5 Spins on the Classic Tomato Soup-Grilled Cheese Combo

Fall is here, and that means it’s finally time to gather your ingredients for warm, soul-satisfying soups. Butternut, sweet potato, carrot, mushroom — the possibilities are endless, and we’re not complaining. Even though many different soups will be crafted this fall, a number of home cooks will go back to the old classics when autumn rolls around. If you’re still unsure what flavor we’re referring to, here’s a hint: It pairs perfectly with grilled cheese.

The classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combination is one that will never go out of style. We’re showcasing one recipe for the original and then four others that take things up a notch. It’s up to you whether you want to stick with what you know, or try one of these soup spins.

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1. Classic Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

As promised, here’s a recipe from Rachael Ray for the original soup and cheese sandwich combination. Creamy soup filled with rich tomato flavor and seasoned with chives, paired with a pumpernickel grilled cheese, is what fall foodie dreams are made of.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus additional softened butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 round tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) chicken stock or vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 can (28 ounces) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 8 slices Emmentaler cheese
  • 8 slices pumpernickel bread
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish

Directions: In a medium-size pot, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high. Melt 2 tablespoons butter into the extra-virgin olive oil, then add the onions, garlic, thyme and paprika; season with salt and pepper. Partially cover the pot and cook until the onions and garlic are softened, 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste; continue stirring until fragrant, 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 2 cups stock. Transfer the mixture to a food processor; add the tomatoes and process until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot and add the remaining 2 cups stock; reduce the heat and simmer while you make the grilled cheese.

Preheat a griddle or grill pan over medium heat.

Sandwich two slices of cheese between two slices of bread, then spread the outsides of both bread slices with the softened butter. Repeat with the remaining cheese and bread. Grill, turning once, until the bread is crispy and the cheese melts.

Stir the cream into the soup. Divide the soup among four bowls. Sprinkle with chives and serve with the grilled cheese for dipping.

Source: iStock

2. Roasted Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese Croutons

Next up: a sophisticated tomato soup with bite-size cheese croutons from Iowa Girl Eats. For this recipe, you want to first roast your garlic and then cook your soup before turning your attention to your miniature grilled cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 8 slices ciabatta bread
  • Softened butter
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray, then line with tomato halves, cut side up. Drizzle tomatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic cloves in foil with an extra drizzle of olive oil, then place alongside tomatoes. Roast for 1 hour, or until tomatoes are golden-brown and very tender. Cool slightly.

Unwrap garlic cloves, then transfer with tomatoes and their juices into a food processor or blender, and pulse until tomatoes reach desired consistency.

Pour mixture into a large soup pot, then add dried thyme, red pepper flakes, and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Butter one side of each bread slice, then place cheese slices on half the bread on the non-buttered side. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side out, then cook in a skillet over medium heat until both sides are very crisp and cheese is melted. Remove from heat and let rest for 2 minutes. Cut sandwiches into cubes, then divide among bowls of soup.

Source: iStock

3. Comté and Pepper Grilled Cheese With Smokey Tomato Soup

Here’s another sophisticated spin on the tomato soup and grilled cheese classic: Comté and Pepper Grilled Cheese With Smokey Tomato Soup from A Cozy Kitchen. Smoked paprika is credited with giving this soup a warming flair, and the jalapeño or fresno peppers in the sandwich keep things hot.

Ingredients:

Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced (about ½ onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of diced San Marzano tomatoes (in juice)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Grilled cheese

  • 3 fresno peppers or jalapeños peppers (or a mix)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from about ½ lemon)
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces Comté, shredded

Directions: Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until translucent and tender. Add the garlic to the top of the diced onions and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat the onions and cook for an additional minute.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, chicken stock, and stir. Cook the soup for 15 to 20 minutes.

In batches, carefully transfer the tomato mixture to the blender. Blend on low, being sure to let steam escape. Blending hot soup is a little dangerous, so be careful. When you’re done blending it all, transfer it back to the soup pot. Reheat the soup just until hot. Mix in the heavy cream and salt to taste.

Turn your gas range to medium heat and toast the chiles by turning them an inch or two above an open flame for about a minute, until they’re completely charred on both sides.

Moving quickly, transfer the chiles to a glass or stainless steel bowl. Pierce them a few times with a knife and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. This will create steam, making the peppers’ skins to fall off easily. Allow them to stand for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap, and, using a knife, scrape off the charred bits and discard. Dice the peppers, discarding the membrane and seeds. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and pepper. Fold in the diced peppers and set aside.

Take 2 slices of bread and generously butter the outsides of your bread with the softened butter. Turn the bread over and smother one slice with the pepper mayonnaise and mustard mixture. Top with a heavy hand of shredded cheese. Sandwich the two slices together. Repeat this process with the last two slices of bread.

Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in your cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When hot and melted, add the sandwich. Cook on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Flip, adjusting heat if needed, and cover with a lid. This will ensure proper melting. Cook for 1 to 2 additional minutes, and until lightly golden brown. Remove and serve immediately with warm soup.

Source: iStock

4. Tomato Bisque and Mozzarella Crostini

Next is this Creamy Tomato Bisque with Mozzarella Crostini from Eating Well. The secret ingredient in this recipe is silken tofu, and there’s also some rice thrown into the mix. (Don’t knock it until you try it.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup white rice
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 6 (¾-inch-thick) slices baguette, preferably whole-grain
  • 3 tablespoons shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions: Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in broth, water and rice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is very tender, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stir tomatoes, tofu, and vinegar into the soup. Remove from the heat and puree, in batches, in a blender. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return the soup to the pot and reheat over medium-high heat, stirring often. Meanwhile, top slices of baguette with mozzarella and place on a baking sheet. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top each serving with a cheesy crostini.

Source: iStock

5. Tomato Soup With Cheese and Bacon Toasties

Last but not least is this Tomato Soup With Cheese and Bacon Toasties from Martha Stewart. Bacon makes everything better, and this recipe, which enlists six slices of it, proves it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 large tomatoes (about 2 pounds total), cored and chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 8 slices white sandwich bread
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Directions: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion softens, 4 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and increase heat to medium high. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to break down, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add broth and 1 cup water. Simmer until tomatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes. In batches, puree soup in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to pot and simmer 1 minute; stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until lightly browned but not crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels; discard fat from skillet. Butter 8 slices bread. Place 4 slices, buttered side down, on a work surface. Top with bacon and cheese. Top with remaining bread, buttered side up. In batches, cook sandwiches in skillet over medium-low until cheese melts and bread is golden, about 5 minutes per side. Quarter sandwiches and serve with soup.

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