This Easy Tomato Soup recipe is so quick, tasty, and Budget-Friendly. Just 5 pantry ingredients and a quick 15 minute simmer on the stove-top. Home-made tomato soup prepared with canned tomatoes is perfect for those days when fresh veggies are limited, scarce or just too expensive. Canned tomatoes are classed as one of your five-a-day and are packed with nutritional goodness so are just as good to prepare a nice pot of wholesome soup. Our quick tomato soup recipe is perfect for vegans, vegetarians, plant-based diets, flexitarians, meat-eaters, gluten-free diets, everyone and anyone really!
Our Budget-Friendly Tomato Soup recipe is prepared with no-oil, and is low-fat, and low-calorie, as a portion is only about 52 calories! If your looking for a diet soup this is a good option as a mug of tomato soup is perfect for wholesome between-meal snacks or for evening supper-time when you need something light, but warming and filling.
Origin of tomato soup
Tomato soup is a traditional favourite enjoyed in Britain, The Americas, Canada, Australia, Europe, and throughout the world. Tomatoes originated in the Andes of South America, as the ancient Aztecs and Incas are known to have cultivated tomatoes. The word "tomato" comes from the Nahuatl word "tomatl."
Tomatoes were brought back from the New World to Europe by Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. Initially, they were grown as ornamental plants and were thought to be poisonous so were viewed with suspicion due to being part of the nightshade family, which contains many poisonous plants.
The earliest known reference to tomatoes in English dates back to 1597 in herbalist John Gerard's "Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes", where he called it the "Apple of Love" or "Golden Apple", possibly referring to a yellow variety. The previous link is to an online copy of Gerard's book over on the Archive library. You can read the section on tomatoes and flip through the book, its actually very interesting!
By the 16th century, tomatoes began to be included in European diets, especially in Italy, Spain, and France. In Spain, they soon developed their traditional chilled tomato soup - Gazpacho.
However, it wasn't until the 18th-19th century that tomatoes were finally added to British diets, and recipes including tomatoes began to be included in cookery books.
It was during the Victorian era, in the 19th century, when the Victorian interest in gardening and horticulture led to experimentation with various tomato varieties and growing techniques. Greenhouses became very popular and this provided the ideal environment for growing tomatoes in Britain's cooler, wetter, climate.
Canned tomato soup in the US
By the 19th century, preserving food in cans became popular and tomatoes soon became a staple in many households. In the United States, Joseph Campbell's company (later to become the Campbell Soup Company) introduced condensed tomato soup in 1897. The convenience and taste of the new tinned soup helped boost tomato soup into a family favourite of American households. The iconic red and white Campbell's can even became a symbol of American pop culture, as seen in the works of artist Andy Warhol.
Canned tomato soup arrives in Britain
Another canned food company The H.J. Heinz Company, founded in the U.S. in 1869, began exporting products to the UK in the late 19th century. By the early 20th century, Heinz had established a presence in the UK. Heinz's Cream of Tomato Soup, one of its most iconic products, was introduced to the British market in the 1910s. By the mid-20th century, this product had become a staple in many British households.
In modern times, many cultures have their own version of tomato soup, a common one being Spain's ''gazpacho'' which is a chilled tomato soup, and in Eastern Europe tomato soup is enjoyed with sour cream and often pasta.
In Britain, tomato soup is regarded as a comfort food and is enjoyed with slices of buttered bread or the classic grilled cheese toastie sandwich. Cans of tomato soup, such as Heinz, are popular in British supermarkets but many contain milk or milk powder and so are not suitable for vegans or plant-based diets. Tomato soup also comes in the form of dried cup-of-soup packets which only require boiling water to reconstitute, but again many contain milk or dairy derivatives.
We love a nice mug of home-made tomato soup with a crisp Scottish oatcake. Its the ideal lunch for whenever you're feeling under-the-weather or would just like a tasty quick snack. We have two oil-free oatcake recipes - Oil-Free Oatcakes and our Oil-Free Cheesy Oatcakes, as well as our main Scottish Oatcakes which do contain oil!
Home-made easy budget-friendly tomato soup
Our home-made tomato soup recipe is dairy-free, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and contains no-oil. Although we do have the optional garnish to add a little plant-based milk or plant-based cream to each bowl as this adds creaminess and deliciousness.
However, the milk or cream is not added to the soup as it cooks so this is just personal preference. For a list of different types of plant-based creams available we have a list over on our Potato, Leek, & Corn Chowder recipe posts FAQ section, and there are a few no-oil plant-based cream alternatives that you could prepare - such as cashew cream, silken tofu cream or even blended up white beans.
Our easy and quick tomato soup recipe utilises canned tomatoes which are very budget-friendly [especially if you buy supermarket own brand] and convenient, as the cans can be stored for ages.
Cans or tins of tomatoes are especially useful when there are no fresh vegetables available, or it is that time of the month before the main grocery shopping arrives, or funds are short because pay day is next week! In a nut shell, canned tomatoes are very worthwhile for stocking up with, as they can be used as the basis for many tasty recipes, including our tomato soup!
We used 2 cans of Asda smart price peeled plum tomatoes for our home-made tomato soup as they do have a nice lovely flavour.
How to prepare home-made tomato Soup
Cans of chopped or plum tomatoes can be replaced with tomato passata which is also known as sieved tomato sauce [its uncooked so is not the same as tomato sauce], and can be found on the same aisle along with the tomato products and usually comes in a carboard package or jar.
Add the two cans of chopped or plum tomatoes, mustard powder, dried oregano, and sugar to a large non-stick pot.
If using cans of plum tomatoes crush them up a little with a wooden spoon or similar so that they resemble chopped tomatoes or diced tomatoes.
Pour in the hot vegetable stock, and give the soup a good mix.
Season with salt and black pepper.
[a nice optional addition is 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder and 1-2 teaspoons of onion powder]
Bring to a gentle boil, lower the heat, and cook for 15 minutes.
Blend the soup with an immersion stick blender, or allow it to cool and then blend using a food processor or stand blender. However, blending is optional and a potato masher could be used instead to mash the soup smoother.
Check the seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and sugar if necessary.
Serve with fresh basil leaves if available, extra black pepper, and perhaps some crusty bread, dairy-free cheese scones, cornbread muffins, crackers, or a few crisp Scottish oatcakes. Or go with a classic vegan cheese toastie, or a plate of vegan cheese and crackers is always nice.
A drizzle of plant-based cream or some plant-based milk to each portion adds creaminess and extra tastiness. A sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes is also tasty.
Recipe notes and FAQ's
Store leftover tomato soup within a covered container, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or freeze for 2-3 months.
Reheat in a non-stick pot by bringing to the boil and simmering for 2-3 minutes until piping hot throughout. Or microwave until piping hot.
Yes, however do use a gluten-free vegetable stock and if you use a plant-based cream for a garnish also ensure that it is gluten-free.
In the warmer months, you might consider serving this soup slightly chilled, much like a gazpacho. In the winter, serving it piping hot with warm crusty bread, or a warm scone or a warm American biscuit, or a vegan grilled cheese sandwich.
Yes, there are a few substitutions that could be made, such as using fresh herbs instead of dried or using different dried herbs such as mixed herbs, thyme, parsley, oregano, marjoram, basil, Italian herb mix, French herb mix, etc. Also, we used ordinary granulated sugar but you can sub in your usual sugar, sweetener, or syrup. For more alternative ingredient ideas check out the rest of the questions in this section.
Sometimes, canned tomatoes can have an acidic or metallic taste so adding a bit of sugar helps balance out the flavour, making the soup taste smoother and richer. Also a little bit of sugar helps promote the tomatoes natural sweetness.
Canned chopped tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, are not only budget-friendly but also convenient, especially during seasons when fresh tomatoes are not readily available or are expensive. They're also packed with nutrients, making them a wholesome choice. Canned plum tomatoes or other varieties of canned tomatoes, such as fire roasted ones, can also be used.
If you go with a different option from canned tomatoes do keep in mind that you may need to adjust the seasonings and cooking times provided in the recipe.
1. Fresh tomatoes blended in a food processor can be used, especially ripe, juicy tomatoes. The choice whether to first blanch the tomatoes and remove the peel and seeds is personal preference, as is whether to also sieve the pureed tomatoes after blending.
