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What to Serve with Soup to Make It a Meal, from Grilled Cheese to Squash Rings

Soup season is upon us, and while there’s nothing quite as cozy as sitting down to a piping hot bowl of chicken noodle, we’ll admit it can feel…sparse. (There’s a reason why everyone loves a soup-salad-breadsticks deal!) To transform your chowder into a well-rounded meal, here’s what to serve with soup, from classic grilled cheese to an elevated take on chicken nuggets.

105 Fall Dinner Ideas Starring Easy Seasonal Recipes


what to serve with soup cherry cheeseball grilled cheese sandwich recipe
Colin Price/Great Grilled Cheese

1. Cherry Cheeseball Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, beginner-friendly

Grilled cheese and soup are a no-brainer, but it’s time to upgrade from your basic American-on-white. This pinkies-out sandwich features sour cherry marmalade, pistachios and plenty of Camembert.

what to serve with soup chicken parmesan bites recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

2. Chicken Parmesan Bites

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, kid-friendly

Are they glorified chicken nuggets? Yes. Do we love them with our whole heart? Also yes. You’re never too old for these bites, which would be incredible with a bowl of roasted tomato soup.

what to serve with soup chickpea caesar salad with cheaters dressing recipe
Katherine Gillen

3. Chickpea Caesar Salad with a Cheater’s Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, beginner-friendly, low sugar

Soup and a salad is always a good idea, and even more so if you’re making this twist on the classic Caesar. It features roasted chickpeas for protein and a homemade dressing that’s basically foolproof (thanks to store-bought mayonnaise).

what to serve with soup everything bagel pigs in a blanket with cheaters aioli recipe
Katherine Gillen

4. Everything Bagel Pigs in a Blanket with Cheater’s Aioli

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

Oh, you thought you couldn’t improve upon this finger food? Try adding a special “pretzel” treatment that gives a gorgeously golden brown crust, and a sprinkle of everything seasoning.

what to serve with soup grilled thai chicken lettuce wraps recipe
Matt Armendariz/Eat What You Want

5. Grilled Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, low carb, low sugar, high protein

You could easily whip up a batch of these 20-minute, sticky-spicy lettuce wraps while a batch of Instant Pot carrot ginger soup simmers away in your pressure cooker. Just saying.

what to serve with soup grilled cheese crostini recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

6. Grilled Cheese Crostini

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <500 calories, low sugar

If grilled cheese just won’t cut it, turn dinnertime into appetizer hour with these festive crostini. They’re topped with balsamic strawberries, but a dollop of fig jam would be just as tasty.

what to serve with soup pancetta wrapped grilled cheese sandwiches recipe
Yum Creative/I Heart Cheese

7. Pancetta-Wrapped Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, high protein, low sugar

Speaking of that iconic sandwich, you could easily jazz it up with a blanket of prosciutto (or any thinly sliced charcuterie meat, for that matter).

what to serve with soup smashed chickpea salad sandwich recipe
Katherine Gillen

8. Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, beginner-friendly, no cook, <500 calories

While your soup simmers away in the Dutch oven, make this no-cook, vegetarian chickpea salad and pile it high on a sandwich. It’ll pair with everything from baked feta soup to split pea.

what to serve with soup crispy coconut chicken tenders recipe
Katherine Gillen

9. Crispy Coconut Chicken Tenders

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, high protein, <10 ingredients, dairy free

These tropical tenders are sweet, salty and sure to please adults and kids alike. Serve them alongside a bowl of corn chowder for a late summer meal.

what to serve with soup deli sandwich dutch baby recipe
Melina Hammer/A Year at Catbird Cottage

10. Deli Sandwich Dutch Baby

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: low sugar, high protein, one pan

Dutch baby, meet dinnertime. This lofty skillet pancake is topped with deli meats, pungent cheese and plenty of cornichons, making it ultra-savory and soup friendly.

what to serve with soup baked quinoa chicken nuggets recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

11. Baked Quinoa Chicken Nuggets

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, kid-friendly, high protein, low sugar

We just can’t quit you, nuggets. These little guys are coated in quinoa instead of the usual breadcrumbs, so they’re a little more virtuous than the dinosaur-shaped ones hiding in our freezer.

what to serve with soup grilled peach prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

12. Grilled Peach, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwich

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, ready in <15 minutes, high protein

If you haven’t tried putting fruit on your sandwiches, you’re in for a treat. The way the sweet, juicy peach slices mingle with the salty prosciutto and mozzarella is *chef’s kiss.*

what to serve with soup summer slice recipe
Ben Dearnley/In Praise of Veg

13. Summer Slice

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: high protein, low sugar, <500 calories

This veggie-packed crowd-pleaser is kinda like a crustless quiche. Pair it with a batch of sheet pan curried butternut squash soup for a protein boost to your meal.

what to serve with soup corn fritters with elote dip recipe
Katherine Gillen

14. Corn Fritters with Elote Dip

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Introducing our favorite way to eat corn (besides straight off the cob). These fritters are a little spicy and extremely versatile—they’d be at home among slow cooker green chili and sausage-poblano chowder alike.

