creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese


One of my all time favorite comfort food combinations is tomato soup and grilled cheese. When I was sick as a child, my mother would make this for me, using a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. Sometimes, when making the soup, she would substitute milk for water, which was creamier and infinitely preferable to the more watered down version. When I was going to law school in Los Angeles, I would sometimes stop by Doughboy’s {the name alone gives some idea of the huge portions and high calories this place is known for} after class for what they so aptly referred to as the “afternoon special” – the best creamy tomato soup coupled with a gigantic, gooey grilled cheese sandwich with Gruyère. Although each was incredible on its own, dipping the grilled cheese into the soup was absolute heaven – the toasted bread would soften slightly and absorb the flavors of the soup. Ugh – I am drooling just thinking about it.

On a cold winter afternoon when I had amassed quite a collection of little plastic tubs of grape tomatoes, I decided to make this combination. Since moving away from Los Angeles, I have attempted to recreate Doughboy’s soup at home, and believe that the secret ingredient may in fact be Thousand Island dressing, which adds a lovely creaminess and tang to the soup. And, although you likely don’t need a recipe for grilled cheese, I highly recommend starting with a pan on the stove, and then moving the pan to a warm oven to completely melt the cheese without burning the bread. Because, in my humble opinion, a grilled cheese simply needs to be gooey.



Creamy Tomato Soup

Serves 6 for appetizer portions, 4 for entree portions

  • 2 c. cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 6 c. chicken stock {or vegetable stock}
  • 1/2 c. to 3/4 c. Thousand Island dressing {depending how creamy you would like it}
  • Cream fraiche or sour cream for garnish {optional}
  • Chopped chives for garnish {optional}

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place cherry or grape tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Using your hands, turn the tomatoes to evenly coat them in oil, salt and pepper, and place baking sheet in oven.  Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until tomatoes burst.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat remaining vegetable oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute until onion is softened and a pale yellow. Add canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes and chicken stock and stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Continue simmering for about 10 minutes and then remove from heat. Blend soup in a blender in batches until desired consistency is reached. Pour soup back into pot and place over medium heat. Add Thousand Island dressing and heat until soup is warm. Serve with grilled cheese {recipe below}.

Grilled Cheese

Serves 1

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices Italian batard
  • 2 oz. Gruyère, thinly sliced

Note: this recipe makes 1 grilled cheese sandwich.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Preheat an iron skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread, and then assemble the sandwich on a plate with the buttered sides of the bread facing out.  Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet and cook to brown.

Place the sandwich in the pan and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip sandwich, and cook for 1 more minute.  Place skillet in oven for a few more minutes until cheese has completely melted.  Remove skillet from heat and serve immediately.



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22 Responses to creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese

  1. Cynthia A. says:

    What a trip down memory lane! Is there a more classic or iconic Mom meal than Campbell’s tomato soup and grilled cheese?!! Yum, yum, yum.

  2. cynthia50 says:

    What a trip down memory lane! Is there a more classic or iconic Mom “made” lunch than Campbell’s tomato soup and grilled cheese? I don’t think so (at least not based on my childhood). Yum, yum, yum!

  3. Oh my… this is a beautiful thing. Your soup looks delicious, and coupled with the sandwich? Heavenly. I had to read your sentence a couple of times… Thousand Island dressing? You have me completely intrigued, and now I need to try making it this weekend! Yum.

  4. Darya says:

    Happy New Year, Lindsay! I can’t believe how fast time goes by. I remember you mentioning tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches in a previous post (was it a grilled cheese recipe?), and now you posted the soup, which sounds creamy and delicious, and so comforting: perfect for the season! And you are right, a grilled cheese must be gooey, at least, that’s how I imagine it. I hope you are well, and all the best for the new year! 🙂

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Hi Darya! Thank you so much for the kind words! Yes, you’re right – I think I did discuss my love for this combo before – I must be running out of food memories – I am repeating them! 🙂 Hope you are doing well too, and that 2014 is off to a fantastic start! xoxo

  5. Fantastic on both counts. Of course, I’ve had these separately before but never together. Perhaps I’ll have to give it a whirl!

  6. neetukushi says:

    Classic combination! Looks lovely 🙂

  7. voilalovely says:

    This looks delicious!

  8. andmorefood says:

    I know this is classic – but I’ve never actually had this combination before! it’s not oft-found in my part of the world – but it looks delicious!

  9. My Mom made me the same thing also, Campbells Tomato, she always made it with milk so it was creamy. Grilled cheese sandwich, dip in the soup. Delicious, this such a great recipe, you have amped up the soup in such a wonderful way, roasted tomatoes and thousand island dressing, love it! I loved it with sweet hot tea with lots of milk.

  10. Your tomato soup sounds absolutely wonderful. And yes, the combination is one of those matches made in heaven.

  11. Kendall says:

    Excellent, but I would change the thousand island dressing to something less sweet and processed. It works great for the creaminess, but could be accomplished with much less sugar and perhaps yogurt or sour cream or half and half or a combination of all. Thanks for the recipe. Eating now. Cold outside.

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Hi Kendall – thank you so much for your feedback. I agree with you – I am not usually the type to use highly processed ingredients, and never ever have bottled dressings in my fridge (always make my own vinagrette), but this is just a food memory I have that I particularly love. I do think that substituting yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche would be excellent substitutions though. Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo

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