Grilled Cheese Croutons & Simple Tomato Soup – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Low Carb Grilled Cheese CroutonsCrispy toasted grilled cheese croutons pair perfectly with a quick tomato soup.  Low carb and gluten-free.

What I am about to discuss with you is a highly contentious subject, so if controversy makes you uncomfortable, I suggest you turn away now. Yes, friends, this is such a divisive issue, it’s been known to tear apart lifelong friendships. I am leery of bringing such a subject to All Day I Dream About Food, as I don’t generally like to give offense. I tend to keep my opinions on hot-button topics to myself on my blog. I like to keep things calm and even, and focus on the food and the recipes. But, as this subject concerns the recipe at hand, I must gird my loins and prepare for intense debate. I shall weather the storm, I am sure.

Low carb grilled cheese croutons recipe

The controversy in question is whether or not you spread butter on your grilled cheese before cooking, or you add the butter directly to the pan. Gasp! See, I told you, a shocking subject to discuss in polite company. It’s as contentious a subject as whether your toilet paper roll unspools over or under. I confess, I swing both ways. I’ve been known to butter the bread first, if the butter is properly softened and the bread is sturdy enough. I’ve also been lazy and just heated the butter right up in the pan.

The truth is that there are as many ways of making grilled cheese as there are people in the world. It’s the ultimate comfort food and it’s infinitely variable. You can be a grilled cheese purist, with only bread, cheese and butter, or you might be a crazy grilled cheese rebel, with multiple add-ins and dipping sauces. Since it’s National Grilled Cheese Month, I say we celebrate our diversity.


To keep up the momentum in this wonderful campaign, I have joined forces with Land O’Lakes and 29 other bloggers for 30 Days of Grilled Cheese at Kitchen PLAY. I have always loved my grilled cheese paired with hot tomato soup, and the idea of turning grilled cheese sandwiches into croutons for soup was just pure genius. Not my genius, I’m sad to say, but I think I am probably the first to make a low-carb, gluten-free version! And Land O’Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend is the perfect cheese for these little bites, because it combines the great flavour of Asiago, Parmesan and Romano with the creamy meltability of American. And you can buy it at the deli counter of many grocery retailers, sliced and ready to go.

Low Carb Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Recipe

This recipe is also being featured in a wonderful Fresh & Festive Holiday eZine. I am so honored to be asked to contribute 4 gluten-free, low sugar and healthy recipes to this gorgeousfree download. The focus is on using fresh produce in your holiday cooking, such as tomatoes, berries, apples and dates.  The  Please check it out here: Fresh & Festive

Fresh & Festive Holiday eZine

Grilled Chees Croutons & Simple Tomato Soup – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: Serves 8.

Grilled Chees Croutons & Simple Tomato Soup – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Crispy toasted grilled cheese croutons pair perfectly with a quick tomato soup. Low carb and gluten-free!


  • Half a recipe Low Carb Panini Bread, baked and cooled
  • 6 ounces sliced Land O'Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • Tomato Soup:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)


  1. For the croutons, cut panini bread into even squares, about 4 inches across. Carefully slice each square horizontally through the middle to create two thin slices.
  2. Place one or two slices of cheese on a thin slice of bread and then top with the other half of the bread square. Spread butter on both sides of each sandwich.
  3. Heat large skillet or griddle over medium heat and cook sandwiches until both sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and let cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  4. For the soup, heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds more. Stir in tomatoes and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes.
  6. Use an immersion blender to puree, or transfer to a blender or food processor. Stir in whipping cream, if using.
  7. Serve hot with croutons sprinkled over the top.


Serves 8. Each serving has 12.9 g of carbs and 5.5 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 7.4 g.

*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O’Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY Sidecar series. All opinions given are my own.

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  1. Surabaya Lisa says

    Divine! I’m not sure there is anything more comforting than grilled cheese and tomato soup. Can you use canned tomatoes? If so, should I drain the liquid from them? Thanks for all you do. I LOVE your blog, Carolyn. :)

    • Carolyn says

      Yes, go ahead and use 2 15 ounce cans and do half the liquid. But do know your carb count goes up somewhat with the canned tomatoes!

      • Surabaya Lisa says

        Thanks so much. I didn’t know the carb count would increase using canned tomatoes. Do you know why it is different from fresh tomatoes?

  2. Eric says

    If your butter is too hard to spread on the bread first, you can always do what I do and use mayonnaise on the bread and fry in a skillet as usual. Works great! Also stops the discussion of buttering the bread vs. in the pan.

  3. Heather from Canada says

    This went straight to the top of my list for comfort-foody weekend cooking! We are supposed to get more snow this weekend: figures – the snow finally melted off our lawn. Sigh. At least the Husky’s happy!

    • Carolyn says

      Oh no, Heather! Sorry about the snow. We’ve had so much here in Boston, I’d be pretty upset if I saw more of it!

  4. Gerri says

    Can a weight, like a covered up brick, be used to make panini? I don’t have a panini maker. Thanks.

  5. says

    Now I want lunch at 6:30am! I’m a butter the bread kinda girl, but if you want to melt it in the pan instead, I won’t complain when you serve it up! I love this type of recipe…simple, real food. Yum. Theresa

  6. Pansy says

    My husband’s favorite bread is your panini, I have to make some today as a matter of fact! This looks fabulous and I’ve always buttered my bread, never heard of any other way, guess it’s how you were taught??

  7. Kym says

    I am really happy I found your site. I first found you on foodgawker!! I have been gluten free for 5 years. My three boys have just gone gluten free and low carb, so I now have a reason to bake gluten free! I just avoided gluten free baked goods, because they were so high in carbs. Your site has been wonderful we made your skillet bread and it was awesome! Now we will try this, it looks wonderful! Thank you

    • Carolyn says

      Sunflower seed flour, flax seed meal, chia seed meal. All of these will bake a little differently, though. I don’t think there is a great replacement for this particular recipe.

  8. Robin says

    Let me just say.. This soup is very very good…. I am drinking a soup right now… I didn’t make the grilled cheese croutons.. But next time I will… I loveeeeeeeee Tomato Soup and now I can have it without feeling guilty…..

  9. Patti says

    I made this soup and the grilled cheese croutons today. Man, oh man was my lunch delicious!! Thanks for another fabulous recipe, Carolyn.


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