I LOVE French onion soup. The broth is amazing, but what really knocks my socks off is the Gruyère and crusty bread broiled on top. I am sort of in shock that the idea has been not used more for other dishes. I decided it was time to enjoy my cheese-covered, soup-soaked fresh bread with something else. This is a lovely twist on a common household meal.

 This is how I came up with the idea of grilled cheese soup. As if this was not challenging enough, last week someone asked me if I was going to offer any vegetarian recipes. I am a 100% meat loving, milk chugging, egg frying kind of gal. I mean, bacon is one of my favorite foods. I was hesitant, however, I wanted to show my (brief) support for those who follow this healthier diet. I also have a difficult time refusing a challenge.

“You won’t stick this marble in your nostril.”

“Oh yeah? Watch me.”

That was last weekend.

Here is what you need:

So I added a bonus recipe that is meat free, gluten-free, and lactose free. The broth without the grilled cheese is totally Vegan too, if you cannot have eggs or any dairy ingredients.

Grilled Cheese Soup

(NLGM: non-lactose, gluten-free, no meat version)

(V: vegan)

For the Broth:

-1 pound of fresh tomatoes (or if you want it easy, a 14.5 can of whole tomatoes)

-1 large onion, or two small onions (NLGM add another small onion or ½ large onion)

-1 stalk of celery

1 clove of garlic

-fresh basil (optional)

-a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme

-1 bay leaf

-1 teaspoon of kosher salt

-freshly ground black pepper

-1 piece of bacon (optional, and NLGM omit)

-1 tablespoon of unsalted butter (NLGM use 1 1/2 tablespoons of Earth Balance Spread)

-½ cup of cream (NLGM use Soy Milk.. If you are vegetarian for moral reasons do not buy Silk, it is owned by a regular milk supplier so use another soy milk product)

-3 tablespoons of flour (NLGM use ½ of  a packet of silken tofu)

- 2 cups of chicken broth (NLGM use vegetable broth)

If you plan on using a can of tomatoes ignore the first few steps. If you like using fresh tomatoes, then start by boiling a pot of water.

For Grilled Cheese:

-fresh, thick bread (NLGM use Udi’s, V do not use Udi’s because it has egg white. There are a variety of bread’s without dairy and egg, please check the labels at your supermarket)

-panko or bread crumbs (NLGM omit)

-1-2 eggs (NLGM use olive oil)

-dry basil, garlic powder, pepper, sea salt, dry oregano (or whatever you like to use)

-Brie, Gruyère, or whatever good quality cheese you like that melts well (NLGM and V, there are soy cheeses available click here to choose based on your diet)

If you plan on using canned tomatoes, ignore this step. If you prefer a fresher option start with fresh, ripe tomatoes.

Tomatoes on a vine

 

 

 

Turn them over and cut an X on the bottom.

Cut an X on your tomatoes

 

 

 

 

Using a slotted spoon, place tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds.

Boil tomatoes

The boiling will help the skin come off easily. Careful not to overcook them.

 

Mine were maybe left in a tad too long, because I was distracted with taking photographs. Darn blog.

Skin is already peeling off

 

 

Use slotted spoon again to transfer tomatoes into a bowl of ice water. This stops the tomatoes from cooking more than they need to.

Place tomatoes into ice bath

 

 

 

 

Peel off the skin.

Tomatoes without skin

 

Cut tomatoes into smaller pieces, and process in a food processor until somewhat smooth.

Use food processor to crush tomatoes

Chuck Norris wouldn’t use a food processor. He would use his bare hands.

 

 

 

Set tomatoes aside. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.Melt butter

NLGM and vegans add your special soy or vegetable spread.

 

 

 

 

Add bacon. NLGM and vegans omit this part.

Bacon, bacon, bacon...

 

 

 

 

Once bacon is crispy, remove and drain on paper towel. EVERYONE add your onions, garlic, and celery to the butter/veggie/soy spread. 

Stir veggies into bacon fat

 

 

 

 

 

NLGM and vegan’s vegetables should look more like this: Vegetables cooking in soy or veggie oil spread

 

 

 

Once the veggies are soft and cooked, stir in flour. (NLGM and, if necessary, vegans can skip this step)

Flour in vegetables

 

 

 

 

 

Should look like this once stirred.Cook vegetables with flour

 

NLGM (and if vegan also does not want flour products in soup) add in you tomato, and silken tofu.

