Easy Tomato Soup Recipe

This tomato soup recipe is an inexpensive alternative to canned concentrated soup and, when paired with homemade grilled cheese sandwiches, makes a classic and satisfying dinner.

From "Good and Cheap"
September 2015

  • Tomato Soup
    Tomato soup is an easy, delicious, and classic dish. This recipe keeps the ingredients short, simple and inexpensive, for a dinner that satisfies without emptying your pockets.
    Photo by Fotolia/Brent Hofacker
  • Good and Cheap
    Originally developed by author Leanne Brown to provide quality recipes to those in the SNAP (or Food Stamps) program, "Good and Cheap" features a collection of tasty recipes that can be made on a shoestring budget.
    Cover courtesy Workman Publishing
  • Tomato Soup
  • Good and Cheap

Yield: 5 servings

Good and Cheap (Workman Publishing, 2015) is a cookbook for people with very tight budgets. Author Leanne Brown’s recipes maximize every ingredient and teach economical cooking methods. The book also includes tips on prices and shopping, stocking your pantry with the basics, and mastering the simple extras that make everything taste better.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Good and Cheap.

If I get to choose, this will be my last meal on earth. Some of the first “cooking” I did for myself, at age ten or so, was plopping out a can of tomato soup. I felt very adult. Now that I know how easy it is to make from scratch, I never bother with the canned stuff. And if your family is anything like mine, making a grilled cheese sandwich will get you more glory and appreciation than a four-course dinner you slaved over for hours. $2.40/serving; $12 total

Easy Tomato Soup Recipe


• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 2 cans (28 ounces each) pureed tomatoes (see box)
• 6 cups vegetable broth (homemade is great, but a bouillon cube dissolved in water works just fine)
• Salt and pepper, to taste

• 1/2 cup heavy cream, to make cream of tomato soup
• Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• Zest of 1 lemon


1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, stir them to coat, then place a lid on the pot and leave it for 5 minutes. Take the lid off and stir the onions. Add the garlic and cover again until the onions are soft and just starting to brown, another 2 minutes.

2. Add the pureed tomatoes and vegetable broth to the pot and stir, being sure to scrape any sticky onions off the bottom to keep them from burning. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn it down to low to simmer for about 10 minutes.

3. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the cream, herbs, or lemon zest, if using. For smooth soup, use an immersion blender to quickly puree the onions into the tomato mixture. If you’re using a standard blender, wait for the soup to cool before you blend it.

Note: I prefer to puree canned whole tomatoes in a blender or food processor—the quality is better than the ones already pureed in the can.

Find more recipes and tips for planning meals on a budget in Eating Well on 4 Dollars a Day.

Reprinted with permission from Good and Cheap, by Leanne Brown, and published by Workman Publishing. Buy this book from our store: Good and Cheap.

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