Monte Cristo Panini with Creamy Tomato Pesto Soup



15 min


35 min


6 Servings

Monte Cristo Panini with Creamy Tomato Pesto Soup

Photo: Andrew Grinton

Tomato soup and grilled cheese is a way of life. We put a classy spin on the pair by adding pesto to the soup and ham and Swiss to the sandwich. You're going to dig it.


  • 12 slies Texas sandwich bread , preferable whole wheat
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp Dijon mustard , optional
  • 250 g sliced Swiss
  • 175 g sliced Black Forest ham
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach leaves , optional
  • 2 tbsp butter


  • 1 tbsp butter , optional
  • 1/2 sweet onion , finely chopped (optional)
  • 670 mL bottle strained tomatoes
  • 900 mL carton chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 1/2 cup 35% cream
  • 50 mL grated Parmesan , optional


  • Lay out 6 bread slices and lightly spread with mustard, if using. Top with a cheese slice and a few ham slices, folding under as needed. Over each, mound 1/2 cup of the spinach leaves, if using. Top each with another cheese slice and remaining bread.
  • Now, make the soup. In a saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter over medium heat, then add onion. Stir often until onion is very soft, 8 to 10 min. (For a smooth soup, omit butter and onion.) Add tomatoes, broth and pesto. Stir occasionally until hot, about 10 min. Remove from heat and stir in cream.
  • Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp butter in a large frying pan, on medium heat, and swirl to coat. Add half of sandwiches to pan. Using a pot or flat pan lid that’s smaller than the frying pan, firmly press down sandwiches. Cook, covered, until sandwich undersides are golden, 2 to 4 min. Turn, then press and cover again. Continue cooking until golden on both sides, 2 to 4 min. Remove to baking sheet and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Slice sandwiches in half. Serve with a bowl or mug of soup, garnished with a little Parmesan if you like.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 556,
  • Protein
  • 22 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 55 g,
  • Fat
  • 28 g,
  • Fibre
  • 7 g,

Originally published in the December 2011 issue. Photo by Andrew Grinton.