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A true comfort classic, this meal of Vegan Grilled Cheese and Instant Pot Tomato Soup is a healthy yet still delicious entree that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Dunk that grilled cheese right in the soup or enjoy it on the side. Stovetop instructions provided and use what you’ve got!
Hey Internet, I hope you know by now that we’re all about comfort food on this blog. Hence the tagline: Easy plant-based comfort food.
And I ask you, what’s more comforting than grilled cheese with tomato soup? I mean, maybe a lot of things. Comfort food is totally subjective.
But there’s definitely a soft spot in my heart for a gooey, toasty, grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of hot tomato soup to dunk it in.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are fortunately very easy to make for vegans nowadays, There are so many awesome vegan cheese brands in more and more supermarkets. However, oftentimes these cheeses are heavily processed, containing oil, high sodium, and they can be very expensive.
As you probably already know, I have my own melty, gooey, stretchy cheeses available on my blog: melty mozzarella and melty cheddar. They are PERFECT for grilled cheese sandwiches and get so gooey and delicious.
I made a full batch of my 5 minute homemade cheese and because I was prepping for a few days. Or maybe Mr. Zardyplants just ate most of them, but you can also just make a half batch or a quarter batch just as easily.
As for the tomato soup, I’ve made this multiple times using combinations of whatever kind of tomatoes I have on hand: fresh, canned, diced, stewed, whole, etc. You can make less if you like, but I like to have enough for a few days, and it freezes well if I don’t manage to eat all of it before it goes bad.
I also like to include a few other veggies since they’re all getting blended up anyway and it enriches the flavor. You do you, though.
TL;DR this recipe makes 6 bowls of soup and 6-8 sandwiches. Feel free to cut in half or even fourths!
Alright, enough yapping, let’s get into it!
What You’ll Need
Well, let’s start with the grilled cheese.
You’ll definitely need bread. If you’re gluten-free, the only modification you need to make to this recipe is buy gluten-free bread. That doesn’t even count as a modification because y’all can choose whatever bread you want anyway.
Use regular sandwich bread, french bread, rye bread, pumpernickel bread, even challah! Seriously though, challah is great in grilled cheese.
But what would take this grilled cheese to the next level? How about Vegan Brie! I One of my favorites, vegan brie is a smooth and creamy cheese that would be amazing with a little apricot and basil in there too. Ooph.
But I digress. Let’s talk about tomato soup.
So the bulk of the tomato soup is, well, tomatoes. You can use any combination of fresh or canned.
For fresh, try roma tomatoes, grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes. Beefsteak tomatoes aren’t usually as flavorful, unless they’re straight from your garden.
Garden tomatoes are the best. I wish I had a garden… sigh.
You can certainly use canned tomatoes (I did). You can use stewed, diced, whole peeled, even fire roasted for a smoky kick--I highly recommend trying this, my friend.
Like a lot of my dishes, this soup starts with a base of sauteed onions and garlic. There’s just so much flavor packed in there!
For veggies, I also added some roasted red peppers (I cheated and used the jarred in water kind) and carrots. You don’t really taste the carrots, but they do add a slight earthiness to the soup, plus a shot of beta carotene!
To amp up the tomato flavor, I added a little tomato paste. Optional, but recommended. And I used a whole 6 oz can of tomato paste because I hate dealing with the leftovers.
And for herbs and spices, which I highly recommend, I added parsley, basil, oregano–and I also added smoked paprika. I love the smoky flavor in this soup, but you can certainly use regular sweet paprika.
How to Make Instant Pot Tomato Soup
Note: this recipe will work in any pressure cooker, but buttons may be called by other names on non-Instant Pot brand pressure cookers (and in some cases on other models of the Instant Pot brand!). Consult your manual for any questions based on your specific brand of pressure cooker.
The Instant Pot I’m using is an Instant Pot Duo 6qt. You will need a 6qt or larger to make this soup. If you have a smaller pressure cooker, halve the recipe and you should be good.
If your Instant Pot has a ‘Saute function’, saute your onions and garlic (in a few tablespoons of water, vegetable broth, or oil if you use that) before adding everything else in.
If your Instant Pot or pressure cooker does not have that function, you can either saute your onions and garlic on the stove top and add them in, which adds more flavor to your soup, or you can just chuck everything in the pot–it will still be delicious.
