tomato fennel bisque
tomato fennel bisque

Tomato Fennel Bisque with Prawns

A rich and thick tomato bisque layered with fennel and prawns (shrimp work too!). Recipe is paleo, dairy free, and gluten free (vegan optional if you leave out the prawns).

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes
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Recipe Rundown

This bisque has all the feels. It’s feel good for real food with a modern preparation that proves tomato and fennel are every bit as flavorful as any crustacean-based bisque. Take that France!

prawn bisque with tomato fennel broth

What makes this Prawn Bisque Unique (and EASY!)

This bisque is more of a winter soup because it has all the richness of classic French bisque, and none of the work. This soup has a simple vegetable base of tomato and fennel with a seafood twist at the end. Believe it or not, there’s no dairy, just coconut milk for the ultimate creamy prawn bath.

Adaptations To Try: Leave the prawns out for a vegan soup or add any seafood, such as crab, lobster, shrimp, clams, or mussels.

While this soup is fabulous as a tomato bisque, I adore the combination of tomato with prawns because … texture. What can I say? Hot broth mingled with chewy seafood commands my attention.

Do you want to serve this vegan? You can still achieve a texture contrast by reserving a scoop of sauteed fennel for an elegant presentation. You could even add some croutons for garnish.

Which Tomatoes to Buy

ingredients to make soup with prawns: canned tomatoes, coconut milk, onion, fennel, paprika, garlic

Since this is a winter soup, I call for canned tomatoes rather than fresh. You can use any brand labeled “whole tomatoes”, but I like the balance of acidity and sweetness of these Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes.

Shrimp vs. Prawn Bisque

I’ve talked about the difference between shrimp and prawns in the shrimp fettuccine post. To recap: prawns and shrimp are similar in taste, texture, and cook time. What sets them apart is that prawns have claws on 3 pairs of legs, whereas shrimp have 2 pairs of claws. You can buy either one and clean them yourself using this guide.

Whether you chop them or leave them whole is up to you and depends on the size you’re working with. If you can find tiny shrimp, you don’t even have to clean them. As a matter of fact, you could even serve the soup hot and add cool, cooked shrimp on top. If you find tiny shrimp, send me a picture #thefrayedapron, and I’ll be totally jealous…there are no tiny shrimp in the desert.

How Creamy do you want it?

One last thing to consider is that bisque is typically very creamy with some texture added at the end. I use an immersion blender for convenience and run it for several minutes, but you will get the smoothest texture in a blender.

creamy prawn bisque in pot with bright red orange color

So, how do you like your bisque? Creamy and smooth or with a little texture?

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Tomato Fennel Prawn Bisque

A rich and thick tomato bisque layered with fennel and prawns (shrimp work too!). Recipe is paleo, dairy free, and gluten free (vegan optional if you leave out the prawns).
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bisque, coconut, cream soup, dairy free, fennel, gluten free, paleo, prawn, shrimp, tomato
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 291kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini


  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bulb fennel de-cored and roughly chopped (reserve fronds)
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 28 oz canned whole peeled tomatoes
  • 13.5 oz canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 pound cleaned prawns or shrimp chopped*


  • Warm olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Stir to sweat the onion for 3 minutes then lower the heat to low.
  • Add the fennel and garlic. Continue cooking for 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook for another 1 minute.
  • Add the entire can of tomatoes and coconut milk and raise the heat to medium-high. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and blend with an immersion blender until it's as smooth as you want it.
  • While the bisque is very hot, add the prawns and stir. They only need a couple minutes to cook through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fennel fronds.



*You may leave the prawns out of this soup, which would make it vegan. Prawns or shrimp may be used interchangeably in this recipe. Leave the shrimp whole for a rustic appearance or roughly chop the prawns for easier eating.


Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 1289mg | Potassium: 643mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 371IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 4mg

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