The weather in Southern California is cooling down and we’re experiencing a few days of rain. It’s the perfect weather to cozy up with a warm and comforting bowl of tomato soup and a hot grilled cheese sandwich. This is exactly what I did last week for lunch. I headed to Panera Bread for a bowl of vegetarian creamy tomato soup and a “big kid grilled cheese”. The tomato soup is smooth and velvety. There are hints of oregano and red pepper, but the best part is the crunchy Asiago cheese croutons. If you’re wondering what a “big kid grilled cheese” is, it’s a scrumptious grilled cheese vamped up with lots of big and bold flavors. Gruyere, Vermont White Cheddar, organic sliced American cheese and Applewood- Smoked Bacon are sandwiched between two slices of All-Natural White Miche and grilled until crusty on the outside and gooey on the inside. It’s compliments the creamy tomato soup and makes for a wonderful vehicle to dip. Panera Bread has a philosophy of “Good goes in” and you can taste it in this soup and grilled cheese. I was inspired to make this comforting meal for Derrick this week. I’ve always wanted to make my own tomato soup. It’s a good feeling knowing exactly what you’re eating and that you made it with good fresh ingredients.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Prep: 20 minutes Cook time: 60 minutes Serves: 4 to 6
1 lb of heirloom tomatoes (I use mini heirlooms and leave them whole, if you use large heirlooms, quarter the tomatoes)
2 lbs of plum tomatoes, quartered
2 red bell peppers, cored and quartered
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 large onion, sliced
½ C olive oil
sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper
2 14 oz cans of chicken broth
2 bay leaves
4 Tbs butter
½ C fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
½ C heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 450º, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic and onions onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes on the middle oven rack.
- Place roasted vegetables into a large pot, cover with chicken broth, add bay leaves and butter and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and add basil leaves. Using a blender or immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. Add cream and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Serve with a sprinkling of Asiago cheese, fresh ground pepper and basil or a warm grilled cheese sandwich.
FTC Disclosure: I was compensated for my meal and for my time and efforts for this post by the DailyBuzz Food Tastemakers program; however, all opinions expressed above are my own.
Wow, this looks really good…i want to try it. haha, I love tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, BUT I’ve never had them together. never thought of it. Now i really want to try it 🙂
This is an AMAZING tomato soup! Tastes better than panera’s if you make it right.
-Add all sorts of other vegetables
-Roast them longer
-Don’t add as much chicken broth – use only 1/2-2/3 of what the recipe calls for, it’s too liquidy otherwise
-Also cut back a tad on the heavy cream (you don’t want to lose all the flavors)
-Double, even triple the amount of basil (if you’re a basil nut like myself)
-The soup tastes best if you let it sit and absorb all the flavors. So simmer the veggies and broth for more than 20 minutes. And after blending everything, you can let the soup sit for hours, the longer the better.
Made this just now for dinner but I halved the recipe since I’m just cooking for me and took serena’s suggestions. It tastes almost exactly like the one at Panera! I added about 1/4 c. of Italian blend cheeses (mozzerella, asiago, parmesan) and it helped make it a tad more creamy/rich as well as 1/4 tsp of oregano.
I’m a novice cook and this was simple, not much knife skill needed (which was perfect), and I shall enjoy this throughout the rest of the week! Thank you!
Quynh: It’s a match made in heaven! 🙂
Serena: Thanks for sharing your tips!
Angie: So glad you tried the recipe and made it your own!