After you’ve sauteed (or not) the onions and garlic, add everything else in: tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, roasted red bell pepper, vegetable broth, and herbs and spices.
Set the pressure valve to ‘sealing’ and press High Pressure or Pressure Cook for 6 minutes.
When the soup is done, carefully release the pressure by using a cooking spoon to switch the pressure valve to ‘venting’ and allow all the pressure to release.
If you have an Instant Pot, wait until the pressure button has clicked down (if you have another brand pressure cooker, this may look different so please consult your manual).
Open the lid carefully and set aside. Taste the soup and add any additional salt or spices.
Skip to the “Blending the Soup” section for further instructions.
How to Make Stovetop Tomato Soup
Start by sauteing your onions over medium high heat in a large pot with a splash of water, broth, or oil if you use it. After about 3-4 minutes and the onions become somewhat translucent, add the garlic. Saute for another minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Put on a lid and turn down the heat to a medium low.
Simmer the soup for about 20-30 minutes, until the carrots are fork tender. Then you are ready to blend the soup.
Blend the Soup
Blend up some or all of the soup either using an immersion blender or a regular counter blender.
If using an immersion blender, also called a hand blender or stick blender, simply stick the blender in the pot and blend until smooth. You can leave chunks if you like, but I prefer it smooth.
The immersion blender is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It’s annoying and can be risky pouring a pot of hot soup in a blender. Sometimes it all won’t fit and you have to do it in batches.
How to Serve the Soup
I of course recommend serving this soup with vegan grilled cheese sandwiches, which I’ll talk about in a moment, but you have some other options.
You can top your soup with homemade croutons, crunchy roasted chickpeas, crackers, or a little fresh basil.
Add a swirl of coconut cream or cashew cream if you’re feeling fancy.
I also recommend some toasted (or not) French bread or crackers to dip in your soup. Yummy and cozy!
A Note on Equipment
You can use a pan to make grilled cheese, but I find it is faster and heats more evenly with a griddle. I particularly like this Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler and I’ll tell you why:
- You can open it all the way and have double the griddle surface
The other side of the griddle pans have the grill lines so you can make a panini or grilled vegetable.
- There are waffle plates you can change out and make easy waffles.
- It’s not super expensive.
- It heats really evenly which is great because sometimes when you have a large pan on a small burner on the stove, it doesn’t really heat evenly
There’s more surface area than a pan.
- It’s not heavy so it stores easily and doesn’t take up a whole lot of space
The only thing I didn’t like about this griddler is that the waffle plates are an extra cost–I think they should have come with it. But everything in the list above makes it definitely worth it for me, and honestly I think it was a great purchase (that I made with my own money).
How to Make Vegan Grilled Cheese
While the soup is cooking, you can prepare the vegan grilled cheese.
If using store bought vegan cheese (I recommend a brand like Field Roast Chao), lay out all your ingredients.
I did not need to butter my grilled cheese to get it crispy on the outside. If you’re looking for that taste but don’t want to use vegan butter, you can use canned coconut cream. Sounds weird, but it works! I’ve actually tried this and it’s delicious (it doesn’t taste like coconut).
I prefer to use a countertop griddler for making grilled cheese as it heats more evenly. I like the Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler and I’m not sponsored by them; I just really like their product.
You can also cook it on the stove top or in a toaster oven.
Most importantly, you don’t need to worry about the cheese melting if you’re using my recipe.
If you have been refrigerating the cheese, cook the sandwich long enough for it to heat up. If using a store-bought vegan cheese, you may need to cook it a bit longer.
Repeat until you have enough sandwiches.
You can refrigerate the cheese in an airtight container for up to 5 days if you have leftovers.
Other Awesome Vegan Comfort Food
We’re all about vegan comfort food in our house. Whether your comfort food is pasta, soup, etc. we have many different cozy recipes.
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Vegan Brisket
- Spinach Noodle Kugel
- Chickpea Florentine Pasta
- Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Mushroom Lasagna Soup
- Ranch Pasta Salad
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. The grilled cheese sand
This meal of Vegan Grilled Cheese and Instant Pot Tomato Soup is:
- And perfect for meal prep or a holiday meal. It’s a crowd pleaser!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!