The classic, tomato soup and a cheese sandwich. / Photo by Linda Gassenheimer/TNS

Hot tomato soup and a melted cheese sandwich was one of my favorite suppers growing up. It seems like an American standard. Here's a modern, vegetarian version and a little bit of nostalgia for this comforting supper.

Don't be surprised to find orange juice is part of this easy, homemade tomato soup. Orange helps bring out the tomato flavor.


* Any type of cheese can be used for the sandwich.

* If the cheese is not melted, remove skillet from the heat and cover with a lid for a few minutes.


* To buy: 2 cans reduced-sodium crushed tomatoes, 1 container unsalted vegetable broth, 1 small container orange juice, 1 small container heavy cream, 1 can olive oil spray, 1 loaf whole-grain bread and 1 package reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese.

* Staples: onion, sugar, salt and black peppercorns.


Tomato Soup

Olive oil spray

1 cup sliced onion

2 cups canned reduced-sodium crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 cups unsalted vegetable broth

1 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon heavy cream

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and spray with olive oil spray. Add the onion, and saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. They should be golden but not brown. Add the crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, orange juice and sugar. Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 195 calories (27 percent from fat), 5.8 grams fat, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 5.1 grams protein, 35.9 grams carbohydrates, 5.9 grams fiber, 182 milligrams sodium.


Melted Cheese Sandwich

Olive oil spray

4 slices whole-grain bread

4 slices reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

Spray a nonstick skillet with olive oil spray. Add 2 slices of bread. Add 2 slices of cheese to each slice of bread. Cover the cheese with the remaining 2 slices of bread. Cook until the bread is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Spray the bread with olive oil spray, and flip it over to saute the other side until it is golden and the cheese melted.

Per serving: 254 calories (30 percent from fat), 8.3 grams fat, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 20.7 grams protein, 24.2 grams carbohydrates, 3.8 grams fiber, 691 milligrams sodium.

— Recipes by Linda Gassenheimer

Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of "Simply Smoothies: Fresh & Fast Diabetes-Friendly Snacks & Complete Meals" and "Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals From Market to Table" and "The Flavors of the Florida Keys." Her website is Follow her on Twitter lgassenheimer. Email: