• Kara Cushway

Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

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Pardon my manly thumb. But look at that lil grilled cheese dipper! <3

You know those questions like, “If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” You already know what I’m going to say. It would be this tomato soup and grilled cheese. So technically that’s two things, but to me they are One. I could eat this every day of my life and not get tired of it. It’s delicious.


And since it's only DAYS away from being the first official day of Fall 2019 (aka Mabon, if we're going by the Wheel of the Year, which we are), I figured, what better way to celebrate its arrival than with a big, comforting bowl of soup and some cheese on bread?


What I love about this soup is that you can eat it with grilled cheese, you can eat it plain, you can drop in a bunch of tortellini, and it’s DELICIOUS any way you slurp it. I love it any time of the year because it’s a simple, staple comfort meal that both Kyle and I love, it uses canned tomatoes, which are affordable all year long, and since it's a tomato soup, you're basically drinking vegetables. And we could all use more of those.


This recipe is inspired by and adapted from this recipe from the Gal on a Mission blog.


As you can probably tell, I left my soup a little chunky this time - depending on how hungry I am, I'll skip the blending part. But if you want a more fine-dining look, blend it up!

Tomato Soup

Serves ~10, 1 cup servings, 93 calories per serving (no tortellini), 212 calories per serving (with tortellini)


Ingredients:

Olive oil as needed

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 medium carrot, grated

1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced

½ tsp dried basil

½ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

28 oz can petite diced tomatoes

15 oz tomato sauce

4 c lower-sodium chicken stock

½ c heavy cream

Optional: 20 oz cheese tortellini


Directions:

1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and rosemary; sweat till onions are translucent, then add garlic and cook 30 seconds or till fragrant.

2. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, herbs, spices, and chicken broth. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 mins.

3. Optional: If you’d like your soup smoother, blend half of the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender BEFORE adding cream. Alternatively, you could use a food mill, but note that with this method, any dried herbs you use will not be pulverized as they would be with a blender.

4. Add cream and heat through. Serve hot, garnishing with parmesan cheese, basil shreds, and a grilled cheese sandwich, if desired.


Notes:

  • Heat levels vary depending on the type of stovetop you have. In my experience, gas stovetops require lower heat levels than electric to achieve the same end.

  • Cheese tortellini is a delicious addition to this soup. If you choose to use it, I would add it AFTER you’ve blended and BEFORE adding cream. In step 2, after bringing the soup to a boil, add 20 oz fresh tortellini and simmer 12-15 mins (or according to your pasta's instructions on the package) until tender and cooked through. You may need to add a bit more chicken broth if the tortellini soaks up too much liquid from the soup.

  • Cream does have a higher fat content than other types of dairy products. If you choose to substitute it with coconut cream or half-and-half, etc., just remember to be sure the heat isn’t too high, to prevent curdling. I always add the cream last just in case, though I haven’t had a problem with curdling when I use heavy cream.

  • Speaking of coconut cream, this recipe can be made vegan by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken broth, and coconut cream for the heavy cream, though coconut cream will lend a delicate coconut flavor to the soup. Omit tortellini and grilled cheese sandwich and enjoy instead with garlic toast made on vegan bread.


This recipe is inspired by my stomach and cheese cravings.



Grilled Cheese

Serves 1, 1 sandwich serving, ~320 calories per serving


Ingredients:

1 Tbsp butter, softened

2 slices high-quality white bread

¼ - ½ c shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese


Directions:

1. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.

2. Spread the outer sides of each slice of bread with the softened butter.

3. With butter-side down, top one slice of the bread with the shredded cheese, spreading evenly over the bread. Alternatively, you could use slices of cheddar cheese (it would take about 2 slices). Place the second slice of bread on top of the cheese, buttered side UP.

4. Place sandwich carefully in the heated skillet. Cook on the first side for 2-3 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Flip sandwich and repeat, cooking again for 2-3 minutes or until the second side is crisp and golden, and cheese has melted in the center.


Notes:

  • Check out the recipe I've been using for homemade white bread here! It’s so delicious and there’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread. For those who live near a Publix, this is a similar style of bread that you can buy from the store.

  • I like to cut the sandwiches in strips for easier dunking in the tomato soup. If you have the same cutting board you minced the garlic on, cutting your sandwich on this board will give it a delicious hint of garlic. Or you can rub a cut piece of cut garlic on the crispy surfaces of the grilled sandwich.

  • Sorry, vegans. There’s no substitute for grilled cheese. But you can make garlic bread in its place, maybe using some nutritional yeast on top for a cheesy flavor, or you can simply omit the grilled cheese altogether.


What is a recipe or food combo you could eat every day and not get tired of? Let me know in the comments below and if you try one or both of these recipes, I’d LOVE to hear how it went!

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