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awarded winning tomato basil soup w/ croutons

Recipe by
Jennifer McLemore
Schenectady, NY

This Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons has won me three first place awards for "Soup Day" at two different jobs! Everyone BEGS me to make it! It is ridiculously easy and can be made vegan very easily by using plant based milks. Using your favorite jarred sauce is the key. I have tried all kinds but a thicker one is best. The croutons are savory and delicious, and can be made a day or two ahead of time. ( Might want to double the crouton recipe as everyone wants lots in their soup) Please let me know how you like it!

yield 6 -8
prep time 30 Min
cook time 45 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For awarded winning tomato basil soup w/ croutons

  • 48 oz
    favorite jar marinara sauce ( i prefer prego)
  • 1 c
    1/2 and 1/2 ( fat free or regular) can also use almond creamer
  • 1 c
    milk ( ff or reg or almond unsweetened)
  • 1 c
    water, chicken or veggie broth (to taste)
  • 1 bunch
    fresh basil ( about 1/2 cup before chopping)
  • 1 sm
    sweet onion minced finely
  • 2 Tbsp
    olive oil, butter, or margarine
  • 1 pinch
    lawreys seasoning salt or sea salt
  • 1 pinch
    ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch
  • 1 pinch
    onion powder to trader joe's onion seasoning
  • 1
    loaf french bread ( walmart garlic and herb preferred - unsliced)
  • 1
    package velveeta cheese slices
  • butter
  • 1/4 c
    olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp
    italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp
    garlic powder

How To Make awarded winning tomato basil soup w/ croutons

  • 1
    Chop fresh basil into small pieces. Chop onion into small bits or grate it to almost make it a juicy mixture. Suatee in melted butter or oil until fragrant.
  • 2
    Add jar of marinara, and milks. Simmer until warm.
  • 3
    At this point taste and adjust by adding either more milk, broth, water or cream to your consistency preference.
  • 4
    Add spices until desired taste is achieved. Wait to add sugar if your marinara does not contain it.
  • 5
    Simmer on low until full flavor is achieved. Serve with Grilled Cheese Croutons ( next steps)
  • 6
    Cut 1 loaf French bread into approx 1/4- 1/2 in slices. ( I use Garlic Herb from Walmart Bakery) Butter outsides and fill with Velveeta cheese pieces, like you are making small grilled cheese sandwiches
  • 7
    Velveeta Cheese Slices ( individual wrapped) Mix about 1/4 C. Olive Oil, 1 TBS Italian Seasoning, and 2 tsp Garlic Powder in small bowl.
  • 8
    Fry mini sandwiches in butter like you would a normal grilled cheese sandwich. Remove to plate to cool.
  • 9
    When cool enough to handle brush sandwiches with olive oil mixture and place on cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Use a pizza cutter to cut in to squares the size of croutons.
  • 10
    Bake at 325 for approx 30 mins turning often. Use any leftover oil to baste as you turn. You want them crunchy but also a bit chewy. Cool and place in zip lock bag to store.