Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a classic combination that can't go wrong. I love dunking a warm grilled cheese sandwich in a hot, piping cup of tomato soup. While contemplating having this meal for lunch the other day, I thought to myself, "Why not make grilled cheese croutons to combine the two?" Of course, I didn't just stop there. Instead of ordinary grilled cheese, I decided to make it extra cheesy with an inside-out grilled cheese AND add bacon. Lo and behold, this creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese and bacon croutons delivers on all levels - comfort food at its best!
Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese and Bacon Croutons
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ small onion chopped
- 1 carrot peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 14.5 oz can tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter divided
- 2 slices bread
- 8 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 strips bacon
- Heat oil in medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Saute until vegetables have softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add tomato - Italian seasoning, stirring to combine. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Return soup to pot and keep warm.
- Heat nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Add ½ tablespoon butter and melt. Add both slices of white bread, allowing them to soak up the butter. Spread cheese on one side of the bread. Top with 3 slices of bacon per sandwich followed by more cheese. Stack the other slice of bread on top, buttered side facing up. Spread cheese on top of the bread and cook until golden brown on the bottom.
- Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Flip the sandwich over and spread cheese on the top of the bread. Continue to cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Flip sandwich over once more and let cheese on the outside caramelize and get crispy. Remove sandwich from the pan. Cut into bite size pieces. Ladle soup into bowls and top with grilled cheese and bacon croutons.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Everyone knows that a grilled cheese sandwich is simply that, cheese and bread. To make the best grilled cheese, you want to use extra sharp cheddar cheese and white bread. Always choose the cheese blocks and grate them yourself if you can. It's just better, trust me. I used brioche bread for my croutons but you can use sourdough, Pullman bread, even garlic bread if you want to be extra fancy.
While the tomato soup is cooking, make the grilled cheese. Slather one side of each of the bread with a good amount of butter. Place the cheese in the center followed by bacon, the remaining slice of bread, and extra cheese on top. Carefully place the sandwich on a warm griddle or non-stick pan and cook over medium heat.
Don't be afraid of the cheese that falls to the bottom of the pan. The cheese will crisp up around the bottom of the sandwich, creating an extra crust. Once the bottom becomes nice and golden, flip and cook it on the other side.
If you want to skip the tomato soup, you can enjoy the grilled cheese itself for a great sandwich. Otherwise, cut the grilled cheese into bite-size pieces and complete the tomato soup with grilled cheese and bacon croutons. Although this dish sounds heavy, the light tomato soup perfectly balances the heartier sandwich. The perfect dish to warm you up on chilly days and fill you up!
For more soup inspiration check out this spicy Tuscan soup!