2. Tomato sauce [not ketchup!] is smoother than canned tomatoes and can be used as a base. However, some shop-bought tomato sauces may have added seasonings, herbs, or sugars, so check the label and adjust your recipe's seasoning accordingly.
3. Jars of pasta sauce can be used in a pinch although they do come pre-seasoned so do keep this in mind.
4. Tomato passata (pureed sieved tomatoes) is the best alternative and we have previously prepared our tomato soup with passata, and it has the added bonus that as passata is smooth the soup doesn't need blending at the end of cooking. Although the blending is an option step.
Mustard powder, often referred to as dry mustard or ground mustard, is essentially mustard seeds that have been finely ground into a powder form. It's used as a spice to add a sharp, tangy, and a very subtle spicy flavour to recipes.
We like to use Coleman's mustard powder which is a well-known brand in the UK.
Coleman's has been producing mustard products for over two centuries and the mustard powder they produce is made from white and brown mustard seeds that have been finely ground. When mixed with a liquid, Coleman's mustard powder becomes a smooth paste.
For our tomato soup recipe adding a small amount of Coleman's mustard powder adds a nice hint of heat but it does not overpower the flavour. However, you can use a different type of mustard powder if preferred.
Yes, you can use jarred mustard in place of the mustard powder but do keep in mind a few things such as:
1. Jarred mustard, especially prepared varieties like Dijon or whole grain, can be more potent in flavour than mustard powder, so add a small amount and adjust to taste.
2. Jarred mustard has a wetter consistency than dry mustard powder but for our tomato soup recipe this is not an issue.
3. As a general guideline, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of mustard powder, you can start by substituting with 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of prepared jarred mustard, and adjust to taste.
4. Different types of prepared mustard (e.g., Dijon, whole grain, yellow, hot-dog mustard, etc.) have different flavour profiles so choose one that you like or one that goes well with tomato flavours.
To use a jarred mustard in the tomato soup recipe, just add it to the vegetable stock and whisk it in.
If you really don't want to add the mustard it could just be omitted. Or replace it with an alternative such as a few teaspoons of soy sauce, a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes, or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, or a half teaspoon of ginger paste or horseradish paste though do add a small amount of this at first as it can taste quite strong.
At the end of cooking a few dashes of hot sauce could be added instead of the mustard although this will make the soup spicer compared to the mustard.
Of course, just choose one alternative and don't add them all! And remember that an alternative won't have the same flavour as the mustard powder but will add extra tasty flavours to the soup.
Of course, as with any recipe feel free to make it your own way and add your own additional ingredients that you think may be extra tasty.
A few suggestions:
* vegan sour cream or a dollop of vegan soft cream cheese is a nice addition
* fresh herbs always make a soup extra special, such as chopped chives, parsley, basil leaves, dill, a few thyme leaves, etc
* microgreens such as pea shoots, watercress, or rocket
* finely sliced spring onions [green onions]
* some red pepper, paprika or chilli flakes
* paprika, cayenne pepper, or chilli powder
* a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
* a dollop of pesto
* fine diced sundried tomatoes
* roasted cherry or baby plum tomatoes
* roasted diced or sliced courgette [zucchini]
* roasted diced bell peppers
* a spoonful of hummus
* a spoonful of guacamole
* a few tablespoons of shredded vegan cheese
* a sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes
Yes, feel free to add bell peppers, celery, carrots, courgettes [zucchini] or any other veggies you fancy for added nutrition and flavour.
Although, do saute hard veggies until soft using either vegetable oil or a small amount of vegetable stock or broth, before preparing the soup as per the recipe.
We suggest this step because cooking some vegetables such as carrots and celery in a tomato based liquid does seem to increase the cooking time that these veggies require to soften up, as the acidic tomatoes toughen up their cell walls!
Another nice idea, especially to boost the protein content of the soup, is to add a can of cooked whole brown or green lentils, or a can of cooked beans such as haricot beans [navy beans], butterbeans [lima beans], black beans, Borlotti beans, or pinto beans.
