It gets dark now at like 4PM here in New Jersey. I honestly see about an hour of sunlight a day between my drive to work and my lunch break, if I’m lucky. November is rough.
It’s this time of year that I have to look elsewhere for a little sunshine in my life, metaphorically speaking. What can cheer me up almost as well as rays of sun warming my face? Big bowls of comfort food filling my belly.
Keeping this in mind, I decided on one particularly dreary day that I needed something soothing in my stomach. Not just anything. I needed the ultimate comfort food combo– I was going to throw all of my favorite foods of the season together to make Mac n’ Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup. Yes, Macaroni and cheese plus grilled cheese plus tomato soup. Just the thought of it makes my heart happy.
I started with a tasty tomato soup base and added a bunch of cheddar cheese and some greek yogurt. Once I felt it was sufficiently cheesy and creamy, I pan fried some bread in butter to make little croutons that resembled the taste and texture of the bread from grilled cheese sandwiches.
Then I tried very hard not to eat all of them. It was difficult. Warm, crispy, buttery cubes of bread are nearly impossible to resist.
I cooked some macaroni and mixed it in, because, let’s be honest, carbs are the key to comfort.
On top, I sprinkled whatever croutons I managed not to eat, as well as some extra cheddar cheese and a bit of torn basil. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you– basil with tomato soup is the way to go. Don’t skip it.
Side note: You know what else tastes great with tomato soup? Bacon. I didn’t throw it in this time, but if you want to switch things up after you eat approximately 7 thousand bowls of this Mac n’ Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup, you should check out my Tomato Bacon Bisque from last year! It made a tomato soup lover out of me.
Try the Mac n’ Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup and let me know what your favorite comfort foods are in the comments!
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled roma tomatoes, including liquid
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped, plus more for toppig
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
- ½ loaf french bread, cubed
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Once hot, add in the onion, garlic, and celery. Saute until soft and the onions become transparent, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and their juices, as well as the broth. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes. This is a good time to cook your elbow macaroni according to package directions if you haven't already prepared it.
- In a large bowl, toss the bread with the melted butter to coat. In a saute pan over medium heat, add the buttered bread cubes and toss often until browned and toasty. Set aside.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. Add in the cheese, fresh basil, and greek yogurt and blend again until well combined. Return to medium-low heat. (If you don't have an immersion blender, you can wait until the soup cools and then remove the solids in small batches to blend in a regular blender. Add in the cheese, yogurt, and basil, and a bit of the soup liquid. Make sure not to overfill. Return to soup pot after and stir well to combine.)
- Add in the vinegar. Stir often until cheese is melted completely and the soup is warmed through, making sure not to bring it back to a boil to prevent the yogurt from curdling. Add in the macaroni and stir.
- Pour into soup bowls, Garnish with the croutons, additional cheddar, and fresh basil. Serve warm.
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