It’s rare that we have a meal that is literally just one component. Pizza night? We’ll have it with a salad. Roasted vegetables are usually served with rice or quinoa. And a roast beast is accompanied by vegetables, potatoes, and sometimes a loaf of bread. Most of the time, this isn’t a difficult task to navigate: we add “with (insert side dish here),” to the plan, and cook it with the main dish. Hazelnut and Almond Crusted Chicken? We’ll serve it with green beans. Or roasted potatoes. Or a Grape and Walnut salad.

But what about those recipes that always have two parts? Take, for example, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. They’re kind of like peanut butter and jelly: one without the other just doesn’t make much sense to me. To make this useful in the Meal Planning Board, though, that would mean entering two recipes in the system to then pull all the ingredients into our shopping list. It’s not efficient. What’s worse, including both components of the meal as one recipe doesn’t represent what we’re doing. Enter composite recipes, or one recipe with multiple components.

Here’s the composite Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese in action on the Meal Planning Board Alpha Test.

Composite Meals

Here it is: our favorite tomato soup and grilled cheese.

tomato soup and grilled cheese

Tomato Soup


  • 1.0 pound tomatos
  • 1.0 onion
  • 2.0 cloves garlic
  • 1.0 cup basil
  • 2.0 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.0 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp pepper

MakeĀ It!

Heat a 2 quart pot on medium high heat and drizzle in enough olive oil to lightly coat the pot. You may want a bit more or less than oil. When you’re sure it’s hot, toss in the onions, a pinch of salt, and some pepper. When the onions are soft, add the garlic briefly. If you like a smoother, calmer garlic flavor, add the garlic sooner.

When the onions are soft and the garlic cooked to your liking, add the tomatoes and 1/2 of the basil. Season to taste, and allow to cook. If you’re starting with fresh tomatoes, you’ll want to soften thoroughly. If you start with canned tomatoes, just warm the tomatoes thoroughly. Add stock, water, or other liquid (beer, wine, or cider would work well; vinegar is too acidic) as needed.

Blend the soup. Stir in the remaining basil.

Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Grilled Cheese


  • 8.0 slices bread
  • 0.5 lb Muenster sliced or shredded
  • Butter

Make It!

Heat two large cast iron skillets on medium high while you assemble the sandwiches.

Assemble sandwiches with cheese, a bit of arugula, and two slices of bacon each. Cheddar is the classic with tomato soup, but, other cheeses such as gouda, pecorino romano, and jack work as well. We used Munster the other night when we had this. You could also use a blend of cheesy goodness.

Butter one side of four slices of bread and use to top the sandwiches, butter side up.

If you’re using two different sized skillets, place the sandwiches in the larger of the two. Top with the second skillet and cook until the bread is golden and crispy, about 2 minutes.

Serve with tomato soup for dipping.