Creamy Tomato and White Bean Soup

Comfort FoodGluten-FreeVegetarianTomato

Creamy Tomato Bean Soup without any cream! Takes only 30 minutes to make. With Tomatoes, onions, white beans, Parmesan, and basil.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

You just couldn’t resist that last crate of tomatoes at the farm stand, could you? They called to you, pick me, pick me, pick me! Well, now what?

I love the simplicity of this late-summer soup. Tomatoes, onions, white beans, a little cheese, and basil. That’s all, folks.

Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

This is a soup that spans the seasons from late summer to early fall. Add a grilled cheese sandwich and everyone will be full and happy.

You will also want to freeze a few portions for the cool, rainy and snowy days to come, when you don’t feel like cooking and fresh tomatoes are long gone.

You can use plum (Roma) tomatoes or any ripe tomatoes that you have on hand, or use canned tomatoes when ripe ones aren’t in season. Beans add body and flavor to the finished soup, so no cream is required.

If you don’t have cherry tomatoes for the garnish, just set aside one of the smaller tomatoes intended for your soup and use that instead. The garnish brightens the soup with a flash of fresh sweetness and an herby spike of basil.

This recipe has been updated January 2018.

Creamy Tomato and White Bean Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

When it's fresh and in season, basil makes a nice alternative to the rosemary in this recipe.


For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (or 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes and their juices, crushed in a bowl)
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, or homemade
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

For the garnish:

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 12 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Special Equipment:


1 Cook the onion and garlic: Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until softened.

Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

2 Add the tomatoes and beans: Add the fresh or canned tomatoes, rosemary, beans, 1 1/2 cups of water, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are very soft. Remove the rosemary sprig. Stir in the Parmesan.

Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

3 Puree the soup: In 2- to 3-cup batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth, or use an immersion blender. (Warning! The soup is hot! To puree hot liquid in a blender, only fill it 1/3 full. Cover the lid with a folded dishtowel and hold it down with your hand. Start on low speed, and increase the speed gradually.)

Transfer the soup to a pot and stir in enough additional water to bring the soup to your desired consistency (up to 2 1/2 cups of water). Taste and add salt and pepper, if you like. Reheat over low heat until hot.

4 Make the garnish: In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the basil.

Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

5 Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls, and top each bowl with the fresh tomato garnish.

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Creamy Tomato and Bean Soup

Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

More from Sally

23 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jackeline

    It would be nice if you included calories, and just to pinpoint that you forgot to say when to incorporate the parmesan cheese. Great soup! I added garbanzo beans instead and baking soda to avoid the acidity. Thank you!


    Show Replies (1)

    Just made the soup and the cheddar cheese sandwich for dinner tonight. Both turned out to be quite good! Thought the tomato soup may be too acidic for my stomach but the addition of the white beans helped with that. My son took the rest of the soup home along with a second sandwich! Oh well, there goes dinner tomorrow! Thank you Sally and Elise for sharing these wonderful recipes!

  3. Dr Lee Fudge

    I was seriously disappointed with this recipe. Maybe the word “creamy” in the title shaped my expectations. It was bland and watery. I ended up combining it 2:1 with a batch of Hungarian leek and potato soup that I had on hand just to give it some body. Still working on the spices to give it some punch. Will not be using it again.

    Show Replies (2)
  4. Michele

    I’m wondering about the acidity of this dish. I frequently get a burning stomach when I eat “from scratch” tomato soup. Do I need to add baking soda to cut the acid or do the beans accomplish that? If baking soda is needed, how much?

    Show Replies (2)
  5. Rachel

    This recipe was just in time as tomato season draws to a close in the midwest. The flavor is good but the soup was very watery. I will cut the water added down to three cups next time. My fresh basil is almost done for the summer. I chopped basil and added it to half of the soup at the end so that I would have the fresh basil in the middle of the winter.

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