Sandwiches That Are The Perfect Compliment To Your Bowl Of Soup

Much like burgers and fries or coffee and donuts, pairing a sandwich with soup is an all-American classic that's been a staple on diner menus since at least the 1920s, according to "Lunch: A History". Most people's minds likely jump to the most common pairing of grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, for instance. And while they're far from wrong to think as such, the sandwich-soup combo goes way beyond that. 

From a hearty potato soup served with a ham sandwich to French dips that pair a roast beef sandwich with a cup of hot beef broth for dipping? It's so American, in fact, that the United States can lay claim to one of the world's few prolific soup and sandwich restaurant chains with Panera Bread. When you consider how much people love (or hate to love) their bread bowls filled with creamy soups, that alone makes for a good reason why they're so expansive, numbering at 2,000 locations alone across North America.

When you scroll through the recipes here, you'll find a wide range of sandwiches that will act as one half — maybe even the better half — of an amazing lunch consisting of nothing more than a classic soup and sandwich combo. Whether it's a humble BLT to enjoy with chicken noodle soup, muffulettas to chow down on with minestrone, pitas stuffed with falafel to dip in dahl, or tortas to nibble at between spoonfuls of tortilla soup, it will make for a delicious and comforting lunch.

Easy toasted tomato sandwich

Folks can easily get caught up making sandwiches at home, to the point where things can start to get structurally unstable. It's easy to forget that sometimes a sandwich doesn't need to complicated in the slightest to be good. Take this easy toasted tomato sandwich, for example. All it takes is tomato, mayo, and fresh Genovese basil on toasted bread with a dusting of salt and pepper. With just that, you'll be wondering why you bothered with more toppings in the first place. Pro tip: Make sure that your tomatoes are at the peak of their season to maximize flavor.

Gourmet fried bologna sandwich

Once it's been crisped up in a pan, bologna becomes twice as delicious as it was before. Who'd have thought the application of heat would make something like this ubiquitous and cheap deli meat way more palatable? But that's not the only reason why this fried bologna sandwich is considered "gourmet". The secret lies in the little things, from using the right kind of mustard (Dijon for life) and cheddar, to using ciabatta bread and turning it into something wonderful with a bit of garlic.

Scrumptious BLT sandwich

We know, we know, who doesn't know how to make a BLT? It's a sandwich that, be it due to a lack of imagination or pure impatience, is pretty simply named after its ingredients. So what makes this BLT recipe worth whipping up? To be honest, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about it, but we appreciated someone taking the time to dispel any notions people have had over what could make a "perfect" BLT. It really is about as simple as you think, but we've got the instructions if you're not too sure of yourself or if you need a base for improvisation of your own.

Classic falafel sandwich

When we think of a sandwich that can go with soup, we're likely going to think of a sandwich that happens between two slices of bread. To that, we say that you should open your mind to more possibilities. A classic falafel sandwich like this one, tucked inside of a warm pita and dressed with a drizzling of tahini, makes for an amazing sandwich that goes really well with all kinds of soups. Consider a thick dahl or a fragrant mulligatawny soup made with curry, red lentils, carrots, apples, and coconut milk.

Easy muffuletta sandwich

New Orleans is known to be a source of many, many delicious things, and muffuletta sandwiches rank highly among them. For all of their flavor, however, they're wonderfully easy to whip up with no more than 15 minutes of assembly. If that sounds like too big of a time investment for you, we dare you to see this recipe for a muffuletta sandwich through to the end. If you take the time to stack all the different meats and cheese in meticulous layers and make the olive tapenade from scratch, your efforts will be reflected in its flavor.

Hot pastrami sandwich

As a comforting deli classic, you either love or you hate this hot pastrami sandwich — those that do love them, however, love them a lot. And what's not to like, anyway? Hot slices of fatty meat are good enough on their own, but when they get paired with soft slices of Swiss cheese and a couple of slices of nutty rye bread, plus a little bit of coleslaw to give the whole sandwich a bright and juicy crunch, it's an amazing dish. It also goes great with some matzo ball soup dressed with fresh dill.

Copycat Panera chipotle chicken avocado melt

When you want to get your hands on a good sandwich that'll go great with a bowl of soup, then you need to go straight to a source like Panera Bread — or as close to that source as you can. There are few better ways to do that than whipping up copycat recipes like this chipotle chicken avocado melt. Why? The sandwich's punch of smoky chipotle pepper is just enough of a kick of heat without being overwhelmingly hot.

Easy bacon butty

Ever heard of a bacon butty? No big deal if you haven't. They're simply named for the butter that's slathered all over the bread for this sandwich. It "has to be the most popular item in the UK for breakfast," says chef Susan Olayinka in her recipe for making one. While the sandwich alone will no doubt be delicious (who doesn't like bacon?), some may find the sandwich rather fatty. Just remember the soup you pair it with can go in either direction, from a cheesy cauliflower soup to a light broth-based bowl of chicken noodle soup. 

