Soup in the summer? Yes, please. This one hits the spot even when it’s hot.
Tomatoes and basil are summer season stars. This soup is creamy and vibrant with slight smoky and peppery notes. The pairing with crispy grilled cheese croutons makes it super special.
Bonus – it is also super easy to make. Inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light magazine, my vegetarian version comes together quickly using a few pantry and refrigerator staples.
To make 2 servings:
In a small stockpot over medium-high heat, saute 1/4 chopped onion in a touch of olive oil till translucent.
Add 2-3 cloves minced garlic. Cook another minute stirring so it doesn’t burn.
Pour in a 14.5 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. (I like Muir Glen Organic brand.) Add 1 cup vegetable stock. Stir to combine. Add kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste. When the soup comes to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 5 minutes.
Stir in 1-2 oz of reduced fat cream cheese and a small bunch lightly chopped fresh basil leaves (~2-4 tablespoons). Taste again and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush a slice of good rye bread with olive oil. Cut in half, place one piece in the skillet (oil side down). Place slice of Swiss cheese on top. Top with the other half of bread slice (oiled side up). Put a lid over the sandwich to tent the heat (it helps melt the cheese) and lightly grill. When lightly browned on the bottom, flip the sandwich, recover, and grill the other side.
While the sandwich is cooking, pour the slightly cooled soup in the Vitamix. To keep the soup in the blender (and not on the ceiling), remove the center piece from the blender lid to vent steam. Snap on the lid on and cover the open hole with a clean table cloth. Blend on low till creamy. Don’t over blend or it will get frothy.
Cut the grilled cheese into cubes.
Pour the soup into serving bowls and garnish with cracked pepper, a few more fresh basil leaves, and the grilled cheese croutons.
- For a chunkier soup – only blend half the soup mixture.
- For a spicier soup – use canned diced tomatoes with chilies instead of fire roasted tomatoes and pepper jack on wheat for the croutons.
- For a fab Italian-esque tomato soup – use canned diced San Marzano tomatoes instead of fire roasted tomatoes, add dried oregano and thyme to the soup, and use mozzarella on focaccia for the croutons.
- For a vegan soup, use cashew cream instead of cream cheese in the soup and a vegan cheese in the croutons.