Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

$2.62 recipe / $0.66 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
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I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’m a little bit of a tomato soup fanatic. I’ve made several tomato soup recipes for Budget Bytes over the past ten years, but this week I tried something a little different. This Secret Ingredient tomato soup has not one, but two secret ingredients that make it ultra rich, without using any dairy, or animal products at all, in fact. This super luscious, warm and comforting, thick and delicious Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup is 100% vegan.

Five different white bowls of Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup with whole grain croutons and fresh thyme garnishes

Shown garnished with Easy Baked Homemade Croutons and fresh tyme.

What are the Secret Ingredients??

After the success of my Easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup, which uses puréed cannellini beans to thicken and make the soup extra creamy, I wondered how puréed beans would work in other soups. The cannellini beans did a great job giving this tomato soup body and richness, without having to use butter or cream.

The second secret ingredient is nutritional yeast. If you’ve never had nutritional yeast before, it’s a flakey dehydrated powder that has a slightly nutty or cheesy flavor (it also happens to be high in B vitamins!). The slight cheesy flavor of the nutritional yeast was the final magic touch that took the flavor of this soup over the top. The flavor is super subtle, but rounds out the base notes to keep the flavor deep and rich.

Can I Use a Different Type of Bean?

While I haven’t tried other varieties, I will say that cannellini are particularly smooth and creamy. I wouldn’t expect other beans to give quite as good results.

Can I Freeze This Tomato Soup?

Yes, this tomato soup should freeze beautifully. Just as a reminder, make sure to cool the soup completely in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer. It’s always a good idea to divide the soup into smaller portions for faster cooling.

A hand holding a white mug full of secret ingredient tomato soup, garnished with croutons and thyme

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Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

This super thick, warm, and comforting tomato soup has two secret ingredients that make it rich and delicious without any dairy. 100% vegan!
Overhead view of secret ingredient tomato soup in a white bowl with black rim, and a black spoon.
Servings 4 1.25 cups each
Prep 5 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 30 mins


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary ($0.03)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 3 oz. tomato paste ($0.27)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.04)
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes ($0.89)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth ($0.26)
  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans ($0.49)
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast ($0.06)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste ($0.01)


  • Add the olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper, and some freshly cracked black pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill) to a soup pot. Cook and stir the herbs and oil over medium heat for about one minute, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
  • Add the tomato paste and brown sugar. Continue to stir and cook the tomato paste mixture over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth into the pot and stir to combine. As the soup begins to heat through, add a can of cannellini beans (with the liquid from the can) to a blender and purée until completely smooth. Pour the pouréed beans into the soup and stir to combine again.
  • Place a lid on the pot and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  • After simmering for 20 minutes, add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Taste the soup and add salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp). Serve hot.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 1.25CupsCalories: 278.48kcalCarbohydrates: 44.33gProtein: 10.13gFat: 7.25gSodium: 1254.33mgFiber: 10.78g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of a bowl of secret ingredient tomato soup with whole grain croutons and a black spoon lifting a bite

How to Make Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup – Step by Step Photos

Garlic, herbs and olive oil in a soup pot

Start by adding 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a pot. Cook and stir over medium heat for about one minute, or just until it begins to sizzle and the garlic becomes fragrant.

Add tomato paste and brown sugar to the soup pot with oil and herbs

Next, add 3 oz. tomato paste (just eyeball 1/2 of a 6 oz. can, or about 5 Tbsp) and 1 Tbsp brown sugar to the soup pot with the oil and herbs. Continue to cook and stir for 2-3 more minutes.

Cooked tomato paste with oil and herbs

The tomato paste and oil mixture looks weird, and won’t really mix together, but don’t worry, you’re doing it right.

Crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth added to soup pot

After cooking the tomato paste for a few minutes, add 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and two cups of vegetable broth. Stir to combine and let it begin to heat through, still over medium heat.

Pureed white beans in a blender, from above.

Pour one 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, with the liquid in the can, into a blender and purée until completely smooth.

Pureed cannellini beans being stirred into tomato soup

Pour the puréed cannellini beans into the pot with the tomato soup and stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Simmered soup, with nutritional yeast added

After simmering for 20 minutes, add 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Taste the soup and add salt to your liking (I added 1/4 tsp). You can also add more nutritional yeast for extra cheesy goodness, if you like!

Five different bowls full of tomato soup with the soup pot and ladle at the top

It’s sooooo rich and delicious!!

Overhead view of secret ingredient tomato soup in a white bowl with black rim, and a black spoon.


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  1. This was a slam dunk. It does not taste like beans AT ALL. Just creamy tomato.

