Tomato Basil Soup (huge batch)

Oh man, this soup is so glorious and rich. It does take a fair amount of time and cream (probably one of the reasons it’s so delicious), so we’ll often look for cream to go on clearance and then freeze it for making this soup or ice cream in the future. This soup is adapted from a deli recipe at Harmons, so get out your scale for this recipe. I’m so glad the deli director at Harmons was always happy to share any recipe you’d ask for, because everything that Harmons makes is so amazing. I did adapt it to make it a little easier and cheaper for certain ingredients, and to add chicken and pasta. This soup is fantastic when served in a bread bowl or with bread in general–dip your bread in it. Or grilled cheese. Delicious. (Also try the Jalapeno Cheddar Soup recipe adapted from Harmons.)

You can add chicken and/or tortellini to the soup, which we usually do. Take note that this soup does require an immersion blender (unless you make a tiny batch and blend it up in your regular blender). We usually make a giant batch and freeze leftovers in gallon bags, so it always takes longer to make than I think. But it’s so worth it. And it’s wonderful to have in the freezer for an easy meal or in case a friend is sick and needs a quick meal.

*This is purposely a huge recipe–we basically make it once or twice a year, fill 7-8 gallon bags, place them in metal disposable pans, freeze them in our large freezer, and eat them throughout the whole year.

If you’re making this gluten free, just don’t add the tortellini. You could potentially cook some gluten free pasta separately and put it in the bottom of each person’s bowl before adding the soup. But it’s pretty great as it is.

Make it a meal with:

  • Bread Bowls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread
  • Grapes or Jell-O
  • Green Salad

Tomato Basil Soup (huge batch)

  • Servings: About 45
  • Difficulty: medium-hard
  • Print

You need a scale and an immersion blender. Freeze leftovers in gallon bags.


  • 1/2 c. Olive Oil
  • 2 lb. Yellow Onions, diced (buy close to 3 lb.)
  • 2 oz. Garlic, minced
  • 2 oz. Salt
  • 0.6 oz. Ground Black Pepper
  • 6 c. Water
  • 3 lb. Fresh Tomatoes, cored and diced (buy a little over 4 lb.)
  • 2 large (102 oz.) cans Diced Tomato (I’ve also sliced whole tomatoes after Sam’s Club stopped carrying the large diced can)
  • 6-8 lbs. Chicken Breasts, cubed (optional) (like a pack of fresh chicken breasts from Sam’s Club)
  • 2.5 qt. Heavy Cream 
  • 2 lb. shredded Italian Cheese 
  • 2 c.+ Parmesan (like the cheap powdered parmesan)
  • 0.8+ oz. dried Basil
  • 40-60 oz. Frozen Tortellini (optional)


In a very large stock pot (at least 12 qt.), heat oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onions, salt, and pepper until translucent. Add water, fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, and basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 40 minutes or until thickened. If using chicken, cook the chicken in a separate large pan while the soup simmers. Once the soup is thickened, add cream and cheeses. Puree with a stick blender. Add more cheese, salt, or basil to taste–I often add more of all–but remember that the basil flavor will get stronger as it sits. Add chicken and tortellini at end to heat through before serving. If your pot is really full, keep the chicken and tortellini separate and add them to the bottom of each person’s bowl before serving. Or divide the soup into two large pots and add the chicken and tortellini.
To freeze leftovers: Ladle two ladles full per person into a gallon bag. We usually do 12 ladles so we get a meal plus lunch the next day. When we double the batch, we get 7 or 8 gallon bags for the freezer after our dinner and lunch, depending how many leftovers we want in the fridge. Then we place the bags in disposable metal pans and take them to the freezer.
To reheat: Remove a bag from the freezer and let it thaw overnight or microwave it a few minutes to thaw it a little. It’s okay if it’s not totally thawed. Just get it thawed enough to get in a big pot or even an electric skillet if it’s really frozen and won’t fit in a pot. Heat until it’s your desired temperature. No need to add water or anything else.




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