Weeknight Cooking

For A Grown Up Grilled Cheese, Add Labneh

February 22, 2016

In celebration of soup season, we've partnered with Progresso to share recipes that'll keep you (and your bowlful) warm during the winter months.

Since I was in middle school, Tuesdays have been ingrained in my brain as grilled cheese and tomato soup day, thanks to my summer camp and its weekly celebration of American cheese and glorified tomato juice.

Photo by Molly Yeh

On Tuesdays at lunch time, no matter how hot it was outside or how strict we were being about our preteen “diets” in advance of the 4th of July dance, it was universally understood that we would take no prisoners as we ravaged through platters of buttery, Wonderbread-ed grilled cheese triangles dunked in styrofoam bowls of tomato soup. It’d all get washed down with ice-cold, bright blue punch—and then we’d roll ourselves Violet Beauregarde-style back to our bunks for an hour of digesting and writing letters home on Hello Kitty stationery.

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It was the life.

Photo by Molly Yeh

Ah, I love a good camp memory—and you know I’ll take any chance to relive it. But now, 15 years later, since blue punch has been replaced by kombucha (ok fine, and wine) and Hello Kitty stationary has been replaced by emails littered with emojis, I’ve updated my grilled cheese game. It might not have the nostalgia of butter and American cheese, but it has the nuttiness of seedy wheat bread, the tanginess of labneh and za’atar, and the sharpness of white Cheddar and Parmesan. Which is to say that it’s fancy enough to eat as a grownup and good enough to write home about—and obviously it’s not complete without a little swim in hearty tomato soup.

Photo by Molly Yeh

You can use homemade or store-bought labneh here, or in a pinch you could also sub in plain, full-fat greek yogurt. Neither melts down like Cheddar or Parmesan, but you get a nice oozy center in your toasty grilled cheese.

We've partnered with Progresso to share new recipes—like grilled cheese, scones, and braised endive—to make when soup's on your menu. Learn more about Progresso's soups here.

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Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Laura415
  • Christoph G Olesch
    Christoph G Olesch
  • Barry Ybarra
    Barry Ybarra
  • M Morris
    M Morris
  • Ntombi Dube
    Ntombi Dube
molly yeh recently moved from brooklyn to a farm outside of grand forks, north dakota, where her husband is a fifth generation farmer. she writes the blog my name is yeh.


Laura415 March 4, 2016
1 quart of canned tomatoes. Half an onion and 1 clove of garlic diced. Saute onion/garlic in butter until translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until onion and garlic are soft enough to puree. Puree the soup with a stick blender until smooth. Add tiny pinch of powdered clove (optional). Taste for seasoning and balance between acid and sweetness. Add a pinch of sugar or a splash of vinegar if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add broth/water if the soup is too thick. Cook down if it's too watery. Add heavy cream if desired. No need to use canned soup:)
Christoph G. March 1, 2016
Dear Molly ... So I made last night, as promised. had it with my homemade deep roasted tomato soup. Sandwich was fabulous...!
Barry Y. March 1, 2016
What is Za'atar , labneh? Where do you find them? And the only sumac I'm familiar with has poison in front of it. But it does look great!
tom March 5, 2016
This incredible Middle Eastern spice blend combines freshly ground herbs like sumac, thyme, oregano, and toasted sesame. The sumac is slightly tart, giving the blend some bite. We love it sprinkled over toasted pita bread doused in olive oil, or swirled into a creamy vegetable soup. click link's https://food52.com/shop/products/767-za-atar
M M. March 1, 2016
This looks utterly delicious. Will have some with my favourite home made tomato soup very soon!
Ntombi D. March 1, 2016
Thanks this looks nice
Sally B. February 29, 2016
Grilled cheese looks good....what about that deliciously hued tomato soup?
Bee February 29, 2016
Thanks, Jeff. I like to consider myself a Foodie but I had to click on EVERY link in this article to find out what the heck the author was referencing. I'm wondering if she's of the Millennial Generation where you can't eat or enjoy "normal" food that you grew up upon? Everything has to be rarefied, unique, "special"...you can't just have guacamole...it has to be made with PEAS! You can't just have a Mohito...it has to be made with BASIL. Why not an article that simply celebrates TRADITION? Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD! One of the WORST updates we've experienced was at a favourite Swedish cafe that began using PEPPER JAM in their Swedish pancakes...without alerting the customers! Sorry, Sally...pepper jam is NOT lingonberries! Boo-Hiss.
M M. March 1, 2016
Oh Bee. How boring a life you must lead. There's no need to SHOUT about your aversion to "abnormal" food that is "nontraditional." There's a whole world of food out there, give it a go! You might even like it (yikes!).
Christoph G. February 29, 2016
Dear Molly ... Grilled cheese sandwiches ... Oh, what memories! I love to experiment; your offering looks fabulous, and I will make this evening with a fresh, homemade Rye I baked last night. A disappointment, however: I am a new and recent follower of Food52, and believe sponsoring and promoting processed, commercially canned soup should not be on anyone's shelf or healthy diet.
Caitlin R. February 29, 2016
making ma mouth water over here. looks so good, will def try with labneh next time.
LJ S. February 29, 2016
Stationery… writing paper and envelopes. Not necessary to be branded.
Bee February 29, 2016
I'm wondering if any kids would wax as nostalgic about THIS variation as your Ode To Classic Grilled Cheese did? Sorry, I'll stick with the Classic.
Jeff M. February 29, 2016
I agree, it doesn't even sound good.
Dwight K. February 28, 2018
Agreed as well. Classic grilled cheese, with one small twist I discovered...Cook one side, flip, sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan on that side. Flip again after other side is done, repeat the Parmesan. Creates a crust that is awesome.