Tomato Soup & Eggplant Parmesan Grilled Cheese

Rachael Ray Challenge Day 13

Thursday September 19th 

Eggplant Parmesan Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Vegan-ized 

Ingredients for the soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons vegan butter plus more softened for sandwiches

2 chopped onions (I like Vidalia for this)

5 cloves garlic chopped

2tablespoons fresh thyme chopped

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon fennel seeds crushed

A pinch of chili flakes

1 rounded tablespoon sweet paprika (I used regular and 1 teaspoon of agave)

¼ cup of tomato paste

1 quart non-chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 inch piece of kombu (remove before serving)

1 bay-leaf (remove before serving)

1 32-ounce can Sn Marzano tomatoes

½ cup basil, torn or thinly sliced, with a few leaves reserved for garnish

½ cup of plain soy creamer

Ingredients for the Grilled Not-Cheese

1 firm medium eggplant

Salt and pepper

¼ – 1/3 cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic very thinly sliced

1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Softened vegan butter for spreading on bread

8-12 slices gluten free flax and millet bread (Sam’s or Udi’s are great)

1 pound of vegan mozzarella cheese

½ cup vegan parmesan cheese

2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

A handful of torn basil leaves


Heat a medium-size soup pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and 2 tablespoons of vegan utter. Add onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary ,ground fennel, chili flakes, paprika and agave. Partially cover pot and cook to soften, 10 minutes or so. Stir in tomato paste until fragrant, 2 minutes, and deglaze the pan with 2 cups of stock. Transfer to a food processor, add the tomatoes and process until smooth. Pour back into pot and add the rest of the stock, the kombu and bay-leaf. Stir in ½ of the basil. Simmer at low bubble while you make the sandwiches. Remove bay-leaf and kombu before serving.

Preheat broiler to high. Trim the skin off 2 opposite sides of the eggplant then very thinly slice into 1/8-1/4-inch planks or discs. Season with salt and let dry on kitchen towels for a few minutes.

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat and fry the garlic carefully until light golden in color. Remove with a fork and let cool. Add rosemary and chili flakes to oil. Chop the crispy, cooled garlic and reserve.

Pat the eggplant slices dry and brush with flavored oil. Broil the eggplant 2-3 minutes per side until charred and tender.

Heat a griddle or use a sandwich press. I use the small George foreman grill. Lightly butter or brush olive oil on 1 side of each slice of bread and press or sprinkle with the vegan parm. Build sandwiches of mozzarella, grilled eggplant, tomato, chopped crispy garlic, basil, more cheese and bread, with butter-or oil dressed sides of bread facing out. Grill the sandwiches until golden and the cheese has melted.

Finish soup by stiffing in the soy cream into the soup, serve with more basil to garnish. Do not return the soup to boil after adding cream.

Serve sandwiches with tomato soup along side.