Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ina's Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This weekend has been a mix of sun, wind and rainy moments. It doesn't feel particularly fall-like, until you break out a bowl of Ina Garten's Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons--with its gorgeous colors and warm and comforting mix of flavors and ingredients. I've made lots of tomato soups on this blog, including these Tomato-Vodka Soup Shooters with Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwich Dippers and I was mostly intrigued by Ina's soup with its addition of saffron and orzo and of course being Ina, her grilled cheese is the fancier Gruyere.

I kept Ina's recipe mostly the same, just swapping in a couple of ingredients--a mix of non-chicken broth and homemade garlic broth, a little extra garlic and boxed roasted crushed San Marzano tomatoes from Whole Foods that may be my new favorite ingredient.

Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons 
Very Slightly Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof &

3 Tbsp good olive oil (I used 2 Tbsp)
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves) (I used 4 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (I used a mix of vegan non-chicken broth & homemade garlic broth)
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano (I used boxed roasted San Marzano tomatoes)
large pinch of saffron threads
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 cup heavy cream
Grilled Cheese Croutons (see recipe below)

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top.

Grilled Cheese Croutons (Serves 4 to 6)
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated

Heat a panini grill. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyère on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyère, -buttered sides up. 

Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute, and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Notes/Results: I like this soup--lots of good flavor, rich and creamy and the orzo is a nice touch. Grilled cheese croutons are never a bad idea and the aged Gruyere I bought, though spendy, gave the sandwiches a great strong cheesy flavor. Ina's croutons from her panini maker are prettier than mine from my old George Foreman grill and these aren't my best pictures, but this soup is definitely a keeper and with the bold colors and creamy goodness, it's perfect for fall. I would happily make it again.

I'm linking this soup up at I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is Autumn Hues--Ina Garten recipes featuring the gorgeous colors of fall. You can see what everyone made bu checking out the picture links on the post.

We have some good friends and tasty dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Debra of Eliot's Eats shared another great New Mexico inspired dish--Green Chili Stew with Bacon--and said, "Actually, this post is an ode to Eske’s, a quaint and quirky little pub in Taos, NM. It is a must-stop anytime we visit. It’s laid back and unpretentious. You can grab a specially crafted green chile beer here or you can dine on some wonderful green chile stew. ... This version is not the traditional green chile stew. Eske’s unique version is vegetarian based and is silky and creamy with a few carrot and potato chunks. I have to say that I think I nailed this copycat recipe here, although I did add some pork in bacon form."

Tina of Novel Meals & Squirrel Head Manor made a Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich on Cuban Bread inspired by a book and said, "I wanted to make the Victoria Sponge cake but after our vacation, I think I better cut back on high caloric treats.  It’s for the best, really (I’m telling myself this).  So I went for a favorite, this passes for pub grub in my neck of the woods. A grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich with all the trimmings. Lettuce, tomato, onions, lime on toasted Cuban bread. Served with black beans and rice and ale. Oh. Yeah."

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen brought Creole Split Pea, Red Pepper and Sweetcorn Soup and said, "It is getting proper cold now. ... This golden Yellow Split Pea and Sweetcorn Soup is enhanced with red pepper and a good dash of creole spice blend and fresh thyme from the garden."

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shared her Awesome Lentil Soup From Your Instant Pot and said, "Lentil Soup made in the Instant Pot is quick, simple, and delicious. I'm finally learning to use my Instant Pot and yes, I'm enjoying it. The more I'm using it the more I'm finding to make in it, and the more I'm loving it because it's so easy! ... This lentil soup is soothing and nourishing and now quick to make. I love lentil soup because it is a meal in itself. I often grab a bowl for lunch or use it as a starter for a light dinner with a salad, some gluten free bread, and maybe a little humus.

Linda of made a holiday and hostess gift friendly Bean Soup in a jar and said, "The ingredients were measured out and layered into the jar. I used a Classico jar that had alfredo sauce in it. There are six varieties of beans, all different colours to make the jar appealing to look at. If you can’t find the specific beans listed you can substitute other varieties. The five spices were added to a small bag. After the beans I added the vegetable bouillon cubes on top and then tucked the spice bag on top of that. Then the lid was firmly screwed into place."

Finally here at Kahakai Kitchen I made what Disrobed by Syl Tang (an interesting book on how our clothing impacts the world that I recently reviewed) called "the new blood diamond of the breakfast table"--Avocado Toast. This avocado toast open-faced sandwich is topped with labne (yogurt 'cream cheese'), lime-pickled onions, hard-boiled egg, and Everything Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend (from Trader Joes--but I linked to a recipe on the post). Delicious.

Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I'm always in the mood for a good bowl of tomato soup- this one looks delicious. Thanks for hosting and letting us link up to Souper Sunday

  2. Good fall flavors. I have some orzo so this might fit the bill. I have not heard of grilled cheese croutons before, yum.

  3. I am freezing right now and would love a bowl of that tomato soup. Such a great idea of croutons and I love the orzo addition!

  4. Oh, those grilled cheese croutons! Wouldn't they be great in just about any tomato soup your could come up with?

  5. I should make more soups like this! Looks comforting, homey and delicious, just like a good bowl of soup should be!

  6. I am quite fussy about tomato soups, but this one really appeals - moreso with the grilled cheese croutons. this is more than just soup, its a meal. As always thank you so much for hosting Souper Sunday, I am joining in again, but with a salad this time.

  7. Tomato soup and grilled cheese are an all time favourite. I am joining this week with a new recipe book, a link to a favourite soup and more.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)