what to serve with soup delicata squash rings with garlic lemon sauce recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Heath Goldman

15. Delicata Squash Rings with Garlic-Lemon Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, <500 calories

They’re like onion rings, but without the onions or the deep fryer. Delicata squash is excellent here, since you don’t need to peel its stripy skin. (You could use any type of winter squash, though.)

what to serve with soup brie stuffed pretzel bites recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

16. Brie-Stuffed Pretzel Bites

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

These bites might be snack food on their own, but pair ’em with a pot of soup and suddenly they’re dinner appropriate. We’re thinking slow cooker French onion.

what to serve with soup caramelized kimchi baked potatoes recipe
Jenny Huang/Korean American

17. Caramelized Kimchi Baked Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, low sugar, <500 calories

Nothing against basic baked potatoes, but they pale in comparison to these, which are topped with bacon and caramelized kimchi for a kick.

what to serve with soup tater tot nachos recipe
Katherine Gillen

18. Tater Tot Nachos

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, kid-friendly, low sugar, high protein

“Chips for dinner” might raise some eyebrows, but surely tater tots won’t (at least that’s what we tell ourself). Give them the nacho treatment with plenty of cheese, avocado, onion and salsa.

what to serve with soup kale salad with crispy chickpeas recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

19. Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, low sugar, <500 calories

For a more virtuous side dish, you can’t go wrong with this simple kale salad. The chickpeas are seasoned with paprika and lemon, proving you don’t need a ton of toppings to get a ton of flavor.

what to serve with soup spicy glazed popcorn chicken recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

20. Spicy Glazed Popcorn Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, kid-friendly

You had us at “glazed.” The sauce in question is a combination of sweet chile, soy, ketchup, sriracha and rice vinegar—it’s easy enough to make, but you could also try hot honey as a shortcut.

what to serve with soup spicy sweet potato tacos recipe
Katherine Gillen

21. Spicy Sweet Potato Tacos

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, vegetarian, <10 ingredients

Soup and a side…taco? Yep, we’re making it a thing. These sweet potato guys are surprisingly filling, but one or two would be light enough to make a vegetarian side dish.

what to serve with soup charcuterie board flatbread recipe
Katherine Gillen

22. Charcuterie-Board Flatbread

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, ready in <15 minutes, beginner-friendly

We’re already working on a pot of cheater’s Italian wedding soup to pair with these ingenious flatbreads, which have all the flavors you love in a cheese board. Go wild with the toppings, but aim to check the creamy, crunchy, salty and sweet boxes.

what to serve with soup italian deli pinwheel sandwiches recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

23. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, kid-friendly, no cook

You could throw some deli meat between two slices of bread and call it a day. Or you could take ten extra minutes and whirl that sammy into pinwheels that are a bajillion times cuter. (We used kale, salami and provolone, but feel free to swap to your own tastes.)

what to serve with soup oven baked hot honey chicken tenders recipe
Elizabeth Van Lierde/Everyday Entertaining

24. Oven-Baked Hot Honey Chicken Tenders

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, beginner-friendly

These tenders are crunchy on the outside, succulent on the inside and drizzled off with a hot honey glaze. Even better, they’re baked instead of fried for less mess.

what to serve with soup bacon apple and cheddar waffles recipe
Jennifer Davis/The Southern Baking Cookbook

25. Bacon, Apple and Cheddar Waffles

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: low sugar, high protein, kid-friendly

Once again, we urge you to think outside of the box when it comes to your soup pairings. For example, these waffles are savory enough to be an ideal pair for a pureed bowl, like this curried parsnip and apple number.

what to serve with soup baked mac and cheese bites recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

26. Baked Mac-and-Cheese Bites

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, vegetarian

They’re crispy on top yet nice and chewy on the inside—what more could you ask for? The recipe calls for a blend of cheddars, but try another melting cheese to switch it up, like Gruyère or fontina.

what to serve with soup mozzarella bites recipe
Erin McDowell

27. Mozzarella Bites

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

They’re mozzarella sticks, but mini, so eat your heart out. Instead of marinara sauce, we’re pairing ours with kale minestrone; what about you?

what to serve with soup kale salad with persimmons crispy chickpeas and fried shallots recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

28. Kale Salad with Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas and Fried Shallots

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, <500 calories

A crisp, fruity salad is the ultimate foil to a heavier soup, like chowder. Use Fuyu persimmons for their sweet-tart taste and firmer texture, or sub in pears if you can’t find them.

what to serve with soup easy pretzel buns recipe
Photo: Mark Weinberg/Styling: Erin McDowell

29. Easy Pretzel Buns

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours, 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, <10 ingredients, vegetarian, low sugar

Every bowl of soup needs a little bread for dipping, no? Go the extra mile and make yours these crusty pretzel buns, which work just as well as dinner rolls as they do as sandwich buns.

what to serve with soup baked sweet potato fries recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

30. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, vegan, gluten-free

An unconventional pairing? Sure—but we’d be hard-pressed to think of a time when we didn’t want to eat sweet potato fries.

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Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.