Tomato Bisque With Grilled Cheese Croutons: The Ultimate Comfort Food
When someone says the words “tomato soup and grilled cheese,” to me, I immediately start feeling warm and cozy. I cannot think of a food that fits into the category of comfort food more. Thinking back to my childhood , I remember how satisfying it was to eat a steaming bowl of tomato soup on a cold night. I always had a simple grilled cheese sandwich on the side. My mom lovingly cut my grilled cheese into triangles that were perfect for dipping. I can taste them now.
I began Trendgredient as my love letter to food. Over the last few months, it has become apparent to me that it isn’t just a love letter to any food. Trendgredient is my love letter to comfort food and the nostalgia that I feel when I sink my teeth into a memory. A reader pointed out to me that my recipes take comfort food and add sophistication. Sophisticated or not, sharing food with the world has become my lifelong passion. I have a long history with food and cooking, which is detailed in my About Trendgredient page. For now, though, I will just continue to chew on this concept of bringing sophisticated comfort food to the masses.
Why Is It Called A Bisque?
You might be wondering why I am referring to my soup as a “bisque.” Yes, it does sound fancier, but there is a culinary reason for this, as well. The difference between a bisque and a soup is that a bisque is usually creamy. Bisques often contain cream or milk in the base, which adds a velvety richness that you don’t find in soup. This is why chunky vegetable soup is called soup and my tomato bisque is called a bisque.
Grilled Cheese Croutons: A New Idea
I love grilled cheese. When I was a kid, a white bread sandwich with melty American cheese was my food of choice. I have changed over the years, though. Don’t get me wrong: an American cheese grilled cheese is still excellent. My question to you is: Have you ever made a grilled cheese sandwich with gruyère cheese? Salty, nutty, gooey, oozy gruyère? If you haven’t, you need to stop right now and add gruyère to your grocery list. You will not be sorry.
Believe it or not, being a food blogger isn’t the best job when trying to maintain a narrow waistline. There is a lot of testing, tasting, re-testing, re-tasting, re-re-testing, re-re-tasting… you get my drift… So, when I was developing my tomato bisque recipe, I decided to come up with a way to enjoy the comforting flavors of grilled cheese without having a carb bomb. A grilled cheese crouton is a great way to cut the carbs in this meal. You can also take the recipe below and make sandwiches just as easily. It is up to you – flexibility is one thing I love when I am cooking!
Variations On This Recipe
This recipe is already vegetarian. Yay! There are several other options that will enable you to adjust the recipe to fit certain dietary needs.
- If you are on the keto diet, the soup is a very good keto option. I would steer clear of the grilled cheese croutons and garnish with a parmesan frico (aka a parmesan crisp).
- If you live a vegan or paleo lifestyle, you can easily adapt this dish by omitting the heavy cream. The result would be a delicious tomato soup, not a bisque. You obviously would want to omit the cheese sandwich, as well.
There are many opportunities to be flexible with this recipe. The result is delicious and comforting either way!
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All of my posts contain my recommendations for essential tools. I have researched these tools. Many of them are already in my kitchen. The ones that are not come highly rated. I do the research so you don’t have to and I only recommend high-quality tools.
If you are just starting to furnish your kitchen with tools or if you are looking to expand your kitchen toolkit, be sure to reference Expert Guide: Equip Your Kitchen for Less Than $200. This guide contains links to all of the equipment items I recommend for a basic kitchen set up.
My essential tools when making this tomato bisque recipe include the following:
Tomato Bisque With Grilled Cheese Croutons
For the Tomato Bisque
- 4 lbs. tomatoes (I like a variety – beefsteak, Roma, grape, etc.) chopped into 1" chunks
- 2 large yellow onions chopped into 1" chunks
- 6 cloves garlic whole
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1-2 tsp. black pepper depending on your taste
- 32 oz. vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 3 bay leaves whole
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Grilled Cheese Croutons
- 12 slices sourdough bread
- 6 oz. gruyere cheese shredded
- 1 stick butter salted, softened
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with clean hands or a large spoon until everything has a light coating of olive oil.
- Divide tomato mixture between two sheet pans. Roast tomato mixture in 350°F oven for 1 hour.
- While tomatoes are roasting, begin working on the grilled cheese croutons.
- Spread one side of each slice of bread with about 1 tbsp. softened butter. Sprinkle 1/6 of the shredded gruyere cheese between two slices of bread, butter side out. Repeat this step to assemble six sandwiches total.
- Heat a skillet on medium heat on the stove. Place a sandwich in the skillet and cook each side until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted (about 3-4 minutes each side). Repeat with each assembled sandwich.
- Allow sandwiches to cool. To make the croutons, cut each sandwich into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
- When tomatoes are finished roasting, transfer mixture into a large stockpot. Add vegetable stock and basil.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the tomatoes, stock, and basil until the mixture is smooth and there are no chunks.
- Add 3 bay leaves, turn stove to high heat, and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer soup for 15 minutes.
- Add cream, taste (carefully!), and add salt/pepper to taste, as needed. Remove bay leaves.
- Pour tomato bisque in a bowl and garnish with 3-4 grilled cheese croutons. Serve and enjoy!