The 3 Spices Essential For Copycat Panera Tomato Soup

Panera may be known as a sandwich chain and even has "Bread" as part of its name, but its soups may be even more celebrated than its sandwiches. Tomato soup is a particularly popular menu item, so Mashed developer Miriam Hahn has come up with a copycat recipe that allows the home cook to come pretty close to recreating the restaurant's version.

One thing that makes Panera's tomato soup so tasty is the fact that it includes a blend of seasonings chosen to complement the tomatoes. According to Hahn, these include oregano, which is a fragrant herb that is frequently used in Mediterranean cooking; basil, an herb known for having a slightly licorice-like flavor; and red pepper flakes, which give the soup a faint hint of heat. Neither Panera nor Hahn use too much of this last ingredient, but if you are sensitive to spice, you can always reduce or omit it to suit your own taste. Conversely, you can add a pinch more pepper if you prefer a spicier soup.

You won't even need fresh tomatoes for this soup

Even though Hahn describes this tomato soup as "tast[ing] super fresh," you won't need too many fresh ingredients to make it. The herbs and spices are dried ones, while the tomatoes come from a can. (Well, probably two cans.) Hahn uses San Marzanos, but many cooks feel that this variety isn't worth the hype or the inflated price tag. If you prefer to save your money, you may use any brand of peeled tomatoes you like, even the store-brand ones. The only fresh produce you will need for this soup is the aromatics, but onions and garlic are two of the vegetables that last the longest. Garlic should stay fresh for a few months, as should onions as long as you're not storing them wrong.

In fact, not only are the ingredients in this copycat Panera tomato soup pretty long-lasting, but so is the soup itself. Hahn notes that "it will keep nice in your fridge for up to five days in an airtight container," and adds that "you can freeze it for sure." In the latter case, it will last forever and ever, or at least as long as the freezer does, although you'll probably want to eat it sooner rather than later once you remember it's in there.