Crispy 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.
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.
Grilled Chees Croutons & Simple 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use an immersion blender to puree, or transfer to a blender or food processor. Stir in whipping cream, if using.
- Serve hot with croutons sprinkled over the top.
*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O’Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY Sidecar series. All opinions given are my own.