There’s a lot that goes into the perfect soup and sandwich combination. The flavors have to play off each other, not mask each other. The shining star element of the soup and the sandwich can’t clash, and the orchestra behind them — the flavors that build into and support the star ingredient, allowing it to shine at its best — must all work together. The sandwich can’t fall apart when dipped into the soup.
Have you ever tried to dip a muffaletta? No dice. You’ll lose all of your olive salad in your soup, totally throwing off the proportions of both the soup and the sandwich. The tomato soup and grilled cheese combo is, in many ways, the gold standard. It’s perfect for dipping, sweet and salty and buttery and acidic and creamy and bright all at once, but there are so many combinations to be had. We’re not content until we’ve tinkered and complicated things in the name of delicious food, so here you have it: 10 killer soup and sandwich combos for when you’ve pulled yourself together enough to step away from Campbell’s tomato soup and American cheese sandwiches.
This kiss melon and chorizo-manchego grilled cheese recipe from Cooking on the Weekends is, as blogger Valentina describes it, a “flavor explosion like no other.” Spicy chorizo and melty manchego and peppery arugula and sweet melon require a sturdy soup with a few flavors missing from the sandwich that don’t overpower, like in this leek, potato, and fennel soup from The Kitchn. The potato and leek base create a creaminess that plays well with the spiciness of the sandwich, while the sweet herbaceousness of the fennel twines around the arugula and the melon. The soup recipe calls for bacon, but it’s unnecessary with the chorizo from the sandwich.
Emily from Back to the Cutting Board is all over this elevated soup and sandwich combo idea with her butternut squash-apple soup and gouda grilled cheese recipe. The smokiness of the smoked gouda adds an extra level of depth to the concentrated, roasted sweetness of the soup. Even better, she says, it’s “dead easy to prepare.”
For a really hearty pair that’s comforting on every level, make this root vegetable and barley soup with bacon to go with this grilled brie, turkey, and pear sandwich, both from Fine Cooking. The bacon from the soup complements the turkey the same way it would in a club sandwich, whereas the earthy flavors in the soup are echoed by the thyme in the sandwich.
For a New York Jewish Deli experience at home, make a piled-high reuben sandwich from Serious Eats and a comforting bowl of matzo ball soup from Bon Appétit (and then go get your blood pressure checked, because you just consumed an awful lot of salt). The recipe for the reuben has you make your own Russian dressing, though you could used bottled in a pinch. The important thing is to drain the sauerkraut well so the sandwich doesn’t get soggy before you dip it into the chicken broth of the soup.
Though neither of them are particularly sleek or sexy, a thick split pea soup and eggy, pan-fried monte cristo are like an oversized pair of sweatpants: Sometimes, it’s exactly what you want to slip into after a long day. Chow.com makes it even easier by revamping the soup to be made in a slow cooker. Since you’ll be dipping the sandwich into the soup, try spreading a thin layer of red currant jelly inside the sandwich rather than dolloping it on top.
Rustic onion soup and a roast beef panini from Health.com come together to make a more complete twist on the classic French-dip sandwich. The onion soup, which is even less fussy than the traditionally rustic French onion soup, serves as a jus while the panini brings pepper jelly and crisp watercress to liven up the party.
This combo breaks the rule that your sandwich can’t fall apart into your soup, but it’s so worth it. These pulled chicken and slaw sliders from Relish are the perfect weeknight answer to slow-smoked cooked pork, and this black bean soup from the Food Network adds plenty of bacon to get that smokey flavor in there. If the sandwich falls apart in the soup, the soup can handle it.
For an Asian fusion slant to the soup and sandwich duo, try making a crispy pork banh mi and gingery chicken and pot sticker soup. The carrots and jalapenos are simmered in the soup and quick-pickled for the sandwich, and the pork in the sandwich can easily be echoed by buying pork potstickers for the soup. The ginger in the soup is a strong enough flavor that it can stand up to the powerful sandwich.
Much the same way the carrots and jalapenos worked overtime in the above combination, a big bunch or two of kale works overtime as both pesto on a sandwich and a staple in a bowl of soup. Caldo verde soup relies on thin ribbons of kale and chorizo to build Portugal’s traditional dish coming from Leite’s Culinaria. The kale pesto in the bacon, egg, and super green pesto sandwich from The Culinary Quest gets a little extra smoky kick from a charred poblano pepper, while the egg yolk adds a little extra creaminess to the soup when it’s dipped in.
We couldn’t round out a collection of soup and sandwich combos without a nod to the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese pairing, but we also had to make sure it was exactly the right one. In this tomato soup from The First Mess, tomatoes are slow-roasted and blended with soaked cashews for what Laura calls “the creamiest, most comforting and nourishing bowl of tomato soup.” To upgrade the compulsory grilled cheese, replace the tomatoes in this honey-basil grilled cheese from PopSugar with some of the ones you roasted for the soup. The honey balances the tanginess in the soup and the basil perfectly complements the roasted tomatoes.