Tomato Basil Soup – Meal from the Pantry

The beginning of our Saturday was pretty terrible. You don’t realize how dependent you are on modern conveniences until they’re suddenly gone. Such was the start of our weekend. We woke up to the absence of running water.  There were no showers to be had, and we hadn’t been to the market in 2 weeks. Needless to say, food options were limited. I’ve been challenging myself to cook quick meals instead of opting for cheap and greasy delivery, and I wasn’t about to break a 2 month streak on account of the absence of running water and fresh groceries! Our pantry and freezer saved the day! I’m a huge advocate of keeping a well stocked pantry, and this is a perfect example of how your pantry can work for you. There could be a zombie apocalypse brewing outside, and I could still whip up some tomato soup and bread sticks. Hip-hip-hooray for non-perishable food.

The soup was delicious. It’s thick and creamy without being heavy, and the bright tangy tomatoes are a perfect cure for bad days, and hungry bellies alike. This recipe keeps well, and tastes even better the second day. You can even freeze it for another rainy day if you like. One can of my favorite tomatoes, some frozen (homemade) chicken stock, and dried herbs were all it took to turn my icky/stinky/grumpy Saturday around. It’s hard to be in a bad mood with a belly full of homemade tomato basil soup and pesto bread sticks (recipe coming soon!), even if you haven’t washed your hair for longer than you care to admit.

Pantry staples to the rescue! The day-savers were canned tomatoes, dried herbs and chicken stock. I was also able to make some simple bread sticks with flour, salt, yeast and more dried herbs. 

Ingredients (in order of use):

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 brown onion (chopped)
  • 2-3 medium carrots, about 1.5 cup (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2-3 cloves fresh minced)
  • 1, 28 oz can of your favorite tomatoes (As always, I recommend San Marzano)
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (I used frozen homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumb (or cornmeal)
  • 1/2 cup milk (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of oil
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Spoonful of cream (I used thinned out Greek yogurt)


  • Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot to medium heat
  • Saute onions, carrots, and garlic (if you’re using fresh) until onions are translucent and carrots take on a bit of color, about 4-5 minutes
  • Add tomatoes, broth,  and basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour
  • Blend to smooth with an immersion blender, or in batches in your blender or food processor
      • Be careful if you’re using a blender or food processor! The hot liquid can create pressure causing the lid of your device to pop off. This is why the smaller batches are important
  • Add breadcrumbs and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes to thicken
  • Remove from heat, stir in milk and allow to cool before serving

It’s really amazing that I was able to get any usable photos from this shoot! I was so hungry/grumpy that I only shot 6 pictures, and 3 of them were blurry. I usually take my time and shoot up to 30-50! Not this time though, I had not the patience for it.

Luckily this soup turned the day around. I got some decent photos, and our water came back just in time to hop in the shower, get ready and meet some friends for an evening of beer and bowling. Not too shabby.


6 thoughts on “Tomato Basil Soup – Meal from the Pantry

  1. that must have been pretty annoying – running water is pretty much the most important, next to electricity perhaps. Well done on sticking to your guns though – I never, ever use quick cook meals or whatever. This soup really does look incredible – I love the decoration, oil in the top always makes a soup look more enticing.

    • It was beyond annoying! I’m quite the girly-girl so not showering meant there was absolutely no way I was leaving the house. It was tomato soup or fast, and I love food too much to do the latter =)

      Oil does make everything look lovely. It reminds me of little suspended gems.

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