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Copycat Zupas Tomato Basil Soup

Servings 24 (1-cup) servings


Classic Pesto:

  • 4 oz fresh basil (Around 2 cups, packed; I bought two 2oz containers available at my store.)
  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 5 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pure olive oil


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 6 to 7 stalks celery, diced (around 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, diced (around 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 (28oz) cans whole tomatoes peeled with juices (do not drain)
  • 1 quart half & half
  • Salt, to taste


  • For the Pesto:Wash and dry the fresh basil and blend it together with the other pesto ingredients in a food processor. For more tips and details, visit my post for Classic Pesto.
  • For the Soup:In a large stock pot, melt the butter.
  • Add diced celery and onions. Cook until translucent. Transfer to a 6-quart or 8-quart slow cooker. (I had to split mine into a 2-quart and 4-quart slow cooker since that's all I had.)
  • Add the pesto, whole tomatoes with juices, and dried oregano. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Stir in half & half and let it heat through, another 15 to 30 minutes, or serve immediately as is. Add salt to taste, if needed.


*Optional: Serve with 1 to 1½ cups dry orzo, cooked according to package directions; about 9 to 10 minutes.
**Consider halving the recipe if you're not feeding a crowd. This recipe makes A LOT!
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