Our Favorite Fast Healthy Meal: Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe with Grilled Cheese
Last night I had planned to make one thing, but then didn't have all the ingredients I needed (I stink at planning ahead!), so rather than calling our neighbor friends to borrow something like I normally would, I decided to switch gears and make something less time-consuming anyway. This fast healthy meal literally took me less than 20 minutes from start to finish. It's a pretty basic recipe, but these days it's our favorite version of “fast food”, because it's inexpensive, simple, fast, and also…
The amazing thing about this meal is the way our kids actually cheer when I tell them what we're having. It's basically just a homemade tomato soup recipe, but my friend, Sonia, suggested we call it, “ketchup soup”. There's no ketchup in there (unless you want to add some or use it to replace the tomato paste), but I needed to make it sound more palatable for my day care kids that I took care of at the time, as they did tend to be picky, and it worked! We sometimes serve it in different colored little ceramic bowls and the kids love to dunk their grilled cheese in. Kent and I do too, actually. 🙂
Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe
For the grilled cheese…
- Your favorite bread-- sourdough bread is the healthiest bread you can eat, but we also sometimes use fermented bread from a local baker that's really good.
- Your favorite cheese-- raw grass fed cheese is best. PLEASE don't even THINK about using “processed American” or Velveeta cheese slices, those are so fake they shouldn't even be called food—cheddar or colby slices taste so much better anyway!
- Pastured butter to spread on the bread
For the tomato soup…
- 8 Tablespoons butter, again, pastured butter is best
- 8 Tablespoons --flour I like to use einkorn flour or spelt flour, or even unbleached wheat flour
- About 3-4 cups milk-- sometimes I use part milk, part cream, other times I also add in part homemade chicken broth for even more nutrients! — read about why to NEVER use ultra-pasteurized dairy — also at that post I explain how you can tell. Also, I now know how quick and simple pressure cooker broth is so I can make some mineral-rich broth more quickly in a pinch. If you just don't think you will make it or want some on hand for when you're really crunched for time, try this bone broth — it's 100% grass-fed with a bunch of gelatin, organic ingredients, and it's shelf stable! I love keeping their beef and chicken broth on-hand for quick recipes because they make it just like I do here, and without the nasty msg-like ingredients, additives, or preservatives that store-bought has.
- One can of organic tomato paste
- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes-- or fresh tomatoes from the farm market or from your garden!
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- If desired-- sometimes I also add fresh chopped or dried onions or onion powder, or other spices like thyme, basil, oregano, and maybe a bit of natural sugar. Some also like a little red pepper to give it a kick.
- Make a white sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat, add flour and whisk well, keeping heat high enough to make it bubble a little, but low enough not to burn. After it bubbles about a minute or two (and it looks like it's thicker), slowly add milk (or cream or broth) to make however much soup you think you'll need and to make it the consistency you like (some like it thicker, some like it thin). Keep whisking and add tomato paste and tomatoes. Add sea salt and pepper to taste – this is the key to making it delicious. Add in the other herbs or spices as you taste-test.
- For the grilled cheese we use cast iron pans or if we're making a lot of sandwiches, we'll use my favorite pan because we can make so many at once. I'm sure you know how to make grilled cheese, but just in case there's someone out there who doesn't (?), put cheese between two pieces of bread, generously butter the sides that are going onto the pan, and cook 'til golden, making sure to watch so they don't burn. Time them to be done about when the soup is ready.
- Serve together, of course, because nothing is better than dipping your grilled cheese into your tomato soup!
More you might like:
- Need more fast healthy meal ideas? See my list of “fast food meals” here.
- Life changes (including switching how your family eats) – 5 ways they're all the same
Sick of planning meals and answering the question, “What am I going to feed these people?” No matter what kind of eater you are… Check out these affordable interactive easy-to-use meal plans where the work is done for you! Also read over my review to see what I thought of it.
Helen Carpenter says
This is two things I have always loved.
Jenni Green says
Yum. I skip the grilled cheese but grate some into the soup with torn fresh basil, and use home-made ciabatta bread or toast to dip.
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Ooh, that sounds delicious!
Perfect! My husband is away and I’ll be too tired to do much cooking when I get in from the high tunnels. I have tomatoes I put up last year, some local greenhouse tomatoes that need to be used up, sour dough bread and a variety of cheeses in the fridge. I’ll start the soup before i go out to work. Great recipe and still being read years later.
Just made this for lunch, and it is delicious! Thanks for the recipe.
Heather T. says
Just made this for lunch and it was a hit with my 13 year old son, who will only eat progresso tomato basil soup. Paired it with homemade sourdough bread. It’s so good I can barely type, I’m snarfing mine down right now.
I’m so glad you guys loved it as much as we do, thanks for the feedback, Heather! 🙂
Great looking tomato soup recipe, Kelly. I’ve tried a few homemade versions, but they just seemed to be lacking something. Could never figure it out. This one might work to be tasty, since it’s got some stuff that I’ve never seen listed in other recipes.
Cast iron is great for grilled cheese. You don’t need much heat. Just a couple numbers above low on an electric range works well, yet not cause charring. You don’t want to have to feed the fire department if they arrive to check out the smoke cloud coming from your kitchen if you go too high, too long!
I like to chop up a couple Peppadew peppers and lay them on the cheese. They add a nice tangy heat, but not too hot. Used to be I could only find them on the olive bar at Whole Foods. Now they seem to be more common, even on the shelf in jars in places like Meijers. When both sides are done on the sandwich, I’ll cut it in half and then set the cut edges down on the pan for a couple minutes to let a bit of the cheese melt on the pan and get a bit crispy and flavorful.
Ken that sounds so good, I’m going to try it, thanks!
The soup in the photo doesn’t appear to have any milk in it. It looks so good.
Yep, but if you saw MY photo of it, you’d laugh out loud, so I used this one! 🙂
Amanda B. says
Everyone I’ve ever made this soup for just loves it. It is so good and so fast! I like to season it with just salt, pepper, basil, and sucanat. Thanks for this one Kelly!
Thanks for sharing your feedback, Amanda. 🙂
this soup sounds disgusting.. it’s exactly the same as eating tomato soup out of a can..
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Your comments and tips are always welcome! I’m going to take your advice with some organic farm market tomatoes this year.
If you don’t want to blanch the tomatoes, freeze them whole. When you take them out, run each one under hot tap water and the skins will come right off:)
Michigan Mom2three says
I just thought I’d add a tip here, if that’s okay…. on the soup. If you’d like to eliminate the cost of canned tomatoes, then, this summer – when tomatoes are in full force…. put some puree up in the freezer!
Simply blance your tomatoes, peel them, throw them in a blender and puree. Freeze the puree in 2 c quantities in quart-sized freezer bags. I put up stacks and stacks of these, and they get made into tomato soup all winter long. It is truely bliss to taste the garden when the snow is falling outside! I make my soup the same as you – start with a white sauce, then when it’s thick, stir in one bag of the thawed tomato puree. Season to taste (salt pepper, a bit of basil), and finish with stirring a bit of real cream. We eat this with grilled cheese on my homeade bread very often in the winter.
Ha! The ads that appear on this page are for those red and white cans of tomato soup, lol.
Kitchen Kop says
Yuck and it’s not even for the organic ones! I’ll see if I can remove them, thanks!