Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Vegan Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons in bowls

During my first semester in college, I gained about 25 pounds. For a short person like me who never had any prior issues with food or weight, it was dramatic. It was the result of terrible cafeteria food, too many fat free animal crackers, and definitely too many midnight dorm room pizzas. That New Year’s Eve, I resolved to get the weight off… and fast. My best friend told me that she was doing this thing called the master cleanse so, naturally, that sounded like a good idea. I’m sure you’ve heard of it – it involves a concoction made of lemon juice, maple syrup, and black pepper. Only I didn’t like black pepper and maple syrup was expensive, so instead I decided that I would just drink lemon juice mixed with water for as many days as were directed in the “cleanse.” During those first few weeks back at school, while everyone would have their cafeteria trays full of pancakes and whatever other breakfast food, I’d fill my tray with four glasses of water, sit down, and start squeezing my lemons. Everyone thought I was crazy, but the idea of just eating reasonably and sensibly didn’t make sense to my college self, who wanted to be thin NOW. Well, I was crazy and drinking only lemon juice isn’t actually sustainable (no love with those lemons), but this line of thinking stayed with me for a couple of years while I yoyo’d up and down in weight. That was until one day I learned that if I just ate pretty well and avoided crazy ups and downs, everything would be ok – and it has been.

So this year, like every year, I have no New Year’s diet resolutions other than continuing to eat delicious, wholesome food with some room for fun foods. Just like this tomato soup (wholesome) with grilled cheese croutons (fun!). It’s all vegan but I promise you won’t even know it because it’s so creamy even though there is no actual cream. We’re partnering with ALDI on this post because they carry delicious organic produce and some A+ pantry staples as well.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Because it’s winter, I intended to make this soup using only canned tomatoes, but when we got to ALDI, their organic fresh tomatoes just looked so darn good. So I roasted onions, tomatoes, and garlic which I later blended with canned tomatoes, chickpeas, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

This soup is SO good. It’s tangy from the tomatoes, creamy from the chickpeas, and so so satisfying. I’d say yes to a bowl of this every day of the winter. Jack, who is not the biggest fan of tomato soup, could not get enough.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

It’s delicious on its own, but the fun, yummy grilled cheese croutons really take it over the top. I used ALDI’s Knock Your Sprouts Off Sprouted 7 Grain Bread and their Earth Grown Vegan Shredded Cheese. I have to tell you that I’m so excited about this vegan cheese because: 1 – it tastes really good, 2 – it actually melts great, and 3 – it’s so affordable!

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Happy New Year’s soup making!


5.0 from 5 reviews
Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 medium fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced into quarters
  • 1 (14-ounce) can Happy Harvest Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
  • ⅓ cup Dakota's Pride Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Specially Selected Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon SimplyNature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, more for drizzling
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon Stonemill Crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • Heaping ½ teaspoon Stonemill Sea Salt
  • freshly ground Stonemill Black Pepper
for the croutons:
  • 8 slices SimplyNature Knock Your Sprouts Off Sprouted 7 Grain Bread
  • heaping ½ cup Earth Grown Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Wrap the garlic cloves in a piece of foil and place it on the baking sheet along with the whole tomatoes and the onion wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tomatoes and onions are well browned. Peel the garlic and transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender.
  3. Reduce the oven heat to 400° F and line the baking sheet with a fresh sheet of parchment paper.
  4. Make the croutons: Sprinkle 4 slices of the sprouted bread with the vegan shredded cheese (don't pile too high in the middle or the croutons will be too melty to slice). Top with the remaining bread slices to make sandwiches and drizzle the outsides of the bread with olive oil. Bake until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing into croutons so that the cheese doesn’t ooze out when you cut it.
  5. To the blender, add the canned tomatoes, garbanzo beans, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, thyme leaves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and freshly ground pepper and blend until creamy (a Vitamix is ideal here. If using a regular blender, just blend longer!). Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. At this stage, the soup should still be hot. If not, pour it into a pot to reheat it.
  6. Serve the soup with the croutons (some in the soup, some on the side) and additional fresh thyme, red pepper flakes, and chickpeas, if desired.
Notes
note: this soup serves 4 if you serve each bowl with 1 sandwich worth of grilled cheese croutons (as written). If you make the soup without these substantial croutons, it makes 3-4 smaller side-dish servings. Serve with a salad or double the recipe to serve more.

Make this recipe gluten free by using gluten free bread.

Special thanks to ALDI for partnering on this post. Click here to find a store near you!


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.

