Quick & Easy Combo: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Like peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies, tomato soup and grilled cheese were made for each other. Tomato soup’s brightness and acidity, along with its hearty and slightly tangy flavor, are irresistibly complemented by the rich crunch of a toasty grilled cheese with a perfectly melted center. (And then there’s that gooey cheese pull when you cut the sandwich apart to take that first bite — grilled cheese’s Instagram moment!)

Our soup sherpas today are Culinary Nutrition major Victoria Gayles '24 and Culinary Arts major Jake Smith '25. Both recipes are superficially easy but can really benefit from some flavor hacks (outlined below) that can take them from good to great. Also, the tomato soup is vegan as written, and the grilled cheese can easily be vegan by subbing in plant-based butter and cheese. It can also be gluten-free by subbing in your favorite GF bread option.

Recipe: One-Pan Roasted Tomato Soup


For roasting:
8 Roma tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
4-8 whole cloves of garlic (leave the skin on; it will slip off easily once the garlic is roasted)
5-6 tablespoons olive oil (75-80 grams)
½ tablespoon cumin (16 grams)
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning (16 grams)
Bay leaf
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

For blending:
Roasted vegetables, plus pan scrapings and juices
¼ cup non-dairy milk of your choice (almond, coconut, etc.) (58 grams)
Basil, to taste
Dill, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add your roasted vegetables (tomato, carrot, onion, garlic seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and all-purpose seasoning) to a sheet pan. Add a single bay leaf; drizzle the seasoned mixture with the olive oil. (If you want more zing to the finished soup, add more red pepper flakes. Don’t overdo it, though — you can always add some to the finished soup, to taste.)

2. Roast for 45-50 minutes until all ingredients become soft. Once roasted, remove bay leaf and the greens from the tomato. Add the roasted ingredients to a blender, including the accumulated juices.

3. Add the basil, dill and non-dairy milk to the blender with the roasted ingredients and blend on high. You can blend with either an immersion blender or regular blender.

4. Ladle the soup into a large bowl, drizzling the top with a splash of coconut milk and garnish with dill and basil. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and enjoy.

Watch Victoria and Jake make the soup:

Recipe: Grilled Cheese


2 slices rustic bread (wheat, rye, French rye, etc.) sliced roughly ½” thick
1/4 cup cheese (cheddar, Gruyère or Monterey Jack)

Grilled cheese, ready to eat.DIRECTIONS

1. To prepare the grilled cheese, top one slice of bread with desired cheese; place the other bread slice on top to make your sandwich. Butter the outside of the bread so it will get nice and golden as it cooks. You want that burnished and crisp exterior, with a pillowy interior.

2. Add ghee or butter to your skillet. Fry on medium heat until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted.

3. Variation: Once the pan is hot, you can also place a sheet pan on top to get the cheese to melt faster. Once the cheese is evenly melted, remove the sheet pan and turn up the heat slightly to encourage browning.

Grilled Cheese Flavor Boosts


Roast an entire head of garlic in the oven for roughly 35-40 minutes at 400°F. To prep the garlic, peel off the outer, papery layers of skin (leave the individual cloves protected by a layer), drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of the garlic, place it on a cookie sheet or in a muffin tin, and cover the top of the garlic loosely with foil.

As soon as the garlic starts to brown slightly and get soft, it’s done. Once it’s cool to the touch, the garlic cloves should slip right out of the skins when squeezed between your thumb and forefinger. The roasted garlic can be blended into the soup or spread on the interior of the grilled cheese prior to grilling. (Any extra roasted garlic can be blended with butter and leftover herbs for a super-creamy compound butter.)


Peel a raw clove of garlic and scrape it along the exterior of the cut side of the bread that you are going to grill. This will lend it a garlicky aroma that will be reminiscent of raw garlic (but more palatable).


Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the exterior of your grilled cheese prior to cooking. The fat and egg yolk emulsion in the mayo will help give your grilled cheese a nicely caramelized surface.


Find your own preferred mix of sharp and creamy cheeses like white cheddar, Gruyère or Monterey Jack. These can be sliced or grated, but always grate your own — store-bought grated cheese has powder on it so it doesn’t melt effectively. And with so many incredible vegan cheeses on the market, it’s easy to make this fully vegan, too.

Related Recipes:

A Is for Apple Pie
Snowflake Holiday Cookies



The finished bowl of tomato soup with a coconut cream drizzle and a basil garnish.

CFIT students Victoria Gayles and Jake Smith