8 Delicious and Healthy Grilled Cheese Ideas
Here’s eight great ways to use up some of that yummo bread you’ve been baking during the virus lock down, as well as tips to make healthier grilled cheeses. Whether you’ve made sourdough, or just have some store bought bread that has gone a little bit stale, try these grilled cheese recipes.
A grilled cheese sandwich can be so much more than just cheddar and white bread - think of all of the different pizza ingredients that you enjoy, and imagine these adapted into grilled sandwich form.
The Tricks to Making Healthy Grilled Cheese
Now, grilled cheese sandwiches are never going to be the healthiest meal option, but since these combos below are too delish to miss out on, here are some ideas on how you can minimize the damage:
- Skip buttering the bread, and brush on a small amount of olive oil instead if you don’t like the result from grilling dry bread.
- Use thin slices of sharp flavored cheese so you can use less of it and still get the same flavor punch.
- Include other ingredients such as lean meats and vegetables to add more nutrients.
- Consider the type and size of bread you are using, and minimize where possible. For example, if you are using long slices of sourdough, perhaps you can cut it in half and use one half for each side of the sandwich, or cut your bread slices thinner.
- Make these in open-faced style by putting them under the grill, so you use less cheese and bread, but the same amount of other nutritious ingredients.
- Layer small amounts of cheese throughout the sandwich so that it melds everything together, and you wont need a thick layer to melt through the sandwich.
- Eat your grilled cheese with a healthy side, such as a spinach salad, so that the meal as a whole will fill you up and have overall good nutrition.
Sandwich Press Hack
You can make grilled cheese without a panini press, and its super easy! Simply place the sandwich in a small frying pan (lightly oiled if necessary) and put another pan or dish on top with some weight on it. Make sure there isn’t too much weight or your fillings will ooze out once the cheese starts to melt. Grilled cheese cook best if the heat is trapped in the pan with the sandwich, so best case scenario is if you can add a lid on top of your sandwich weight pan.
8 Healthy and Delicious Grilled Cheese Ideas
1. Caprese Grilled Cheese
This classic Italian salad of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil makes a fresh and light grilled cheese. Use heirloom tomatoes for the sweeter and stronger flavor, and in a pinch, some dry basil will work in lieu of fresh. Grind some salt and pepper onto the toppings and grill to perfection.
2. Smashed Avo Grilled Cheese
We all know that avocado on toast has taken the world by storm, so why not elevate this by adding some goats cheese, cheddar or mozzarella, and tomato and throwing it on the grill? If you have some, a sprinkle of lemon pepper seasoning takes this to the next level.
3. Gruyere, Kale and Caramelized Onions
Whip up some delish caramelized onions, and put a liberal amount into your sandwich with sautéed kale and gruyere. If you have any herby bread, use that for this sandwich and thank me later! The earthy herbiness will play off the sweetness of the caramelized onions perfectly.
4. Buffalo or BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese
This is a great way to spruce up some left over chicken. Any chicken will work as long as it is boneless and already cooked! Cut or pull the chicken into thin pieces and stir in the sauce of your choice. I love to add some grated cheese to this mixture so it binds together when the cheese melts, and lumps of chicken don’t escape from the sandwich and onto your lap. Spread this over your bread, top with a little more cheese if you are doing the open fave version, and its ready for grilling.
5. Hawaiian Grilled Cheese
Some love it, and some hate it, but there is no denying that this combo of ham and pineapple works just as well in a sandwich as it does on a pizza. I had to include this as I am a hawaiian pizza L.O.V.E.R - who is with me??? I add sliced jalapeños or some hot sauce to this so the spiciness can offset the sweetness of pineapple. It will work with any moderately flavored cheese such as cheddar, jack or even swiss.
6. Three Cheese Grilled Cheese
I recommend selecting three cheeses that are fairly different from each other by mixing and matching textures and types of milk. Try blue cheese, monterey jack and parmesan, or cheddar, mozzarella and pecorino. To be completely honest, the world is your oyster with this one. Perhaps the most important deciding factor is what is already in your fridge...
7. Portobello and Sundried Tomato Grilled Cheese
Slice and sauté a portobello mushroom, adding some salt and pepper, and which ever other herbs you have on hand. Layer the portobello strips on your bread, top with a few sundried tomatoes and cheese of your choice.
For a flavor explosion, try brushing the outside of your sandwich with some of the sundried tomato oil, and use the pan you sautéed the portobello strips in to cook the sandwich so the left over mushroomy flavor will soak into your sandwich. Since the portobello and sundried tomatoes are so flavorful and I want to let those flavors shine, I use a subtle flavor cheese, such as medium cheddar, for this sandwich but try whatever you fancy, and let me know how it goes!
8. Chicken, Sauerkraut, Apple and Brie
Admittedly, this one probably caters to only a few of the most refined palates out there, but I love the flavor combination, so wanted to include it. Why not try something new in these quaran-times? Simply layer some left over boneless and cooked chicken, a little sauerkraut, thin slices of apple, and Brie cheese on your bread. The zing from the sauerkraut offsets the sweetness of the apples, and creamy goodness of melted brie.