29 comments

  1. christine on said:

    I see my old self in your description of your college self 🙂 Funny what we can live through, eh? Thanks for the super recipe! I look forward to trying it out!

    • ha yes, I love lemons but can’t recommend the lemon-only diet 🙂

  2. Rachel on said:

    If you have room in your freezer, you can freeze quartered roma-type tomatoes from the summer glut. I grow my own, but you can get them from a local farmers market when in season. I used to can them but it is a million times easier (and less hot) to just freeze them in bags.
    I then use them all winter long for chili, sauce, soups – anything that calls for canned tomatoes, I throw them in. The best part, when defrosting, the skins will come right off. I am fine with the skins (think they add more tomato flavor) but to your taste.

  3. Ora on said:

    How would you adapt this to using canned tomatoes? Should they still be roasted in the oven?

  4. sue on said:

    Step 2 says to reduce the oven temperature to 400oF, but I can’t seem to see what the original temperature was when roasting the veggies in step 1. What am I missing?
    Thanks for another delicious recipe.

      • sue on said:

        thanks for clarifying 🙂 Going to make some right now.

  5. Amanda Wise on said:

    Omgosh this looks amazing!! And VEGAN cheese at Aldi 😱😱😱 #runstoaldirightaway I hope my local Aldi carries it!!

    • I think all of the stores just started carrying it this January – we really like it, I hope you do too!

  6. Gaby Dalkin on said:

    GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS?!?! This recipe is pure genius!

  7. Addie from thebougecruise.com on said:

    Excited to cook this this week – have been looking for a tomato soup for awhile that had complex flavor but not a boatload of heavy cream (could’ve tried coconut milk but for some reason tomato soup with coconut milk felt wrong to me – I’m sure I’m off base about that since I love a curry…) and I bet the chickpeas are perfect, plus making it an actual meal with staying power. Looking forward to this.

    • Hi Addie, I hope you enjoy the soup! I have tried tomato soups with coconut milk and it’s really good too 🙂

  8. EIleen from eileensim.wordpress.com on said:

    The grilled cheese as crotons is genius!

  9. Karin from geld-lenen-van-particulier.nl on said:

    Looks good to me! 😉

  10. Yummy..looks delicious! I’ll try this recipe..thanks for sharing!

  11. Ginger on said:

    Terrrific recipe, thank you! And what a great way to use up the sprouted grain hamburger buns in the freezer. 😉

  12. fi on said:

    Soooooh creamy and delicious on a rainy day – or any day! Didn’t have chickpeas to hand, which is unusual, so tried a couple of handfuls of cous cous instead. A bit wary putting it in blender, as don’t like to mess around with recipes too much. Seemed to work just as well. Your soups are just the best around. Thank You!

  13. Healthyly from healthyly.in on said:

    Hi Jeanine
    I just happen to come to your blog from pinterest. your images and recipes are so amazing, that I couldn’t help but write a comment. You are doing an amazing job. You just inspired me to cook more! I am definitely going to try this recipe!

  14. Andrea on said:

    Do you think a food processer will work here?

    • it’ll be a chunky soup vs. a creamy soup – I bet it will still be delicious even though the texture will be pretty different. Hope that helps!

      • Andrea on said:

        Thanks. I don’t have a VitaMix and was afraid my blender wouldn’t be able to handle it but it was fine in my blender. The soup was amazing!

  15. Mastersfoodie from Masters-foodie.com on said:

    Who knew…chickpeas. I’ve got all these things in my kitchen…no fresh tomatoes…so canned will have to do the trick. How quick and easy and I’m sure will be full of flavor. Since I’m trying to pump the brakes on my bread addiction I think I’ll add some pepitas to the top for a bit of crunch. Thanks for the post!

  16. Ashley on said:

    Hi,

    This recipe looks great. This year, I have been in such a Soup mood. I have yet to find a homemade tomato soup recipe that I want to make over and and over again. I’m hoping this will be that recipe!

    I have a question about blending. How would you adapt the recipe if you used an immersion blender rather than blending the soup in a vitamix or other free standing blender? I prefer thick soups so I do not mind if it does not come out completely smooth like in the pictures. I appreciate any insight you may have!

  17. Kristin on said:

    yum! i love tomato soup but i don’t think i’ve seen a recipe that throws chickpeas in the mix. i’ll definitely have to try it!

  18. Lyana on said:

    If I don’t have any fresh tomatoes, could I still make it? Maybe add some more canned tomatoes?

  19. Diana on said:

    absolutely delicious! We will definitely be making this soup again!!!!

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