Tangy Tomato Soup with Sourdough Grilled Cheese Dippers

Tomato soup and grilled cheese are one of the all-time great combinations, though you wouldn’t necessarily think to bring it to a potluck. But why not? A couple of little adjustments like turning a whole sandwich into slices that are perfect for dunking in little cups of soup, and now you’ve got a party favorite.

This is a perfect late-summer option, when the tomatoes at the farmer’s market are at their best. With a simple but rich vegetable stock as a base, the tangy, full tomato flavor shines brightly. You can use any great-tasting tomato varieties, but we prefer full-flavor heirloom tomatoes and our favorites, late-season dry-farmed Early Girls (yes, they’re named that because they can ripen early in the season, but the intense dry-farmed version shows up at the farmer’s market here in August). We used those gorgeous red Early Girls you see in the photo, though the soup still comes out that delightful orange color.

Summer over or hasn’t started yet? Don’t worry, you can make this soup at any time of year using high-quality canned tomatoes, which would be just about as good. The stock ingredients are available year round, but for convenience you can also substitute store-bought vegetable stock, ideally one that doesn’t upstage the tomatoes; if you want to use store-bought stock, we’d recommend Imagine Foods Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth (the low-sodium variety if possible).

And of course you can use whatever cheese or blend of cheeses that suits your fancy; for a gooier option, mix cheddar with jack or mozzarella, or even go old-school with American. If you want to make the dish vegan, find a good melty vegan cheese and griddle the sandwiches in margarine instead of butter.

Or just skip the grilled cheese dippers and bring the tomato soup by itself. No one will complain when it’s the best tomato soup they’ve ever tasted.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
5 from 1 vote
Serves 16 people



  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 8 crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 lbs tomatoes or 2 28oz cans of canned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Grilled Cheese Dippers

  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 6 oz cheddar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter



  • Peel and crush the garlic cloves and set aside.
  • Peel the onion and carrots. Chop the onion, carrots, and celery (no need to peel the celery) into 1-inch chunks. Clean the mushrooms, slice off and discard the bottoms of the stems, and chop the mushrooms into halves or quarters depending on their size. Combine the onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in 5-6 qt stock pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute for a minute or two, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Add the chopped vegetables and saute for a few minutes until the onions begin to get transparent and the mushrooms start to give off some of their liquid.
  • Add eight cups of cold water to the pot along with the peppercorns, dried parsley, dried basil, salt, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let the stock cook for an hour.
  • Remove the large pieces with a slotted spoon or strain through a colander and discard. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a paper towel. You should end up with about 6 cups of finished stock.


  • Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and slice the onion into 1/8" slices. Set garlic and sliced onions aside.
  • If you're using fresh tomatoes: chop the tomatoes into roughly one-inch chunks, removing only the hardened stem area. No need to remove the skin or seeds. Set tomatoes aside.
  • If you're using canned whole tomatoes: remove the tomatoes from the can and chop into one-inch pieces and set aside. Reserve the juice left in the can for possible use later.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and onions and saute, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes until the garlic is golden and the onions are softening.
  • Add the tomatoes and salt and stir occasionally for about five minutes. Add 4 cups of stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Using a blender on high power, in batches if necessary, blend the soup until smooth. Clean the stock pot, then return the soup to the pot. Add salt and/or pepper to taste. The soup should be velvety and somewhat thick. If it's too watery, heat over medium-high heat to let it boil and reduce until it reaches the desired consistency. If it's too thick, add some of the reserved stock (and/or sauce from the cans if you're using canned tomatoes) to reach the desired consistency.

Grilled Cheese Dippers

  • While the soup is cooking, shred the cheddar and divide it evenly over four of the sourdough slices. Cover with the remaining four sourdough slices. Have a cooling rack ready near the stove.
  • Heat 1T of the butter over medium-low heat in a saute pan large enough for two of the sandwiches. When butter is melted, add the sandwiches to the pan, making sure the bread evenly soaks up the melted butter.
  • Fry the first side until golden brown, pressing down gently on each sandwich to make sure the bread is browning evenly. When the first side is ready, remove the half-done sandwiches to the cooling rack while you melt another 1T of butter in the pan. You may need to reduce the heat to the pan if it's gotten too hot. Return the half-cooked sandwiches to the pan, browned side up, and fry the sandwich as before until the other side is golden brown. Remove the sandwiches to the cooling rack.
  • Wipe down the saute pan as necessary and repeat for the remaining two sandwiches.
  • Allow the sandwiches to cool completely before slicing them into 4-5 slices each.

Taking to the Party

  • Package soup in a large heatproof container with a secure lid. Wrap lid in plastic wrap to make sure there's no spillage in transport. Bring a ladle as well as enough small heat-resistant paper or reusable plastic cups for serving. (A 5oz cup is a great size, and Dixie makes some pretty paper cups in that size.) Soup can be served warm, room temperature, or even cold for a hot day refreshment.
  • Transport cooled sliced grilled cheese dippers in an airtight container and display at the party alongside the soup.


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 537mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3053IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 2mg

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  1. Wow! Last night, I made this recipe for my husband and for my mom and it was a huge hit. With just the right bit of tang and savory flavor, mixed to a buttery goodness. It was my first time trying to make tomato soup, after working many recipes during COVID, and the directions made everything seamless.

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