Potato & Sausage Soup
- Slow Cooker Green Enchilada Soup
- Slow Cooker Pizza Soup
- Gluten Free Vegan Minestrone
- Gluten Free Dairy Free Chicken and Rice Soup
- Dairy Free Crack Chicken Noodle Soup
- *Don’t forget I have an entire winter meal plan too!
Do I Have a Video Showing How to Make Vegan Tomato Basil Soup?
Yes I do! I made a TikTok video, because I like how short and succinct they are. By watching this, it will give you a good overview of how easy it is to make this gluten free and dairy free soup:
@allergyawesomeness Vegan tomato basil soup—gluten free too. The thing that makes it sing is the homemade pesto! #glutenfreesoup #glutenfreevegansoup #vegantomatobasil #vegansoup #allergyfriendly #nutfreepesto ♬ Swing Soon – Zero3 Music
Dairy Free Tomato Basil Soup (Vegan too!)
Thick, creamy, dairy free tomato basil soup is full of veggies and flavor. No need for heavy cream. And, a homemade pesto gives this tomato basil soup an extra delicious kick. Using both dried and pureed fresh basil, this soup is anything but bland. Using no dairy, and even being vegan, this soup will be great for anyone with dietary restrictions.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegan butter (see post)
- 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 and 1/2 tsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 1/3 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds* (see note)
- 1 tube of basil puree, 2.8 oz (see post)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes in basil, garlic and oregano, undrained
- 1 can, full fat coconut milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 box, (12 oz) gluten free short pasta of choice (see above)
In a large stock pot over medium heat, add your olive oil, butter and onions. Stir until onions are softened.
Add the celery, carrots, garlic, pumpkin seeds, basil puree, nutritional yeast, sugar, salt, oregano, basil, pepper, red pepper flakes, diced tomato cans, coconut milk and bay leaf. Stir.
Put a lid on and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While waiting, in a separate pot, make your gluten-free pasta according to box directions for al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
When the soup has heated through, use an immersion blender, or a good quality blender in batches until everything is smooth. (I recommend a Blendtec.)
Pour back into the pan. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. If it's too thick, you can thin it out with some safe vegetable broth.
Add the drained pasta to the soup, after you've turned the heat off. Stir and then serve.
I use pumpkin seeds because we have nut allergies at my house. If you can have pine nuts, then go ahead, or even walnuts will do. Do whatever is safe for you.
Check out my other soups. Or, my winter meal plan!
*Our allergies, while severe and that get re-tested yearly, are such that we can go strictly by what's on the label. I do not call companies to see what things are derived from, or call manufacturers to see about potential cross contact. If your allergies require you to do so, please do your own homework. I cannot assure you of any ingredient's safety, only you can do that. I simply share what works for our family
**If you are going to feed this to someone with food allergies, and you yourself do not have food allergies, I HIGHLY recommend having them check every single brand and ingredient you are using, to ensure they're OK with each part of the recipe. And, to make sure you've talked to them about how to avoid cross contamination in your kitchen.
Adapted from: Tried and Tasty as well as Butter with a Side of Bread.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 219mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g
DON’T FORGET TO PIN THIS DAIRY FREE TOMATO BASIL SOUP, SO YOU DON’T LOSE IT. WHILE THERE, CHECK OUT MY OTHER DIET SPECIFIC PINTEREST BOARDS.
Hi! I’m excited to try this. We can’t do any nuts or pumpkin seeds. What do you think about subbing flax meal or hemp hearts?
Hi Laura, I wouldn’t sub flax meal, as it will probably make it too thick, but hemp hearts might work. Excited to hear how your experiment works.
My daughter is also allergic to carrots ?. Will this be fine without them, or should I substitute them for something else?
Hi Stephanie. I would think it would be fine. It mostly adds color and a hint of natural sweetness. If you’re really worried about it, you could try subbing in an orange or red bell pepper. Enjoy!
This is so delicious! I’ve always loved a creamy tomato soup, but have never found one without dairy or one I’ve been comfortable attempting to make. This recipe is so easy to follow and great for a busy weeknight. I made it ahead for the next night, but ended up having some tonight because I just couldn’t help myself. It is absolutely perfect. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It will definitely become a staple in our house.
Thank you Brittany! Made my night. What a kind comment to leave. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Take care–Megan
I have my homemade nut free pesto I made and put in the freezer, if I want to use this what would I leave out, the garlic, basil tube, pumpkin seeds and nutritional yeast? How much ready made pesto should I use?
Hi, you would leave those out, as well as the olive oil. I never measured how much it made, probably around 1/3 cup? Pesto is so good, you probably can’t go wrong, and do taste and go from there?