FOOD: Halloween Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Hello, hello! We're only a couple days away from the spookiest time of year...what are your Halloween plans? Lauren, here, dropping by today with a Halloween-inspired party appetizer.

Instead of severed fingers, bloody bones or scary eyeballs, I put a twist on the classic soup-and-sandwich combination, paying homage to Halloween's classic orange and black colors. This app would work just as well at any autumn gathering...

smoked tomato soup and pumpernickel grilled cheese

I admittedly haven't put on a Halloween costume in years, and my way of celebrating holidays like Halloween always leans toward festive over cute presentation. This tomato soup recipe renders a perfect orangey hue and takes a little extra effort, but the smoky flavor is soooo worth it! The pumpernickel bread then imparts a perfectly moody, dark vibe for the sandwiches.

I decided it would be fun to serve the soup in glass test tubes I picked up at a local antique mall, but you can easily find them online too, like here and here. I then anchored everything on a gilded tray for serving. 

smoked tomato soup and grilled cheese
smoked tomato soup and pumpernickel grilled cheese

smoked tomato soup and pumpernickel grilled cheese

Grilled Cheese Ingredients:
-Pumpernickel bread
-Aged gouda cheese (try deli slices instead for better melting)
-Cornichons (French pickles), sliced. Substitute apples if you wish.
-Whole-grain Dijon mustard 

1) Spread mustard on half of bread slices, then layer the cheese and pickle slices. Top with remaining bread slices. 
2) In a pan over medium heat, add a tad of butter, then place sandwiches. While cooking, lightly butter the sides facing up. Flip sandwiches then firmly press down on each using a metal spatula or pot lid to seal them together. Alternatively, use panini press.
3) Cut cooked grilled cheeses into thirds, forming triangle shapes. 

smoked tomato soup and pumpernickel grilled cheese
smoked tomato soup and grilled cheese

Smoked Tomato Soup Ingredients:
-2 teaspoons of apple smoking chips
-1 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
-6 tablespoons of olive oil
-Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
-6 slices country-style bread, sliced 1-inch thick and cut into 1-inch cubes
-1 yellow onion, diced
-1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
-1/3 cup sherry cooking wine
-1/3 cup fresh orange juice
-4 cups chicken stock
-2 cans (each 14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
-Pinch of cayenne pepper 


1) In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper.

2) To create a stove top smoker: Line a large pot with 2 layers of heavy duty foil. Scatter wood chips over. Cover tightly; cook over medium high heat until chips begin to smoke, 10-12 minutes. Arrange tomato halves, cut sides up, on a steamer rack. Place in pot on top of chips. Cover and smoke tomatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl and let cool, then remove and discard the skins.

3) Preheat an oven to 350°F.

4) In a bowl, stir together the bread cubes, 3 tablespoons of the oil, salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Set the croutons aside.

5) In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the sherry and orange juice, and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Add the smoked tomatoes, the stock, canned tomatoes with juices and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. 

6) Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a fine strainer into a clean pot, pressing firmly on the solids. Set the pot over low heat, add the croutons and let stand for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using the immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. 

-post & images by Lauren Craig



  1. Pero que buena pinta!!!

  2. This is such a great idea for a Halloween party. I really love it!

  3. Love Love Love This! What a neat idea:))!

  4. Really cool recipe, thanks! And it will work really well for any occasion, which is great for me since Halloween isn't really celebrated here in Prague (well.. the slutty version is :-/). Thanks so much! x

  5. this looks delicious, the tomato soup specially :)

  6. Love tomato soup! And the halloween theme :)
    Oh and your new about photo is gorgeous Jen. xo.

  7. My favorite combo in such a fun way, love it!

  8. Oh my gosh this super sounds super good I am definitely going to make it!! Hope you are holding out in this storm. I can not believe we still have power.

    Ali of:

  9. Thanks for sharing this recipe. The pumpernickel cheese bites look devilicious!! ;)

  10. What an awesome idea! ;D

    Have a wonderful week!


  11. Love this! Totally trying this on Wednesday!


  12. Oh, I love this! I like the presentation of the smoked tomato soup (sounds so fancy!), and I think I'd be a huge fan of the grilled cheese sandwiches, especially with rye bread. Yum!

  13. ooh I have some science beakers I could do this with...

  14. Very festive!

  15. I love the classic soup & sandwich combination!

    also the bread you're using looks delicious!

    thanks for sharing!

  16. You have outdone yourself, this is awesome! Always excited to see what you are up to :)

    xoxo, Tanya

  17. Okay yum! I'm obsessed with grilled cheese & tomato soup and also cornichons! Never thought of putting them on the grilled cheese!

    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

  18. So creative! Plus my favorite combo!

  19. Loving this idea! love the tomatoe soup in the glass test tubes:)


  20. Pumpernickel bread AND cheese? My heart be still!


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