Nearly every Sunday in college we headed off campus and made the short trek into New London to a small, charming cafe called Muddy Waters. It was breakfast sandwiches for all of us (hello hungover college days) PLUS cups of dreamy tomato soup. There was often a big crowd and a wait for our sandwiches but the tomato soup would come out piping hot as soon as you ordered it. This become our ultimate college comfort food and often what got us out of bed on Sundays and on track to head to the library!

Five years later and still craving this soup on Sundays, I knew it was time to try to recreate it at home. I was reminded of my mission when I came across Anna Watson Carl’s recipe for roasted tomato basil soup in her beautiful book The Yellow Table. Roasting the tomatoes is an simple step that brings out the sweetness and creates a subtle richness. I’ve swapped out the cream for a vegan cashew cream and omitted the sugar from the original recipe, as cashews also lend a subtle sweetness to the soup. The result is so creamy and delicious that no discerning eye will know the difference between the original and vegan version.

This makes quite a large pot of soup (you can half it easily) but you will go through it quickly – craving it on Sundays as I do, rainy doors or just for a simple but comforting weeknight dinner. Feel free to freeze half of it and pull it out on a rainy day like today.

roasted tomato basil soup (vegan + gf)
Serves 4, with leftovers
  • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, divided, plus finely sliced basil for serving
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk

Cashew cream

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups filtered water

For the cashew cream, blend in a hi-speed blender until well combined. Add water until you reach your desired consistency (I keep it a cream like consistency to stir into soup and thin it out with more water for smoothies, etc).


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast until softened and beginning to brown, 35 – 40 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 – 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add the roasted tomatoes, canned crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup of basil, a pinch of red pepper flakes (if using) and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil.

Use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot, or, carefully transfer to a blender to puree. If going this route, make sure to cover the blender with a dish towel so the splatter does not spray up and burn you! Add water if you would like a thinner soup, then return to the stove and stir in 1/4 cup cashew cream, plus more if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy with your favorite toasted gluten free bread or avocado toast!

Keeps for two days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.