10 Ways to Upgrade Canned Tomato Soup (2024)

There are days when I feel like heading home to make veggie burgers or baked falafel or a whole roast chicken after work. And there are days when I don't. Like, seriously don't. Some nights, all I can manage is to make a fried egg sandwich (#blessed) or heat up a bowl of tomato soup.

But just because dinner comes from a box (I tend to prefer boxed Pacific tomato soup rather than the canned stuff), doesn't mean it has to taste less than homemade. Whenever I heat up a bowl, I always add something special—whether it's a drizzle of garlic-chile infused oil or a sprinkling of toasted nuts and fresh herbs—to give the soup fresh flavor and a home-cooked feel. Looking for an easy way to jazz up your tomato soup? Here are 10 ideas:

Add Fresh Herbs

Take a page from My New Roots author Sarah Britton and turn to herbs whenever you need a simple way to perk up a pot of soup. This simple, and cheap, ingredient can literally transform your bowl from boring to vibrant in a matter of seconds. Use one herb for distinct flavor, but if you have more on hand, rough chop and stir together with oil to create a quick salsa verde or simple pesto to spoon over the soup as an herby finishing sauce.

10 Ways to Upgrade Canned Tomato Soup (1)

Farmstand Tomato Soup with Arugula Pesto

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Add Greens

Add some bright green color and freshness to your bowl by topping it with a handful of salad greens. Toss the greens with a simple vinaigrette first and you'll have the ultimate one-bowl soup-and-salad supper. The greens will wilt slightly as you stir them into the hot soup and the dressing will help season and brighten the dish.

10 Ways to Upgrade Canned Tomato Soup (2)

Tomato Soup with Arugula, Croutons, and Pecorino

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Add Toasted Nuts

Another simple way to add fresh flavor to a bowl of soup is with toasted nuts. Try out dukkah—a spice-packed Middle Eastern nut and seed blend—or keep it simple and just toast one nut or seed. Use whatever you have on hand—almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds—adding a spice or two (such as paprika or cumin) for even more flavor. Make a double batch , so you have some on hand the next time you're making soup, then sprinkle a spoonful on top of your bowl for a pretty garnish and nice crunchy texture.

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Roasted Carrot Soup with Dukkah Spice and Yogurt

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Add Croutons

Instead of serving bread alongside your soup, try topping it with hearty croutons instead. Toast or grill a few pieces of rustic bread, or fry leftover bread in brown butter for a nutty, toasted flavor before cubing.

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Tom's Tasty Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Croutons

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Add Poached Eggs

Want to make that bowl of soup more filling? Add a poached egg for a hearty dose of protein. A touch of cumin and chile pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs will bring it into shakshuka territory.

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Or Spicy Sausage

If you'd rather take a meatier approach, try sautéing hot Italian sausage in the pot before pouring in the soup. Simmer until the sausage is cooked and the soup is infused with rich, spicy flavor. Finish with fresh basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Or Something Fishy

Prefer the flavor of the sea? Try making a quick cioppino by adding fresh crab, garlic, and fresh herbs to prepared tomato soup. Have some celery or fennel? Add that in too!

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Tomato, Fennel, and Crab Soup

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Drizzle With Flavored Oil

Another quick way to add a ton of depth to your bowl is with a drizzle of flavored oil. Don't have any on hand? Follow this easy method to make a flavor-packed garlic oil in less than 5 minutes: combine 1/2 cup olive oil, 4 medium crushed garlic cloves, and 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. of your favorite herb or spice (such as crushed red pepper flake, cumin, or dried oregano) in a small sauté pan. Gently warm over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the garlic is crispy and golden brown and the aromatics release their fragrance, about 3-5 minutes. The finished oil can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

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Roasted-Garlic Oil

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Or Flavored Cream

If you prefer a creamy tomato soup, try adding a flavored cream instead of (or in addition to) that oil. For maximum richness, try a Parmesan cream—that's heavy cream that's been enhanced with the salty goodness of Parmesan cheese. For something lighter, go for an herb cream, such as a tangy chive sour cream or a bright and refreshing lemon cream.

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Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Orange Cream

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Finish It With Cheese

The most classic of toppings for tomato soup, a simple shaving of Parmesan or Pecorino cheese—along with a few cracks of fresh black pepper—is really all you need to elevate a bowl from basic to stunningly delicious. Have a little more time on your hands? Try these simple Parmesan wafers, which also make great salad toss-ins.

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Roasted-Tomato Soup with Parmesan Wafers

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10 Ways to Upgrade Canned Tomato Soup (2024)
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