30-Minute Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • Yield: 4 servings


-- olive oil
2cloves garlic, minced
1can (8-ounce) of sundried tomatoes in oil, drained (be sure to save the oil in the fridge for vinaigrettes
1can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
1cup water
2tablespoons butter
4slices brioche or white sandwich bread
4tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
-- Fresh thyme, leaves removed


  1. Put some olive oil in a stockpot along with the minced garlic and turn the heat to medium-low. When you begin to smell the garlic—after just a minute or two—add the sundried tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, stock and water. Bring this to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and let it cook for 30 minutes.
  2. While the soup’s cooking, make the grilled cheese croutons: put 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese on each slice of bread (this will depend on how big your bread slices are), sprinkle over a few fresh thyme leaves, and top with the remaining 2 pieces of bread. Brush one side of each sandwich with the melted butter, and put this side down onto a hot skillet over medium-low heat. Let this cook until brown and crispy, brushing the tops of the sandwiches with the rest of the melted butter. Flip the sandwiches over and cook the other side until brown and crispy. When the sandwiches are done, cut them diagonally into fourths, then eighths, and finally, 16ths—now you’ve got lots of little triangles of grilled cheese sandwich croutons.
  3. Purée your soup with a hand blender (or use a blender if you want it super-smooth), divide among serving bowls, and toss a few grilled cheese croutons on top, along with some fresh thyme. 
Cowgirl Tip: Melting your butter, then brushing it onto your bread when making any sort of grilled sandwich, ensures that the browning will be even, and you won’t have those big “butter spots.” 
Recipes from COWGIRL CHEF by Ellise Pierce (Running Press, May 2012).