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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Sage, cayenne, and nutmeg make this soul-warming butternut squash a new classic. But the stars of the show are the crunchy, cheesy, bacony grilled cheese sourdough croutons. Cachalot, a standout cheddar-like cheese from Connecticut’s Mystic Cheese Co., gives this dish a rich complexity, as does River Bear’s uncured thick-cut Berkshire pork belly. Pair with a Cava or crisp white wine to cut through that delicious richness.

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  • Serves


preparation & ingredients

4 slices Sourdough bread

4 strips River Bear Uncured Bacon

1/4 cup Sir Kensington's Classic Mayo

2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter

1/2 lb. Mystic Cheese Co. Cachalot, grated or sliced

3 Tbsp. Unsalted butter

5 Garlic cloves

3 Carrots

1 Large butternut squash

1 Large white onion

1 tsp. Nutmeg

3-5 fresh sage leaves

1 Bay leaf

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Fresh black pepper

1/4 tsp. Cayenne

1/4 cup Crown Maple Syrup

1 bunch Fresh parsley

1 cup Labne

3 Ribs celery

2 cups Vegetable or Chicken stock

Heat a large stock pot over medium and add the unsalted butter. Melt the butter until it begins to bubble and lower the flame.
Cube the butternut squash, roughly chop the celery and carrots and quarter the onion. Peel and chop the garlic and toss all veggies into the stock pot over a medium low flame.
Cook the veggies, tossing occasionally, and add the sage leaves, cayenne and nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium high and toss the mixture for a minute or two to open the herbs before adding the vegetable stock and maple syrup.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove to a towel-lined plate.
Cook over medium high until the mixture begins to bubble. Cover and reduce the heat, simmering for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove the sage and bay leaves and add 1/2 cup of labne.
Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until silky smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the soup hot over a low flame while you prepare the grilled cheese croutons.
Slather the slices of bread liberally with mayonnaise. Heat a large skillet over medium and add the butter. Place two of the slices, mayo side-down, into the hot pan and place the sliced Cachelot over top. Place the slices of bacon atop and cover with the two additional slices of bread to complete the sandwich, this time, mayo side-up.
Cover the pan with a lid and griddle for 4-5 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt and the underside of the bread is golden-brown in color. Flip the sandwiches and griddle until the other side is a deep golden brown. Remove to a wire wrack and slice into crouton-sized cubes.
Ladle portions of the soup into bowls and top with the grilled cheese croutons, a dollop of labne, fresh parsley and extra fresh cracked pepper.

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