Blending gives the soup a smoother texture, however, if you prefer a chunkier soup, you can skip this step or only partially blend. Also, if you omit the blending perhaps first mash up larger pieces of canned tomato, [especially if you use plum tomatoes] before cooking, or mash everything together at the end of cooking using a potato masher.
We love these Vegan cheese scones served with our home-made tomato soup as its a deliciously simple meal, yet very satisfying.
More budget-friendly soup recipes
We love easy budget-friendly soups that take simple ingredients and cooks them up into plant-based bowls of deliciousness. A few of our family favourites are this Carrot & Cumin Soup, and this Scottish Lentil Soup.
A few more favourites are this Old-Fashioned Cream of Swede Soup which also has a rustic crispy crouton recipe which can make good use out of stale bread, and last but certainly not least our Curried Parsnip Soup.
In the UK, around the festive periods supermarkets have their vegetable price wars, and some supermarkets [such as Asda] even end up giving away surplus veggies near to Christmas! Usually veggies such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and swedes [turnips in Scotland & rutabaga in the US!], are sold very cheaply so the best thing to do with the extra veggies is to prepare a big pot of soup!
For more soup recipes do check out our Vegan Soup Recipe collection. Which are perfect for vegans, vegetarians, plant-based diets, flexitarians, omnivores, everyone welcome!
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Easy Budget-Friendly Tomato Soup
- Non-stick pot or large saucepan, or similar
- immersion stick blender or food processor optional, as can just use a potato masher or omit blending
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes [diced tomatoes] [400grams, 14 oz cans, or use canned plum tomatoes or 800grams, 28oz passata otherwise known as sieved tomato sauce]
- 500 millilitres vegetable stock [hot, use a tomato based one if available]
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano [or dried mixed herbs, thyme, marjoram, basil, etc]
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder [or 1 teaspoon prepared mustard from a jar or bottle or replace with 2 teaspoons soy sauce]
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar [or your regular choice of sweetener]
- plant-based cream [or plant-based milk]
- Add the canned tomatoes, dried oregano, mustard powder, and sugar, to a large saucepan and stir well. Pour in the vegetable stock and season with ½-¾ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper.2 cans chopped tomatoes [diced tomatoes], 500 millilitres vegetable stock, 2 teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon mustard powder, 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- [If using canned plum tomatoes crush these up with a mixing spoon or similar. A nice addition is to add 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder and 1-2 teaspoons of onion powder to the soup at the beginning, stir these through the ingredients before adding the vegetable stock.]
- Bring the soup to the boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Blend the soup with an immersion stick blender or similar. Or use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes into the soup, or leave the soup chunky if preferred.
- Check the seasoning and add extra salt & black pepper and possibly a little sugar if necessary. Sometimes cans of tomatoes can taste more tinny or acidic than others and a little sugar helps!
- Optional: Drizzle a little vegan cream over each serving or leave a space at the top of each soup mug or bowl to pour in some plant-based milk. Stir the milk through the soup.plant-based cream
- Enjoy with a few fresh basil leaves, if available, or other fresh herbs such as chopped chives, parsley, dill or a few thyme leaves.A sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes is a nice touch and adds extra flavour, as is a sprinkle of paprika, cayenne pepper, or chilli flakes.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- This soup yields roughly 1.1 litres [1.1 quarts] of soup.
- Store leftover tomato soup within a covered container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Or freeze for 2-3 months.
- Reheat by bringing to a boil in a saucepan, lower the heat, and gently simmer for 2-3 minutes or until piping hot throughout.
- Tomato soup is perfect for a light starter or dinner, or lunch, along with a wedge of your favourite crusty bread, crackers, oatcakes, vegan cheese or plain scones, American biscuits or cornbread.
- Or enjoy with a tasty sandwich, vegan cheese & cracker plate, or a tasty vegan cheese toastie.
- A nice addition is to add 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder and 1-2 teaspoons of onion powder to the soup at the beginning, stir these through the ingredients before adding the vegetable stock.
Prepared our Budget-Friendly Tomato Soup recipe? It would be wonderful if you could pop a comment below and let us know how you got on, and click the star ratings. Sharing a photo on social media?
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Its very much appreciated! All the best, Love Jacq x