 

 

 

 

 

Stir quickly with spatula to break up tofu.

Pour in tomato and tofu

 

 

 

 

Meat lovers add in your tomatoes.

Pour in tomato

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone add your broth. While soup is cooking tie your fresh herbs together.

Chicken broth

Chicken broth.

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable broth

Vegetable broth. 

 

 

 

Bring soup to a boil. Stir in fresh herbs. Lower heat and let soup cook for about 45 minutes.

 

 

 

Now the soup needs to be pureed. If you are lucky, then you can use an immersion blender. With all of the cooking I do, you would think I had one. I have to settle for a blender. It works just fine, but requires transferring soup into blender and then back into pot again.

 

 

 

Meat lovers only, add crisped bacon to blender and chop down into fine grains.

Chop up bacon in blender

 

 

 

 

 

EVERYONE add you broth and blend.

Use a blender to get rid of chunks in your soup

 Make sure you removed the fresh herbs bundled together with a string first! Do not blend those. Ewe.

 

 

 

 

 

Return soup to pot using a strainer to keep out all of the tomato seeds. 

I suggest pouring a little at a time, because you might have to dump out the seeds here and there.

Strain soup

 

 

 

 

 

Now reheat your soup. If you eat anything add the heavy cream, salt, and pepper. If you are vegan or NLGM, then add soy milk, salt, and pepper. Add cream or soy milk, salt, and pepper to soup

 Taste soup to see if you would like more seasoning or not. Put heat at lowest setting to stay warm while preparing the grilled cheese.

 

 

 

 

Now grab your bread.

For the anything eater, I used French Boule bread. It was circular, and therefore perfect for fitting on top of my soup bowl.

Boule bread French

 

 

 

 

Pour panko/bread crumbs, dried basil, pepper, salt, dried oregano, and garlic powder into a deep dish.

Panko bread crumb mix

 

 

 

 

 

Whisk a bowl of egg, with milk, and pepper. If you like you can just use the egg.

Whisk egg with milk

 

 

 

 

Take a slice of bread, put cheese on top.

Add your cheese

 

 

 

 

 

Dip bottom in egg, then panko crumbs.

Dip into egg

 

 

 

 

Dip into panko bread crumbs

 

 

 

 

Do the same with top slice. Make several sandwiches, and place on a baking sheet lined with foil.

Place grilled cheese sandwiches on baking sheet lined with foil

 

 

 

 

Set oven on “low” broiler. Toast for about 10 minutes, then press sandwich bread down to mush cheese.

Turn over and broil other side for about 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s the NLGM’s turn. For bread and butter, I will be using veggie slice and Udi’s. Keep in mind that these particular products only work for some of you. Udi's and veggie slices gluten free lactose free, vegetarian

 

 

 

Obviously, you will not be using egg or panko crumbs.

Make your sandwiches, then drizzle each side with olive oil.

Then  sprinkle the dried herbs, salt and pepper.

Broil for about 5 minutes, on each side.

Broiled bread with olive oil and herbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now to assemble your soup. cut up one sandwich into tiny bite-sized pieces. Place in bottom of an oven safe bowl.

 

Add grilled cheese pieces to bottom of bowl 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour your tomato bisque broth over.Pour tomato bisque over grilled cheese bites

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place a sandwich on top of the soup. If you do not want a messy meal, I urge you to pour less soup in than you see here.

 I wanted more soup, so I just simply placed the bowl on top of a plate to catch splatter.

Grilled cheese on top of soup

 

 

 

 

 

Add your cheese on top. I used Gruyère. If it aint broke don’t fix it!

Add the Gruyere cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

My special diet friends do the same, just top with your own “cheese.” Keep in mind that since those cheeses are not real dairy product, it will melt a little differently.

 Add Udi's grilled cheese with veggie slices to bottom of bowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour your tomato bisque over

 

 

 

 

 

Add another sandwich, and "cheese" on top

 

 

 

Everyone: Broil soup on high until cheese is melted. Gruyere should be brown and bubbling.

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect lactose-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian grilled cheese soup (with option for vegan)!

Grilled cheese soup gluten-free, lactose-free, vegetarian.

