Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheesy Crouton Topper

updated Dec 4, 2020
Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheesy Crouton Topper

This oven-roasted tomato soup is topped with homemade croutons and cheese, then broiled until the bread is extra crispy and the cheese is melted.

Serves4

Prep30 minutes

Cook50 minutes to 55 minutes

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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

We all love French onion soup for its cheesy toast topper, so why not give more soups the same craveable treatment? A pot of tomato soup practically begs for it — a cap of cheesy croutons is just a reimagined grilled cheese, after all. Here, you’ll make a hands-off oven-roasted tomato soup, pile on homemade croutons and grated cheese, then broil until the bread is extra crispy and the cheese is melted. It’s an easy, all-in-one vegetarian meal you’ll want to cozy up to all winter long.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Roasting Canned Tomatoes Is the Secret to Better Tomato Soup

By the time we start craving warm bowls of tomato soup, tomato season is a distant memory. That’s why the best tomato soups start with canned tomatoes. Here, you’ll roast a can of whole peeled tomatoes (I prefer Cento) with onion, garlic, fresh thyme, butter, olive oil, and red pepper flakes until it’s bubbling and thickened and the aromatics have softened. Not only does this concentrate the tomatoes’ sweetness and intensify its flavor, but it also means you’re not stuck standing over the stove as it simmers.

Roasting the soup also gives you time to prepare the star of the show: the croutons. Tear half a loaf of sourdough into irregularly-shaped pieces (this will ensure they have craggy crispy, craggy edges), toss with melted butter and Italian seasoning, then bake until golden. When the soup is ready, pile on the cheese, croutons, and more cheese. Because the croutons are already baked, it only takes a minute under the broiler to melt the cheese and finish the dish. With each bite, the cheese continues to melt into the soup and the bread softens, giving you crispy-creamy deliciousness until you’ve scraped the bowl clean.

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheesy Crouton Topper

This oven-roasted tomato soup is topped with homemade croutons and cheese, then broiled until the bread is extra crispy and the cheese is melted.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes to 55 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 3 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 firmly packed cup freshly grated or 1/3 cup store-bought)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Italian seasoning or dried oregano

  • 8 ounces

    crusty sourdough bread

  • 1 (32-ounce) box

    low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    balsamic vinegar

Instructions

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  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Empty 1 can whole tomatoes and their juices into a large Dutch oven, then use your hands to gently break apart and crush the whole tomatoes. Prepare the following, adding them to the pot as you go: Halve and thinly slice 1 small yellow onion. Crush 4 garlic cloves. Cut 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter into small pieces. Place 4 sprigs thyme on top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

  3. Roast on the lower rack uncovered, stirring halfway through, until the garlic is soft and the mixture is bubbling and noticeably thickened, 40 to 45 minutes total. Meanwhile, grate grate 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup) and finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup).

  4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Tear 8 ounces sourdough bread into rough 1-inch pieces directly into the bowl (about 4 cups). Use your hands to toss and coat the bread in the butter. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake on the upper oven rack, tossing halfway through, until crisp and golden-brown at the edges, 13 to 15 minutes total.

  5. When the tomatoes are ready, place the pot over medium heat. Stir the mixture to bring the thyme sprigs to the surface (be careful because the pot is hot), then discard the sprigs. Add 1 box low-sodium vegetable broth and simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping up the brown bits on the bottom and sides of the pot, until the flavors have melded, about 10 minutes.

  6. Stir in 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Purée the soup in batches in a stand blender or with an immersion blender directly in the pot until smooth. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

  7. If needed, move the upper rack to the middle of the oven so the Dutch oven fits under the broiler. Heat the broiler to HIGH. Sprinkle half the cheddar cheese over the soup. Top with the croutons, arranging them in a single layer so they cover the soup. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and all of the Parmesan. Broil on the upper oven rack until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The croutons can be made 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container. If making the soup in advance, wait to broil with the croutons until just before serving.

Ingredient Variation: For a rich and creamy soup, stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream before blending. For a chunkier soup, skip the blending altogether. Just be sure to remove the garlic cloves when you remove the thyme sprigs.

Storage: Leftovers, without the crouton topping, can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.