I Tried Love & Lemons’ Creamy Tomato Soup and the Secret Ingredient is a Total Winner

published Dec 3, 2021
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Is there anything more perfect than a steamy bowl of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold day? Probably not! And Love & Lemons has come up with an ingenious creamy tomato soup that just happens to be vegan, plus crispy, cheesy grilled cheese croutons (!) to bring it all together. 

Tomato soup is a common lunch at my house, but I’ll admit I usually lean on heavy cream to give the soup a smooth creaminess. In this recipe, Jeanine Donofrio uses canned chickpeas to impart a lovely velvety texture, bringing in some welcome protein and making this a winning thermos lunch for my two girls.

How To Make Love & Lemons Creamy Tomato Soup

One of the things that’s so smart about this recipe is that you develop flavor in the oven, roasting onions, garlic, and fresh tomatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes at 450°. This slightly caramelizes the onions and garlic, resulting in a natural sweetness that balances the tangy tomatoes. 

While the onions, garlic, and tomatoes are roasting, you can start building your grilled cheese sandwiches for croutons. The recipe calls for wheat bread and vegan cheese shreds, but there’s a lot of flexibility here to make any kind of grilled cheese your heart desires, and the best part — you make the grilled cheese in the oven too! Now that I know how easy it is to make grilled cheese in the oven, I may never griddle another sandwich on the stovetop again! 

Once the onions, garlic, and tomatoes are done roasting, lower the heat to 400°F, and heat the grilled cheese sandwiches until melty and delicious. Once they cool a bit, you’ll dice them up to make the most craveable croutons you’ve ever met.

To finish the soup, combine the roasted onions, garlic, and tomatoes with canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, fresh thyme, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. The herbs and pepper add brightness but not too much heat. Serve with croutons on top and on the side.

My Honest Review

This soup is destined to make it into the regular rotation at lunch. With its sneaky protein and healthy ingredients, it’s virtuous yet comforting. While I do love heavy cream, I really appreciate how clean this tomato soup is. Without the cream to weigh things down, every ingredient has a chance to shine. Using chickpeas brings in protein and texture in a particularly clever way. 

And let’s not forget those grilled cheese croutons. I suggest making a few extra because they will go fast, and they are definitely the best part. I’ve made them with vegan cheese shreds, as the recipe instructs, as well as dairy cheese, which I have on hand more frequently, and I’m here to report that both are excellent.

Tips for Making Love & Lemons Tomato Soup

  1. This recipe freezes well, so make a double batch and tuck some away for a day when you can’t even.
  2. If you’re in a hurry, you can save some time by cooking the onions, garlic, and fresh tomatoes on the stove top. Once you’ve got a little color and aroma going, add the other ingredients, and blend with an immersion blender. The soup will be slightly less creamy but no less enjoyable.
  3. If you only have canned tomatoes, that’s fine. Just give the tomatoes a little extra time to cook on the stove top to let the flavors mingle and develop.
  4. No chickpeas? No problem! Canned white beans will work too.