There’s nothing like a homemade bowl of soup in the winter. With the recent Arctic temperatures in Toronto (-30°C on a daily basis, anyone?), I felt that some real comfort food was in order. And what says chilly winter day comfort food like tomato soup and grilled cheese?
Piero is not too hot on plain old tomato soup. Having grown up in Italy, he finds tomato soup reminiscent of liquidy passata (tomato puree used for pasta sauce), which he is not keen to consume by the spoonful. (This is also the reason he won’t drink caesars. His loss, I say.)
And so, here we have no ordinary tomato soup. I came across this recipe for Tomato, Chickpea and Coconut Soup at Love and Lemons, and it sounded so yummy that I had to make it. That day.
It was so worth it. I changed the recipe a bit, omitting the chickpeas and flavouring with parsley instead of thyme. The coconut milk makes this soup so creamy and sweet, but not heavy. With the smokiness of the paprika and zip from the parsley leaves, the soup is really fresh and less mellow than traditional tomato soup.
And with such a novel take on the soup, I couldn’t just make a plain old grilled cheese, now could I? Feeling inspired by the coconut flavour of the soup, I spread coconut oil on the bread instead of butter. And I liberally sprinkled the inside of the sandwich with fresh parsley leaves. I made my sandwich with old cheddar, but if I think next time I would use queso fresco or manchego, because their freshness would go really well with the sweet coconut oil.
This seriously might be the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had. Please stop what you’re doing and just go grill a sandwich with coconut oil. You have no idea what you’ve been missing.
Tomato Coconut Soup with Herbed Coconut Grilled Cheese
Recipe adapted from Love and Lemons
For the soup:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, whole
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
For each grilled cheese:
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- bread of your choice (I used pita, but a nice crusty bread would also be good)
- ¼ cup grated or crumbled cheese (old cheddar, manchego, or queso fresco)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- chili flakes
- olive oil
- coconut cream (the white layer that settles on top of coconut milk)
- chopped fresh parsley
- Heat oil in a medium pot. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent.
- Add the paprika and cook until fragrant (roughly 30 seconds). Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Add the tomatoes, parsley, coconut milk, and water. Cover and gently simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Stir in the nutritional yeast to thicken the soup.
- Garnish bowls with parsley leaves, red chili flakes, a drizzle of olive oil, and dollop of coconut cream.
- For the grilled cheese: Spread the coconut oil onto the outside of the bread. Layer the cheese and parsley inside, and cook in a frying pan over medium-low heat, until each side is golden brown.