So healthy, and still soooooo delicious.

Who know’s, maybe there is some room for soy in my eating future?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s not forget the original.

Grilled cheese soup

 

 

 

I cannot describe to you in words how INCREDIBLE this is. You will never look at a grilled cheese sandwiches the same!

Grilled cheese soup in tomato bisque broth

 

 

 

 

 

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21 Responses to Rich and Creamy Grilled Cheese Soup (With a bonus lactose free, gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan version!)

  1. Daren Gumz says:

    I wanted to check up and allow you to know how considerably I treasured discovering your blog today. I will reconsider it a real honor to do things at my workplace and be able to make use of the tips discussed on your web page and also partake in visitors’ feedback like this. Should a position appealing guest writer become on offer at your end, you should let me know.

  2. Sarah says:

    Are you freaking kidding me? Grilled cheese soup?? You just blew my mind.

  3. Michelle says:

    Just wanted to thank you for being my 100th follower! I am totally making this soup. It sounds AMAZING. Best idea ever.

  4. Lin Ann says:

    Wow, you worked really hard on this. Both look terrific! You did such a great job also with those tomatoes. Mine never look that nice when I parboil them! I’m lactose intolerant (but still eat cheese all the time, ouch) and appreciate your extra effort in making that version of your soup.

  5. Maurice says:

    very creative and durable recipe. I have to leave now, I am getting hungry

  6. Heather says:

    loooove this…girl you need an immersion blender! Best kitchen tool ever! Soup sounds amazing

  7. Wow! I love your detail step-by-step instructions! And this grilled cheese soup looks so yummy!! I love how you parboiled the tomatoes and they look PERFECT! I can tell you are very detail oriented person and I enjoyed watching how you cook (on your blog). Haha. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Yum!

  8. Berta says:

    Love the modern design. I enjoyed the content. Appreciation for the fine posting.

  9. This recipe looks amazingly AWESOME. Much appreciation for the recipe!

  10. Stopping by the Blog Hop, I am your newest follower, look forward to checking out your blog. Have an awesome weekend, April
    Aprils Lifestyle Show

  11. Michelle says:

    OK I am drooling so much right now I might just short circuit my computer! YUMMY!!!! OHHHHH YUMMY I am your newest follower from the finding new friends blog hop. I am one of the hosts! Stopping by to say hi! Hope to see ya on all my blogs :)

    http://myowngrocerygame.blogspot.com/

    http://firebutterflyjewels.blogspot.com/

    http://mommysmenuplanning.blogspot.com/

  12. This really looks heavenly! Thanks so much for the recipe. I think the family will really like this, they love grilled cheese and that soup yum! So wish I could just grab me some through the computer!

    Megan

    Following from Bloggy Moms now!

  13. Eftychia says:

    Everything looks delicious in this blog. Thank you for sharing all these with us!!!!!

  14. Mandy says:

    First of all, this soup looks absolutely amazing! :)

    I am also a new follower via GFC! I found you from the Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop. I hope that you will be able to check out my new blog and become a follower!

    http://atlantamilitarymom.com/

  15. Lilla says:

    Jasmin, read your blog is a pleasure for me! I love your recipes and your step by step photos… sei brava! :)

  16. This soup looks awesome! What a great idea. I love French onion soup too, so this is really something for me to try sometime. Your detailed instructions are really nice. Thanks so much for taking the time to give us the little details.

  17. Jasmin says:

    Hello all! Thanks for the lovely compliments. I am very happy that you like the step-by-step photos, as I believe visuals help us learn better than just with words alone.

    Feel free to email comments and requests! Thanks also for sharing your blogs I will try to visit them all if I have not yet.

    Happy national grilled cheese month!

  18. laura says:

    LOVE your super detailed instructions with pics and approaches for all eaters. :) in terms of veggie cheese, i really like daiya. going to add this bookmark to my online cookbook at http://cookmarked.com .

  19. David says:

    That was really cool and thoughtful of you to make a vegan version (especially for a recipe that seems so not vegan). I can’t wait to try it! Thanks.

  20. Alice says:

    When I told my sister that I was making this for her, the smile on her face was bigger than when she bought a designer dress for homecoming. It came out amazingly. Thanks for the recpie, Jasmin!

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