Nori Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Smokey Tomato Soup

With the holiday season being so busy and hectic, you might be looking to enjoy a comforting meal without all the fuss. Nori Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Smokey Tomato Soup is a simple but gourmet meal, one that takes less than 20 minutes to make. During these cold months, this recipe hits the spot.

Surprisingly, nori and cheese make an exceptionally delicious pairing. I particularly love the combination of cheddar with nori. The creamy, soft texture of the melted cheese and the umami flavored, crispy nori are a rich and complex contrast of flavors…a must-try if you’re a grilled cheese lover!With all this talk of soup and sandwiches you might be wondering what this recipe has to do with tea. The word smokey in a tea recipe is always a clue that Lapsang Souchong is somewhere to be found. This hearty tea is used to add a layer of flavor to the tomato soup, and makes the tomatoes taste as if they’ve been roasted for hours prior to being puréed.I like to cut these sandwiches into small rectangles, crustless, like tea sandwiches. By cutting long strips of the nori, the pieces can be wrapped around the sandwiches like you would when making musubi. A light spray of water helps the seaweed to stick to the surface of the bread during grilling.Spoon the soup into large teacups for easy, utensil-free serving. If you cut the sandwiches small like I do, they’ll be perfectly finger-friendly and dunkable. Enjoy Nori Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Smokey Tomato Soup anytime you’re looking for a simple, satisfying meal this holiday season. This is a homey twist on sammies and tea, easy comfort food when you need it the most.Nori Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Smokey Tomato Soup

Makes 1 pot of soup & 4-6 servings of sandwiches.


{Smokey Tomato Soup}

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, finely minced

1 large onion, finely diced

1-28 ounce can puréed tomatoes

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1-32 ounce carton chicken broth

3 Tbsp Lapsang Souchong tea (you can use the equivalent in tea bag form)

1 large sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary

black pepper to taste

{Nori Grilled Cheese}

1 loaf of bread, thinly sliced & crusts removed

7 oz. best quality cheddar cheese, sliced thick

nori seaweed, cut into 3″ x 7.5″ wide strips (I used Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake)

1/4 cup butter, softened


large pot

medium pot

large skillet

large tea filter bag

small spray bottle filled with water


1. Make the Soup. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté until they are translucent and softened. This should take 5-7 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth to boiling in a medium pot. When it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and steep the tea for 5 minutes.

3. After the onions have softened, add in the puréed tomatoes and brown sugar and mix everything together over medium heat. Let the flavors mingle for 1-2 minutes, then add the steeped tea broth, making sure to strain all the tea away from the tea bag filter to release maximum flavor.

4. Add the sprig of thyme or rosemary to the soup, then let the soup simmer over med-low heat for 10 minutes, uncovered, to thicken.

5. Make the Sandwiches. Place thick slices of the cheese inside the bread. Lightly coat the outside of the bread with softened butter. Spray the rough side of a piece of cut nori lightly with water, then snugly wrap it around the center of the sandwich, seam side down. Grill the sandwiches over a large, flat skillet over med-low heat, until both sides are golden brown. Serve the Nori Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with a big cup of Smokey Tomato Soup for sipping and dipping…enjoy!

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Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous)

the grilled cheese in the thumbnail almost looks like ararake (: this sounds out there, but seaweed goes with everything, as does cheese (not to mention the fact that my friend’s mom used to add american cheese to her kimbap all the time), so it must be good!


Oh wow I would have never thought of pairing cheese to nori! I love both so I am definitely going to try out your lovely idea. Can’t tell you enough how much I love your compositions and food photography Bonnie 🙂

Shannon @loveatfirstbento

I know this is an older post, but it was just too genius for me not to comment on it! LOVE the idea of combining cheese and nori -absolutely brilliant! I never even thought of it, but it makes so much sense to pair cheddar with nori. I have GOT to try this recipe, for sure! I’m thinking I’ll try making it for my sister, as she’s both a nori & cheese fan and would surely appreciate this combo very much 🙂 Already added to my scheduled pins too!