A hearty and flavorful meal that’s great any time of the year! You will love how EASY our Pesto Grilled Cheese and Italian Vegetable Soup is to prepare, and the flavor combo of this grilled cheese and soup pairing will quickly become a family fave! Perfect for a weeknight or weekend meal!
This Italian Vegetable Soup and Pesto Grilled Cheese is the perfect meal for me because I love soup and I love sandwiches. It’s like putting two of my favorite things together into one meal. I’ve been told that a sandwich doesn’t constitute a meal but I have to disagree. Throw in a healthy side dish and you’ve totally got a meal. The combination of the sandwich AND the soup is even better. Especially when it’s a hearty and healthy vegetable soup and a flavorful grilled cheese sandwich. These kind of meals are great for lunch or dinner and for weeknight or weekend cooking. You really can’t go wrong.
Italian Vegetable Soup Recipe Tips
This Italian Vegetable Soup recipe is super easy to make. It’s vegetarian and has some quintessential Italian spices like oregano and rosemary. Start by mincing 6 cloves of garlic and 1 small onion (you can use white, yellow, or red onion). Chop 4-5 large carrots into slices. Try to make sure that the carrots are a uniform thickness so they cook evenly. Wash and trim 3 cups of fresh green beans. Cut the green beans in half. That’s all there is to the chopping portion of the soup.
I love to use my cast iron Dutch oven to make soups but any type of heavy-bottomed pot will work great. Cast iron tends to cook everything evenly and I swear that food cooked in cast iron just tastes better.
Heat 1 Tbsp. or so of olive oil in the pan. Once the oil is heated add the garlic and onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Next, add the sliced carrots along with a pinch of salt and pepper and saute for another 4-5 minutes, stirring often. If the carrots begin to stick to the bottom, add a splash of vegetable broth. At this point, add the chopped green beans and continue to saute for another 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
Add 3 1/2-4 cups of vegetable broth to the pan, stir, and cover. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the vegetable soup on a low boil for 20 minutes or so with the cover on the pan. The carrots and green beans should be softened (but not mushy) around the 20 minute mark. At this point add 1 (16 oz.) can of cannellini beans, 1 (15 oz.) can of tomato sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 heaping tsp. of Italian seasoning (should contain spices like oregano, rosemary, and thyme), and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Recipe Tips
The pesto grilled cheese sandwiches can be prepared while the soup is simmering. This is just a basic grilled cheese sandwich with an Italian twist. Start out with 8 slices of hearty bread like sourdough. Cut 1 large tomato into slices. The best part of this sandwich is fresh mozzarella. This is the kind that comes in a ball. It melts perfectly and makes the sandwiches really cheesy but not heavy. Cut 1 ball of mozzarella into uniform slices. The thing that makes these sandwiches pop is the addition of basil pesto. Spread 1 Tbsp. or so (adjust to taste) of the pesto onto one side of the sandwich. Top it with a few slices of the mozzarella and 2 slices of tomato.
Place the second piece of bread on top of the sandwich and spread the top with butter. Heat a flat cast iron skillet, or pan of choice, to slightly lower than medium. The pan should be hot enough to melt the cheese but not hot enough to burn the sandwiches. Place the sandwiches, butter side down on the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until the sandwiches get nice and golden. It may take a few minutes for the cheese to melt but it’s totally worth the wait.
This recipe makes 4 pesto grilled cheese sandwiches and there should be 4-6 servings of Italian vegetable soup. The soup and sandwiches should both be finished at this point. Cut the pesto grilled cheese sandwiches in half and serve them alongside a steaming bowl of the Italian vegetable soup. Feel free to garnish the soup with Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs.
This meal is actually really filling. The beans in the soup give it a robust quality. It’s rustic and hearty and goes so perfectly with the Italian flavors in the pesto grilled cheese sandwich!
Pesto Grilled Cheese and Italian Vegetable Soup
For the soup
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion can use white, yellow, or red
- 4 large carrots
- 3 cups green beans fresh
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 16 oz. can cannellini beans
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning heaping
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
For the sandwiches
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 4 Tbsp. basil pesto jarred
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese fresh
- 1 large tomato
- 1 Tbsp. butter
For the soup:
- Mince 6 cloves garlic and 1 onion.
- Cut 4-5 large carrots into slices. Try to make sure the carrots are a uniform size to ensure even cooking.
- Wash and trim 3 cups of fresh green beans. Cut the beans in half.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. or so of olive oil in a cast iron Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pan.
- Add the garlic and onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the carrots along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add a splash of vegetable broth to the pan if carrots begin to stick.
- Add the green beans to the pan and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add more vegetable broth if necessary.
- Add 3 1/2-4 cups of vegetable broth. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer/low boil and cook with the cover on for 20 minutes or so or until the carrots and green beans are soft but not mushy.
- Add 1 16 oz. can of cannellini beans, 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 heaping tsp. of Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low.
For the sandwiches:
- Assemble and make the sandwiches while the soup is simmering.
- Cut 1 large tomato into uniform slices.
- Cut 1 ball of mozzarella into uniform slices.
- Spread 1 Tbsp. or so of jarred basil pesto onto 4 slices of bread. Top each slice of bread with 2-3 mozzarella slices and 2 tomato slices. Place the second piece of bread onto each one (total 4 sandwiches).
- Heat a flat-bottomed skillet to slightly lower than medium.
- Spread a small amount of butter onto one side of the sandwich and place in the pan (butter side down). Butter the other half at this point.
- Cook the sandwiches (2 at a time) for 4-5 minutes per side or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
- Cut the sandwiches in half and serve with a bowl of soup.