    I added a touch more nutritional yeast and salt, but otherwise the seasoning blend was perfect.

    I made a double batch to freeze some.Since my husband is celiac and my son has a dairy allergy, we can’t really do canned soup. This was so easy and great to portion out for quick meals later. Thanks Beth for the great vegan recipe!

  2. Hi Beth!

    I love some nooch in any salad, pasta, or soup I make, so I’m excited to try this! But I’m not so keen on the beans – GI issues would go haywire. Any recs for a substitution?


    1. Jasmine,

      Since we all have different GI-needs and diets, it’s hard to recommend the perfect substitute for you. However, one great idea to try would be to substitute the beans with cooked cauliflower in equal amounts. – Marion :)

  3. Just made this soup over lunch and its REALLY tasty! I might also blend the crushed tomatoes next time. Great and easy recipe!

  4. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve made and enjoyed this fabulous, nutritious recipe. I just want to thank you for it! And so quick and easy that I just made a pot in the 30 mins before school to send in my kid’s lunch. THANK YOU !

  5. This was yet another success – the soup has a lovely creamy and rich texture, really nice flavour and of course it’s great to get the protein and fibre from those beans, too. It was quick and easy to make, definitely something I’ll make again!

  6. Cannellini beans are such a nice touch to sneak more protein into the diet! This soup is so tasty, creamy, rich in flavour and most importantly soo easy to make. I’m going to enjoy this along with a veggie sandwich!

  7. I have been really positively impressed by this tomato soup, it tastes delicious and you really can’t taste any beaniness (I like beans so that wouldn’t be a problem for me, but this is perfect for picky eaters to sneak some beans in). For those who can’t find or can’t eat yeast, I think these would also work: some miso at the end or (the most Italian option) 2 or 3 anchovy fillets that get sauteed with the garlic until they form a paste. Dried porcini would also be good but they are more expensive, and they would lend a mushroomy flavor (delicious especially with oregano, thyme and rosemary).

    1. Miso is such a great suggestion! Thank you for sharing those ideas. :)

    2. How would one add the dried porcini? Reconstitute with some hot water then cook with the soup and blend at the end? Thanks!

  8. I’m a tomato soup snob, this recipe is my go to tomato soup! It’s simple, flavorful, and a huge hit with my kids and husband! Thanks Beth!! 

  9. This soup was amazing! I ended up making it for my wedding day (we did a potluck) and everyone loved it. I’m making it again this week as we’re about to get some cold, nasty weather. Thank you for another awesome recipe!

  10. Good googly moogly. MAKE THIS NOW. It’s so hearty and healthy and easy and inexpensive. The pureed cannellini beans is a shear genius addition; and the soup does not taste beany. It makes it so thick and “bisque-like” while not adding dairy or fattening cream. My BF scarfed 2 big bowls before he even finished his boca burger (It’s meatless Saturday…. and he loves bocas). So tasty and satisfying. I did up the yeast b/c I love that stuff.

    I just wish I’d made a double batch. However it’s so easy and non labor intensive, no big deal to make more. Thanks for this!

  11. Lovely soup, thank you. Smooth, silky, herby, and not particularly sweet. Everyone enjoyed it, so it’s been added to the “batch cook for the freezer” list. I used an inexpensive 2.5kg (5.5 lbs) catering tin of cherry tomatoes and scaled up the recipe, increasing the herbs a bit (no nutritional yeast) and putting grated padano cheese on the table. The beans were a mix of borlotti and cannellini. Cost wise, it came in at 42 pence ($0.58 US) per portion of 2 ladlefuls. The base mix of tomatoes and pureed beans could be adapted to other flavours too e.g. fajita spice mix, curry mix, lemon & tarragon, smoked paprika/chipotle, or bulked out with cooked pasta for a minestrone…

  12. I’m not a fan of tomato soups but the recipe was well-rated so I thought it was worth a try. It was so good! I made it for a group of friends and everyone liked it. Great recipe that I will keep on hand.

  13. I don’t like tomato soup. Yes, you heard me right and yes I meant the 5 stars. My MIL made this soup the other night and it was so so good. More savory than sweet, which is probably why I loved it. If you are a tomato soup skeptic and think they are often too sweet, I highly recommend trying this one out. You will be amazed. 

    1. That’s such a huge compliment! Thank you! :) (P.S. I like savory more than sweet in a tomato soup as well)

  14. This one’s going into heavy rotation as we head into cooler weather here in NC. It’s quick enough to make for lunch and we’ve got leftovers for tomorrow. I’m thinking a grilled cheese sandwich would take it right over the top!