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Tomato Basil Soup Recipe with Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I don’t know about you but tomato basil soup is one of my favorite soups of all time. I love how creamy, tangy and basil-y it is. I’ve made quite a few of them over the years and finally took the time to develop a great tomato basil soup recipe. This soup contains very few ingredients overall but packs a very powerful flavor punch. Oh, and I accompanied it with a grilled cheese sandwich (you’re welcome).

Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Bonus – this recipe is great for the holidays. It’s very comforting and if you double the recipe below, you’ll have enough soup to feed a small army. Or eight people. Whatever. But still it does make a lot of soup. And like the lasagna recipe from yesterday, it stores well in the fridge and makes excellent leftovers. Plus, your guests will think you’re the best ever for making them such a decadent, tasty soup. Only you will know just how simple it was. Speaking of, let’s get to it.

As the title indicates, tomato and basil play prominent roles in this soup. Since it’s not really a tomato time of year, I used canned whole tomatoes, but since fresh pungent basil is always around, I used a ton of it. I’ve really been preferring to use whole canned tomatoes in many cooked dishes. The depth of flavor is better overall. I’ve also been using Whole Foods’s 365 brand and have been very happy with the quality. The fresh basil comes from the grocery store. How I wish I would grow some, but that’s been unsuccessful so far. Springtime shall yield basil at the Martin household (hopefully!!).

Tomatoes and Basil

This soup also gets secondary flavors from copious amounts of parmesan cheese, garlic and heavy cream. Yay, dairy! As most of you know, I love full fat dairy products. They are so much tastier and actually better for you than low-fat dairy products. Remember, healthy fats ARE actually your friend. Anyway, my secret ingredient here is a little apple cider vinegar. This increases the acidity level and gives the soup a flavor edge that can’t be beat. You could substitute red wine vinegar if needed. I’ve done it both ways.

Basil, Garlic and Parmesan

This soup is pretty easy to make overall and while it’s simmering, you can get to work on your delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. I bought a French boule from Whole Foods and some pesto havarti for this particular sandwich. The pesto havarti is a perfect accompaniment to the soup (basil basil basil).

Grilled Cheese Ingredients

If you’re unfamiliar with havarti, it’s the best cheese ever for grilled cheese sandwiches and mac n cheese. It’s creamy and when it melts it’s very gooey. Using the havarti of your choice would work just fine – you can’t get the pesto one everywhere. If you really can’t find havarti, use Monterey jack or Colby Jack. Those are my next best “go-to” cheeses.

Pesto Havarti Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Finally, if you’re wondering how I got the grilled cheese so brown and crispy, I’ll tell you – butter the bread before cooking. I feel like this is common place at this point, but I’m always surprised to hear that not everyone cooks grilled cheeses that way. It makes a most-superior sandwich – especially when you’re using a good bread like sourdough or a french boule like I did here. YUMMM. Really wish I had one now…

Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwich

So now that we’re all REALLY wanting melty cheese and creamy soup, on to the recipe!

Yield: 4 servings

Tomato Basil Soup Recipe with Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This tomato basil soup recipe is easy to prepare and then simmers on the stove while you prepare the grilled cheese sandwich. Both the soup and sandwich are creamy, decadent and delicious!


Soup Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped garlic
  • 2-28 ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chiffonade basil leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Sandwich Ingredients:
  • 8 slices of crusty bread
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup shredded creamy cheese such as Havarti


  1. Over medium high heat in a soup-sized pot, heat the olive oil.
  2. Add the onions, salt and pepper and stir well. Continue to cook and stir until onions are wilted and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add the whole tomatoes, water, apple cider vinegar and basil.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan.
  7. Return to stove and cook on a medium flame for another 10 minutes to heat the cream. Do not boil.
  1. While the soup is finishing up, butter the outside of the slices of bread.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat - may take 1-2 minutes. Don't start too high or bread will brown before cheese melts.
  3. Working in batches if needed, place the first slice of bread, butter side down, in the skillet.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese on each bread slice.
  5. Top with other slice of bread, butter side up and showing.
  6. After about 2 minutes, flip the sandwich. You will continue to cook until both sides are brown and crispy and the cheese is melted. This should take around 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from skillet, cut each sandwich in half and serve with a bowl of soup.

Prep:15 minutes

Cook:1 hour

Total:1 hour 15 minutes

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