Bacon grilled cheese

Only true bacon lovers need apply. Who said a sandwich had to only involve bread, anyway? By wrapping your grilled cheese in bacon like in this recipe, you'll end up with a grilled cheese that's perfectly gooey on the side, while being salty and crispy on the outside. It's a substantial sandwich in texture alone, but when it comes to the flavor? It's unforgettable. The kind of cheese you use can affect the salinity of the dish, but just balance it out with some ketchup!

Trader Joe's Philly cheesesteak

Truth be told, if a Philly cheesesteak is done right, it's probably going to be a meal on its own. Would you pair it with soup? You could, especially if you were to make something light and refreshing to balance out the sandwich's heavier fried beef. Then again, while you can weigh this down and add extra meat and extra cheese to the original recipe, it's all coming from Trader Joe's and will be relatively lighter than the flat top-fried and greasy diner fare. 

Copycat Starbucks ham & swiss panini

A ham and Swiss panini from Starbucks, even a copycat version, is normally fine on its own for a simple breakfast. However, they work well for lunch as well, and that makes them a prime opportunity to team up with something soupy. It's just like the recipe's writer Susan Olayinka says: "This panini will pair really well with some fruit or vegetables on the side, and even a packet of [chips] or some tomato soup." When you make this super simple sandwich, you can kick it up a notch as much as you like as well with added ingredients.

Copycat Panera Bread toasted frontega chicken

It might seem silly to think that hours of research and taste testing go into the creation of a sandwich, but we're positive that was the case with Panera Bread's toasted frontega chicken sandwich. Why? Because it took time to put this copycat recipe together. Word to wise if you plan on making one for yourself: Don't prep this delicious sandwich until you're ready to eat it. There's a 30-minute window to enjoy it, says the recipe's author Kristen Carli. "After that," she says, "the bread will get soggy with the chipotle sauce."

Authentic Disney grilled cheese

Among all the countless varieties of sandwiches made around the world, few get as good and simple as a grilled cheese — except when they can be made even better than "good and simple". So, what makes Liz Capozzoli's authentic Disney grilled cheese so delicious? Because there's more than one cheese product to put in it. It includes cream cheese, shredded double Gloucester or cheddar cheese, and provolone slices. It also uses mayo instead of butter for frying and, for the wary, don't knock it until you try it for yourself. Because of mayo's oil content, it can take the heat and makes for beautifully crisp and flavorful bread.

The best Cuban sandwich

If you think you've got yourself an amazing soup on, then you should consider pairing it with one of the best recipes for Cuban sandwiches out there. It doesn't just come down to meat and cheese getting piled high with pickles, though. Using the right bread is just as important and — assuming you can't get your hands on bread made with a moist palmetto leaf — so is the kind of meat. That includes a mix of pulled pork, ham, and some salami that is going to blow your socks off once you take a bite.

The ultimate grilled cheese sandwich

Making grilled cheese is far from rocket science or brain surgery, right? Isn't it just a matter of heating up some American cheese between two slices of bread? But that's child's play. If you really want to make the ultimate grilled cheese, you need to use some slices of sourdough to melt together a mix of white American cheddar, Swiss-style Gruyere, and rich fontina. What's more, use a thin layer of mayo instead of butter on the outside to get a crisp, golden exterior. As a bonus, it'll be a lot less greasy as well.


American sandwiches tend to get a lot of attention, but don't forget about the Mexican torta. There are a lot of ways to make one, but recipe developer Stephanie Rapone's got a great mix that involves filling a bolillo roll with avocado, tomato, onion, lettuce, refried beans, sour cream, and a thinly pounded, breaded, and fried steak. "I love creamy refried beans and avocado with crunch lettuce," Rapone says. With a nice tortilla soup and some salsa for dipping, it's just one of those Mexican dishes you need to try.

Copycat Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken sandwich

Sandwiches often get relegated to whatever can come out of a fridge and get slapped on bread, but we're thinking that the grill is a perfectly acceptable way to heat up proteins before they go between some slices. We're not talking about burgers here, however. This copycat Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken sandwich walks that fine line between a chicken burger and a chicken sandwich. It's also wonderfully juicy because of a special brine that takes it to the next level. Just make sure you have a spare four hours to let the chicken soak properly ahead of time.

Grilled Buffalo chicken mac and cheese sandwich

If you've got a light soup on hand, then why not balance things out with a luxuriantly heavy sandwich that piles carbs on top of carbs? Maybe this isn't for everyone to make, but it's definitely for everyone to taste at least once. That's the glory of this grilled buffalo chicken mac and cheese sandwich. Try saying that out loud. Wouldn't you want to take a huge bite out of that between spoonfuls of a light soup?

Copycat McDonald's McRib

Saving the best for last, the McDonald's McRib is one of those sandwiches that's in such high demand that it's often going to be far easier for you if you can just one on your own at home. This recipe for a copycat version should do the trick. It's a sandwich that's sweet, salty, savory, and sour, all in the same wonderful bite. What better side to enjoy it with than just about any soup that matches its flavor profile, like a bowl of tom yum or a simple consommé?