My Favorite from Cafe Zupas is Tomato Basil Soup with a grilled cheese. Comfort food. Delicious, packed full of wonderful flavor and comfort food at it’s best!

If you live anywhere close to a Cafe Zupas then you are familiar with their Tomato Basil Soup.  It’s packed full of rich flavor, with the added Pesto Sauce it’s absolutely delicious.  I’m not a huge tomato fan, however, I will inhale Tomato Basil Soup because it’s just that good!  Plus I love to dunk a good Grilled Cheese Sandwich into this rich and thick Tomato Basil Soup.  Oh, a little slice of heaven especially in the cold wintry months.  YUM!

Instant Pot

Cooking with a Pressure Cooker or an Instant Pot can seem tricky, until you get the hang of it.  This Fresh Tomato Basil Copy Cat Recipe is traditionally done in a crock pot.  Using the Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker will dramatically speed up your time and you will be eating Fresh Tomato Basil soup before you know it!  It really is just that simple.

Tomato Basil Soup

How to Make Tomato Basil Soup

Dump your ingredients into the Instant Pot.  You read that right, just dump them all right in.  Well, except the cream.  Save the cream for the end. Put your Stewed Tomatoes, Pesto Sauce, Sautéed Onion and Celery, Sugar, and give it a quick stir. 

At this point, it looks like a mess of colors and not overly attractive either.  It’s thick and chunky with tomatoes, and doesn’t look that appetizing.  But trust me here, it will be delicious when it’s all done.  Then close the lid, and set your Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker to 5 minutes.  It will take a few minutes to pressure up, but after that it will cook all those wonderful flavors together to a bite of heaven.

Tomato Basil Soup

Blend Tomato Basil Soup

After the soup done cooking you can either quick release the pressure or let it release on it’s own.  It only takes about 10 minutes to release on it’s own.  Either way, won’t make a difference.  Then using an immersion blender, blend the soup up.  This will help smooth the Tomato Basil Soup to a nice rich texture. 

Blending will take a minute or two, really work through the soup and blend it to a smooth consistency.  Then add your cream.  Oh YUM!  This is where the richness of the soup are added to the creamy cream and together it’s wonderful.  The soup is piping hot, so adding the cool cream will only help it so you don’t burn your tongue when you impatiently grab your first spoonful!  Trust me.  It’s hot!

Tomato Basil Soup

Soup! Oh so Good!

Did I mention I just love Fresh Tomato Basil Soup?  Well, at this point, you will love it too.  Even my picky eater ate a bowl (shock) and said he thought it was pretty good!  This mama will take it as I thought he would only eat the grilled cheese sandwich I made to go with it.  Of course my favorite part is dunking a thick and cheesy Baked Grilled Cheese Sandwich into a bowl filled with Fresh Tomato Basil Soup.  Talk about comfort food at its best.

Tomato Basil Soup_Copycat Recipe Cafe Zupas

You can purchase Pesto sauce to use in this recipe.  There is no need to make it from scratch.  However, it’s also super easy to make it yourself if you want to.  For those that are interested, here is the quick recipe and video.

Fresh Pesto Recipe:

  • 1 cup Fresh Basil
  • 1/3 Cup Almonds (Slivered or Whole)
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Clove crushed Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil

Blend in a food processor.  Blend until smooth, or leave a little texture like I have.

Don’t stop here! More Delicious Soup Recipes!

Bread Recipes for Dipping!

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Tomato Basil Soup Copy Cat Recipe Cafe Zupas
Tomato Basil Soup
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Tomato Basil Soup (Cafe Zupas Copy Cat Recipe) in the Instant Pot

Tomato Basil Soup is a rich and hearty soup full of yummy flavor from fresh basil and pesto. Make this soup as comfort food, or any day food. It’s delicious.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 6 People


Tomato Basil Soup

  • 4 14.5 oz Cans Italian Stewed Tomato
  • 1 Cup Pesto Sauce *Make Fresh or from a Jar
  • 3 Tbs Butter
  • 3 Stalks Celery Diced
  • 3/4 Cup Onion Diced
  • 2 Tbs Sugar *This will help cut acidity
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 Cup water *Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker only

Fresh Pesto

  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil Washed and remove stems
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parmesan I do a heaping 1/3 cup
  • 1/3 Cup Almonds Whole or Slivered
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 Cup olive oil


Tomato Basil Soup

  • In a sauce pan over medium/high heat, melt butter. Add Celery and Onion. Saute’ until tender. Set aside.
  • In an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker put Italian Stewed Tomatoes, Pesto Sauce, Sugar, Salt, and Celery/Onion mixture. Add 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth. This is to add enough extra liquid so your ingredients don’t burn in your Instant Pot. If cooking in a Crock Pot, do not add extra water. Give a quick stir.
  • Secure the lid. Check to make sure the pressure value is closed. Set Instant Pot to Manual and cook for 5 minutes. It will take a few minutes for the pressure cooker to heat up and seal. Then it will cook for 5 minutes. Do a quick release to release pressure.
  • Use an Immersion Blender to blend soup to a smooth consistency. Mine is never smooth because my pesto sauce is still a little chunky which is like. Just blend up as much as you like. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can remove soup and put it in a blender a little at a time. It’s super simple and no big deal. Either way works just fine.
  • Add whipping cream and blend or stir to combine. Serve hot with fresh Parmesan. Oh so good!

Pesto Sauce

  • In a Food Processor, place Basil, Almonds, Fresh Parmesan, Garlic, and Olive Oil. Blend to combine to desire smoothness. Set aside. (Pesto can be used in a variety of recipes. Added to Alfredo sauce to make a creamy Alfredo too)
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