Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

There's no better thing to pair with a grilled cheese sandwich than tomato soup. I'm not exactly sure how it came to be but it doesn't matter. It's good and it's what's for dinner! Because I paired this soup with my 'Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich', I knew the soup had to be healthier. Traditional tomato soups usually include the addition of cream but for a healthier alternative without the extra fat and calories, I used bread in place of cream. The bread in the following recipe breaks down and is pureed, resulting in a creamy texture.

I came across this recipe on my online Cook's Illustrated subscription and I love that it was so easy to make. I halved the original recipe so it serves 3-4 with enough for leftovers. This is another recipe great to make in advance and freeze. Sometimes there are those nights where we could enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich and this soup is better than the stuff in the can... and healthier too!

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1-2 medium garlic cloves, minced
pinch of hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 small bay leaf
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 large slices good quality sandwich bread, cubed (I used poolish baguette)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
fresh thyme leaves for garnish
extra virgin olive oil for garnish (optional)

Prep your sandwich bread by removing the crusts and cubed into bite sized pieces.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat then add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), and bay leaf. Cook while stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar and bread; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down. Remove and discard bay leaf.
Transfer the soup to blender or use a blender stick in the pot and process until soup is smooth and creamy. Return the soup into the dutch oven (if you transferred it to a blender) and stir in the chicken broth. Bring the soup to boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup in individual bowls. Sprinkle each portion with pepper, thyme leaves and drizzle with a garnish of olive oil if desired.


  1. Wow - I'm amazed that bread thickens this soup. I can see from the picture just how rich it looks. Yum!!

  2. What an interesting way to thicken soup! I often use potatoes when I want to thicken a soup without adding cream, but we always have bread around, so I'll have to try this out!

  3. Made this tonight with home canned romas instead of crushed tomatoes. It was fantastic. We let it simmer while we made our version of your grilled cheese (colby jack cheese and no tomato) and the flavor in the soup wasn't nearly as bright and was amazing. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!