I’m a soup girl. Though I often like it more in theory than I do in reality. Like I love making it and I love eating it, but then I also love eating a loaf of bread with it. That’s one thing I love about Panera Bread. There. is. always. bread. Always. I mean, bread is in the restaurant name. You can have your soup and eat your bread, too. When I saw a DailyBuzz Food opportunity to head to Panera for soup and then get inspired and make my own, I was so in. I went to Panera basically every single week of my college career and I still head there for a Greek salad and Turkey Artichoke Panini from time to time. But this time was all about the soup.
I’m already a big fan of Panera’s French Onion Soup, but when I saw a “You Pick Two” for Creamy Tomato Soup and “Big Kid” Grilled Cheese, I was psyched. It was cold out and this is basically my dream meal (also, you should know they also have mac and cheese… I almost added a dish to my order, but resisted).
The Creamy Tomato Soup didn’t disappoint. Hot and creamy without being heavy, with asiago croutons that were perfectly crunchy and to die for.
“You Pick Two” generally comes with half a sandwich, but I got an entire grilled cheese here. And ate every single bite. Also? It wasn’t just an average grilled cheese… It had BACON in it. Panera’s philosophy is “good goes in” and it certainly went into this!
Maybe I’m forever an 8-year-old, but I really feel like tomato soup and grilled cheese is a meal most people just don’t grow out of.
When I got home, I decided I wanted to make my own tomato soup, but incorporate the cheese and carbs into it, so I wouldn’t get the urge to eat a loaf of bread with my bowl of soup. After all, with Panera “good goes in” and I wanted to put all kinds of “good” in my soup!
My good? Habanero for spice, quinoa for protein and carbs, and feta cheese for deliciousness. I contemplated bacon, but thought that might be taking it one step too far. Not that I’ve never gone a few steps too far before, but I tried my gobest to keep myself reigned in. You’re welcome. Or I’m sorry. I’m not sure which yet.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 2 1/2 lbs. plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
- 5 cloves garlic, still in peel
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 habanero pepper, chopped
- 1 t sugar
- 2 C vegetable broth
- 1 C cooked quinoa
- 3/4 C feta cheese
- 5 leaves basil
(pre-heat oven to 400 degrees)
Place your halved tomatoes and garlic in peel on a foil-covered baking sheet lightly brushed with olive oil. Lightly brush a little bit more olive oil over your tomatoes and garlic.
Roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are all nice and wrinkly and roast-y looking. Remove from oven.
When your tomatoes are done roasting, put your onion and habanero in a large stockpot with a little bit of olive oil. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Remove peels from garlic and add garlic and tomatoes to stockpot. You can take the skin off your tomatoes, too, but I always leave peels on when I can as they’re generally super healthy and I don’t want to lose those vitamins.
Also add 2 cups of vegetable broth to the stockpot.
Now, using an immersion blender, blend until soup is smooth. You could also do this in a blender or VitaMix, but I’m kind of obsessed with my immersion blender. I can’t believe it takes me from the above photo to the below photo in about 3 minutes.
Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, to thicken up. I mixed in a t of sugar here, too.
Mix in your quinoa and feta.
Oh, and I also fried up a little basil. Literally just heated some oil in a pan, popped my basil leaves in, and let them fry for a few seconds.
Soup’s on! And my kitchen smelled heavenly.
Because I added the protein with the quinoa and a little bit of cheesy goodness, this soup was totally satisfying and I didn’t eat a loaf of bread with it.
Quinoa in soup is my new favorite idea ever.
So is fried basil. And habanero. You know I love a spicy kick and this one was subtle, but definitely present. Like I said, LOTS of good went into this soup!
And now you know how silly easy it is to make your own satisfying roasted tomato soup at home. But you also know that Panera Bread has a killer tomato soup and grilled cheese combo and you don’t have to do any of the work. You can even close your eyes and pretend you’re eight again and your mom is making you lunch on a snow day. Nothing wrong with that!
Oh, and Panera also has fabulous lattes. I enjoyed a Peppermint Mocha and it was as big as my head.
What’s your favorite soup? Have you ever had a Panera Soup?
While this post was sponsored on behalf of Panera Bread as part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker Program, as always, all opinions are most definitely my own!!