Italian Herb Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

The holidays may seem long gone but winter is still here for a while.  While the sun’s been making a special appearance today, clouds and rain have mostly been gracing the skies here in Portland.

Once the 3rd or 4th day of clouds rolls around I am really ready to snuggle up in a blanket, watch a movie, and sip on something warm.  Coffee will always be my warm beverage of choice, but for health sake I try to limit my consumption…  I guess too much caffeine isn’t good for you or something.  Daaang it.

Too many veggies is never bad for you though.  Ever. I don’t think.

Too much of this tomato soup is definitely not possible.  Not with roasted garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, sweet potatoes, and tomato.

Healthy?  Yes.  Tasty?  Definitely.  Warm and satisfying on a winter day?  You betcha!

The onion, celery, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes are sauteed in some olive oil then are combined with the tomatoes, vegetable stock, and an array of spices to simmer for a bit.  After simmering, the soup takes a trip to the blender to be pureed and then its back to the hot tub to let flavors meld a bit more.  Thats it!

Well, for the soup at least.

Now its time for cheese.  And bread.  Who doesn’t like that?

Actually, I have a confession.  I’m not a huge fan of most grilled cheese sandwiches (gasp!).  Its a texture thing.  Too much melted cheese and I just can’t handle it.  It gets all gummy and weird.  Gross.

I like a thin layer of cheese.  And I like when it melts out and gets crispy on the pan.  Thats my favorite part.  My other favorite part is the bread (the only other part).  Dave’s Killer Bread is amazing.  This loaf is whole wheat and loaded with seeds.  Great flavor and lots of texture.

I used a touch of olive oil on either side of the sandwich to get the bread nice and toasty.  You could use butter.  Whatever.  You choose!

Soup and sandwich combos are a perfect lunch or light dinner for those cold, rainy winter days.  Carve some time out for yourself this week.  Make a batch of soup (and a grilled cheese!).  Bury yourself under a blanket.   And enjoy the winter cold.

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Recipe from Jess White

Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, for sautéing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped (I used two small ribs)
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sized), peeled and cut into 1-in cubes
  • 2- 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper

Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Separate a head of garlic into individual cloves, but don’t peel the cloves.  Cut the tip of each garlic clove off at the stem.  Put cloves in the center of a piece of aluminum foil.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil and place in the oven for about 7 minutes or until garlic is very soft.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Peel skin from garlic and set aside.

Tomato Soup: In a large stock pot, saute onion, celery, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add roasted garlic and continue to saute for another 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, water, spices and salt and pepper to pot.  Stir together, bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer until sweet potatoes are tender.  Use an immersion blender if you have one,  or in batches use regular blender to puree the entire pot of soup.  Return pureed soup back to pot, taste and season as necessary. Continue to simmer for at least 15 minutes.  The longer the soup simmers, the better it will taste.  Serve hot or let cool completely, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 2-3 months.  Makes about 3.5 quarts…lots of leftovers!

Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1-2 slices of bread
  • Cheese, however many slices you like and whatever kind taste buds love
  • Olive Oil, just a little bit

Cut your desired slices of cheese.  Place on bread.  Heat saute pan on medium-low heat. Brush one side of sandwich with olive oil and place in heated pan.  While the first side is cooking, brush other side of sandwich with oil.  Continue to cook on first side until cheese starts melting and bread is toasty and brown.  Flip sandwich and cook until other side is toasted.  Remove, cut in half, dip in soup.  Love it.

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One thought on “Italian Herb Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

  1. Should I let the cat out of the bag and tell people that this delisiousness will be served at my wedding?! Oh wait, too late. Well, now people will know where to get the recipe. 🙂 You’re amazing!

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